Ministry Wives: Unsung Heroes of the Church
Posted by Karen Kinnaird, August 1, 2023
It’s been nearly 38 years. God has taken my husband Jimmy and me on a journey through three pastorates and several aspects of denominational work. Like many, we have had our share of highs and lows. One thing I know: it’s worth it. Over the years, I have gained perspectives of ministry from several angles, and it is apparent: there is a need for ministers to be affirmed, encouraged, and appreciated is great. As a matter of fact, it has become critical. According to Barna's post-COVID research, 38 percent of pastors have considered quitting. Issues of loneliness, lack of true friendships, stress, and burnout are on the rise. This isn’t just a pastor’s problem, it’s a church problem. But what about their wives?
Who Is She?
She is a servant, often behind the scenes in unseen ways; a confidant to all she interacts with, yet often with no one to share with herself.
She is a fierce protector of her family’s spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health.
She is a cheerleader, confidant, and pastor to her pastor-husband.
She is a warrior in the midst of simultaneous, unseen spiritual battles against spiritual forces of evil.
She is a navigator of social scenarios and delicate ministry situations.
She is an influencer in church culture and for Christ in the community.
She is a steward of the Gospel.
What’s on Her Mind?
“I consider it an honor to be called to this unique, God-given role.”
“How do I overcome feelings of inadequacy when I’ve had no formal ministry training?”
“I am grateful for the platform to live out my faith.”
“How do I meet the high standards and expectations I sense from others?”
“I have so many opportunities, but in what capacity should I be serving?”
“How do I balance the emotional highs and lows of ministry?”
“How do I balance family, ministry, and employment?”
“It’s a privilege to be married to my pastor-husband.”
“I see the sacrifice my husband makes to serve God’s people.”
“How do I handle the criticism of the one I love most in this world?”
“How do I keep relationships right amidst conflict that I’m not directly involved in?”
“When do I say ‘yes’ and when do I say ‘no’?”
“I’m grateful to be able to raise children in a culture of ministry.”
“How can I ensure my children grow up to love God and the church while living in the “glass house”?”
“How do I deal with the pain of people who have left the church?”
How Can We Love and Inspire Her?
Make an intentional effort to show her love and value her.
Give her grace as she matures in her faith.
Give her the freedom to be herself and flourish in the one-of-a-kind way God designed her.
Respect her God-given limits.
Advocate for her family’s healthy rhythms of ministry, family, rest, weekly Sabbath and vacation.
Allow her to cultivate friendships inside and outside of the church.
Have her back when there is controversy.
Allow her the freedom to operate in the Body of Christ as God leads her according to her gifts, passion, and personality.
How Can We Practically Support Her?
Tell her you love her and that you are glad God called her family to your church.
Pray specific prayers for her, then text, email, write a note, or verbally tell her so.
Make a homemade meal or order dinner from a favorite restaurant and have it delivered. Be sensitive to dietary preferences. A small group might provide dinner for a week.
Provide a professional house cleaner for the holidays, for a month, or for a special occasion.
Help a young minister’s wife get her children ready for church on a Sunday morning.
Meet a young minister’s wife at her car on Sunday mornings and help her get her children to their classrooms.
Offer to provide childcare for some personal time or a date night.
Give a gift of a favorite item or gift card to a favorite store, nail salon, or restaurant.
The best thing to do is to consider your minister’s wife and ask, “What can I do for her that will meet a need and show her that she’s loved?”
The God-called spouse has a unique calling that carries with it significant meaning and eternal impact. It’s an honor, a high calling and a privilege. Wives influence the souls of their husbands, and a healthy minister’s wife will strengthen her husband. This, in turn, benefits the church. A church will do well in being mindful and intentional toward the well-being of her ministers and wives.
A worthy wife is a crown for her husband. (Proverbs 12:4)
Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)
How Can You Love and Support Your Ministry Wives?
Karen brings the vast experience of having served as a ministry wife for nearly 38 years. Her husband has served as a church planter, senior pastor, state denominational leader, agency specialist at NAMB, and Associational Missionary Strategist. Karen currently serves as the Executive Assistant for Forgiving Forward, a ministry dedicated to helping people experience the freedom of the Gospel through the power of forgiveness. Karen and Jimmy, also known as Gigi and Poppy, have 3 children and 3 grandchildren.