Just Released: 2023 Annual Report // Read Now

Just Released: 2023 Annual Report // Read Now

3 Ways to Show Appreciation for Pastors’ Wives

Pastors’ wives contribute to their husband’s ministries in seen and unseen ways. They sacrifice time and help him bear the burdens of pastoral ministry. But they also have their own unique contributions to the life of the church. Like every Christian, they need to know they are valued and appreciated. 

March is Pastors’ Wives Appreciation Month. What’s the best way to help pastors’ wives feel appreciated? It’s an important question so we went directly to the source for an answer. We asked a sample group of pastors’ wives how church members can express appreciation in ways they find encouraging. Here are three common answers they gave us:

1) Get to know her. Before she’s a pastor’s wife, she’s a uniquely and wonderfully made human with her own desires and aspirations. Pastors’ wives find it encouraging when people “Take a sincere interest in me.” Can you name a hobby or activity she enjoys outside of church? 

As one pastor’s wife stated, “One of the biggest things is acknowledging and getting to know her individually and valuing who she is.” When you get to know a pastors’ wife, you can make space for the activities she enjoys. If she enjoys running, offer to watch her kids so she can take a long run. You can make her feel valued by discovering what she values!

2) Acknowledge her unseen contributions. She may not be able or interested in planning the women’s retreat, leading a bible study, or coordinating Vacation Bible School. Those things may not align with her gifts and callings or her season of life. And that is okay. As one wife noted, “Every single one of us is different. Try not to compare her to the last one [pastor’s wife] you had at the church. There is a ton of pressure on the senior pastor and wife as compared to others on staff.”

Remember, every pastor’s wife contributes in unseen ways to the life of the church. Her work may not always be visible but it is very real. Pastors’ wives often surrender nights, weekends, and vacations on account of their husband’s ministry. Remember to thank them for their selfless service. “I think I wish I would’ve heard elders say to me that they see me, they appreciate us, that they acknowledge that we give up our husband and family time often.”

3) Respect her need for relationships outside the church. It can be difficult for pastors’ wives to feel truly themselves in the context of their local church. Even when they feel sincerely valued and acknowledged, they may not feel absolutely free to share their personal burdens. A pastor’s wife told us, “I think the place I feel like I can most be myself is either with my friends that are outside of the church, who have known me and lived life with me prior to being a pastor’s wife, other pastors wives who are just as real, or of course family.”

Thankfully, there are multiple resources to provide pastors’ wives with encouragement.  A pastor’s wife told us that her “former presbytery women’s ministry had a time for the pastors’ wives to meet together and pray for each other. This was one of my first exposures to other ladies in the same role and it was a powerful time of sharing and prayer. It made me feel less alone to know that other people were struggling with the church or family.”

Multiple wives referenced Wives of Elders (WE), an initiative of the Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM). Led by Meaghan May, WE connects and supports PCA elders’ wives for the strengthening of Christ’s Church. They provide cohorts for 1,800 wives across the denomination. 

Similarly, Cherish provides affordable and confidential counseling for pastors’ wives. Provided by Geneva Benefits Group, Cherish began because 80% of pastors’ wives indicated in a survey that they would use Christian counseling services if they were accessible. Funding is provided through donations to Geneva’s Relief Fund.

Every church can appreciate and encourage their pastor’s wife. They are appreciated when they are valued for who they truly are and given the opportunity to define their role in the life of the church rather than their role being defined for them. 

There’s an old adage: we can never assume what has never been said. March is a great time to go out of our way and acknowledge the contributions of our pastor’s wife.

Geneva Benefits Group serves those who serve others, providing practical support for the financial, physical, and mental wellbeing of people who work in full-time ministry.

Geneva offers preparedness and peace of mind with solutions tailored to the needs of ministry leaders and staff.