The Oft-Forgotten Role of the Pastor’s Wife
The quoted text is testimony from a PCA pastor’s wife named Alyssa. Alyssa has been a pastor’s wife for over 20 years.
“It’s surprising that a person in the spotlight can be invisible. That’s how I felt as a pastor’s wife, under constant scrutiny, but unknown. After being married to my husband and serving alongside him for almost 20 years, this past year felt like I had finally hit a stone wall. I could no longer cope with the stress and disappointments of ministry on my own.”
This is a common refrain heard among wives of pastors. According to a 2018 survey facilitated by PCA Retirement & Benefits (RBI), nine out of ten pastors’ wives believe they are perceived differently than other women in their church. This often leads to isolation and greater stress for many wives and why RBI decided to develop Cherish, an initiative through Ministerial Relief that provides free and discounted Christian counseling services to the wives of PCA pastors.
“My husband is my best friend and my pastor. I am deeply thankful for him. But I realized that I needed a sister in Christ who was an impartial third party. Cherish provided me with a counselor who could bring the gospel to me afresh and help me apply it to my present situation. I was able to talk about my marriage, my children and my pain from ministry without fear of judgment. My counselor helped me to see Jesus caring for me, in the midst of my storm.”
Counseling can provide a necessary outlet for pastors’ wives to share their struggles within ministry, marriage, and mental health while getting professional, confidential, faith-informed guidance to handle the stressor those things bring. The wife of your pastor is an integral part of the functionality of the church home, acting as a constant partner to the pastor and an inviting hand to the women of the congregation. She may not hold an official title, which often leads to her invisibility, her impact cannot be overstated.
“Cherish’s provision insured that finances did not hinder me from seeking help. Cherish provided me a safe place to heal and be refreshed. I thank God for the work of the PCA which is mindful that ministry is a family calling, and although we experience special blessings as God’s servants, we also face special challenges and spiritual attacks. Thank you for caring not only for pastors but their wives as well. I feel like we are finally being seen.”
Cherish has seen explosive growth in new users over the past year, solidifying RBI’s conviction that this service is deeply needed, especially in the midst of an already isolating period. Due to its significant growth during the COVID pandemic, the Cherish fund is on track to be fully depleted by the end of the April.
We humbly ask that you would consider making a donation to support Cherish as we continue our mission to provide the support the wives of PCA pastors need. If you’d like to learn more about this initiative or to donate, visit us online today at www.pcarbi.org/cherish/.
If you have a church or Christian school staff of at least 15 people, we’d love to talk with you about setting up a meeting specifically for your staff. Please complete the Seminar Request Form and we will reach out to you.
About PCA Retirement & Benefits
We guide PCA pastors and ministry workers through the complexities of financial planning and employee benefits, so they and their families are able to live generously in every season of ministry.