This ministry thing can be tough. No one knows that better than the pastor’s wife. In my 15 years in full-time ministry, I’ve seen both the blessings and burdens of church life. Some days life among God’s people is like heaven on earth. Other days you want to bust out your ninja skills during business meeting. And sometimes you’re just desperate to talk to someone who understands.
The good news is that we aren’t alone. God is faithful. Good days and bad, he is with us. He sees your joys. He shares your hurts. And he stands ready to heal your heart.
Here’s a list of resources I’ve found helpful on my journey:
Ministering to Problem People in Your Church is one of those books that every pastor (and pastor’s wife) should have on the shelf. Most of the time problem people in our congregations are not really spawns of Satan sent to torment us–they are well-intentioned people whose differing priorities, personalities, or beliefs bring them into conflict with us. Marshall Shelley helps us move from seeing these people as dragons to seeing them as wounded sheep–and how we can avoid getting sunk along the way.
Autopsy of a Deceased Church
is a short book but a must read. Rainer identifies twelve symptoms of sickness common among dying churches. It’s a sobering assessment, but also offers hope to help lead your church to health. If your congregation needs a wake-up call, this is a good place to start.
I absolutely loved reading Subversive Kingdom. In this book Ed Stetzer examines what it means for us to live as citizens of the kingdom of God. I think it captures what this whole church thing should really be about.
Healing Your Church Hurt is a resource I recommend for ministry wives or women in ministry who have been wounded by their congregations. If you’ve been through a season of conflict or a forced termination, this book will help you move through the process of forgiveness and begin to find healing.
Every once in a while the right book comes along at the right time. Spiritual Warfare for Women was one of those books for me. Leighann McCoy helps us understand the spiritual battle we are in and how we can fight. A pastor’s wife herself, McCoy understands the kinds of hurt we can experience in our congregations. Put this one on the top of your to read list.
I’ve been in the habit for a while now of prayer-walking through our church on Saturday evenings. It doesn’t always change them, but it changes me. Praying regularly for our church helps me keep my heart tender before God and also helps me be sensitive to what God is doing in our congregation. Prayers from the Pews is a great resource if you’re looking for guidance on how to pray for your church family.
My husband and I had the privilege of attending a retreat with Brad Hoffman a few years ago. I walked away thinking Preventing Ministry Failure ought to be on the required reading list for every seminary in the country. It really is that good. The workbook takes readers on an exploration of seven key principles that lay the foundation for successful ministry. It’s primarily intended for pastors, but do pastors wives also benefit from foundation stones such as boundaries, calling, intimacy, and rest? You betcha. It’s worth your time.
Ministry Wife Communities:
Pastor’s Wives Thriving in the Fishbowl is an online non-denominational community of ministry wives. I’ve been a part of this group for about 6 years now, and I can honestly say that these wonderful ladies have been my lifeline. We need flesh-and-blood friendships, but it is so nice to have a safe place where we can talk to people who really understand. If you’re craving connection, this is a good place to start.
Contagious Joy is another online community for ministry wives and women in ministry.
Flourish Me is an equipping community for ministry wives sponsored by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. They have some great posts on their blog and also offer helpful downloads and their own resource guides.
Just Between Us is a reader-written magazine for women with a heart for ministry. It’s a helpful, encouraging magazine written by women who get it because they live it every day. The magazine is published quarterly, but there are tons of helpful articles to browse on the website.
List of Pastor’s Retreats and Getaways from Ed Stetzer. Taking time to rest and renew ourselves is so important for ministry families, but it can be hard to do on a tight budget. This is a list of free or steeply discounted opportunities available to pastors. Check also with your denomination’s retreat centers and/or campgrounds.
List of Caregiving Ministries from Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family curates a list of resources for ministry families that includes counselors, retreat providers, legal providers, and more. If you need help this is a good place to start. You might also want to look at their list of articles for pastor’s wives.
Blogs by and for Pastor’s Wives:
Some of My Posts: