By Susan E. Hohman
Two-score and two years ago, a man of God and his precious wife were elected to pastor our lowly congregation in the rural wild-lands of French Lick, Indiana. This young country girl was so impressed by this couple’s leadership and mentorship that within her heart grew the desire to someday become a pastor’s wife.
Though the journey was long and arduous, filled with detours that seemed to lead in opposite directions, that desire was fulfilled on a hot August day nine years ago. My husband and I were called to pastor the First Pentecostal Church of Dixon, Missouri – virtually a group Bible study in the town a neighboring pastor had started and wished to relinquish to another man to shepherd: a church plant. Since then, we started a daughter work, and then later merged the congregations into what is now New Harvest Apostolic Church in St. Robert, Missouri.
When I say, “we” were called to pastor, I must clarify. I do not hold ministerial license credentials; but if I’m not co-pastoring, I don’t know what you’d call it! Although my husband is the primary Pastor, I have oft been asked to teach Wednesday night Bible study when he was unable to get home from work in time, or when he was called to the hospital in an emergency. I have taught adult Sunday school class when he needed a break, or when he had to be gone. I have answered numerous Biblical, moral, and emotional inquiries when he is not available, or the person felt more comfortable asking me (usually a woman or young girl). Folks have called for prayer, and I spent time—either by phone or in person—effectually and fervently praying! Utilizing phone calling, texting, Facebooking, or other forms of communication to do follow-up for members or guests ‘missing in action’ are also part of my “pastoral responsibilities.”
Besides being Ladies’ Leader, Music Director, Sunday school Teacher, Bookkeeper, Promotions Director, Schedule Maker, Supplies Re-stocker, Financial Secretary, and Question-Answerer, I wear so many other hats my closet won’t hold them all! I am hostess to our various and sundry guest speakers – and families, if applicable. Preparing meals, beds, and the house for our guests, and providing a welcoming haven for the weary traveler are my goals and aspirations. I help clean and re-organize play costumes, choir robes, kitchen items, and my husband’s office, as needed. If someone is sick or hospitalized, it is my responsibility to oversee visitation of that individual, and delegate someone to cook meals, if necessary. Planning and decorating for special ladies’ get-togethers, attending and playing music for funerals of both church members and townspeople, playing for weddings, and babysitting members’ kids when they’re in a pinch are only a few of the other “duties” I perform fairly regularly.
A favorite part of ministry, though not necessarily of ‘pastoring,’ comes in the form of home Bible studies. The more, the merrier! Despite any physical or time constraints they may cause, there is nothing as fulfilling as giving birth to your own spiritual babies and nurturing them into the Kingdom of God through one-on-one study and times spent in sweet communion and prayer with and for them. I am even in the process of writing my own Bible study at present, to fill little gaps I’ve discovered over time in presenting numerous Bible studies.
Although I COULD be employed outside the home full-time, I have found that making my time and energies available to the church people has paid off in loyalty, faithfulness, teach-ability, and trust from the dear saints God has entrusted to my care. Besides homeschooling my four children over a period of some 19 years, I am a freelance writer and proofreader, which has helped with our income, while allowing me freedom to pursue my passion for impartation – of truths, knowledge, common sense, and encouragement to both my children and my church family.
One final thought about the life of a pastor’s wife, and most specifically the life of a church planter: it’s a roller coaster ride of physical and emotional ups and downs. It’s a life built around people, with their many foibles and frustrations, as well as their vibrancy and joy-filled existences. As such, the WIFE of a pastor/church planter CANNOT live on an ocean of emotions or a playground of spiritual teeter-tottering. In addition to uplifting my husband when he is on the receiving end of less-than-kind words or actions, I must also provide a haven for my family; a secure place of protection from the dangers of highs and lows. When God called us to pastor, He provided me with a steel determination, a fierce commitment, and the ability to forgive – freely and lovingly. These attributes are what make my life as a pastor’s wife not only bearable, but enjoyable.
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