Family, Not Staff
It’s tempting when we go to a new church—particularly if it’s a small church or a church plant and you’re the lone pastor—to bring your wife along and say, “Okay honey, we need someone to take care of the children and we need someone to play the piano and we need someone to do all these things.” All of a sudden, your wife and your kids are unpaid staff of the church.
It’s helpful for us to communicate to the church, first of all, that they hired us, they called us, that it’s not a two-for-one sale. My wife is a church member and her first and primary role is to be my helper and to care for me, to encourage me, and also to help us in the care of our children together. So as we parent and shepherd our children, that’s our primary focus.
And beyond that, the expectations that I have of her, that she should have of herself, and that the church should have of her should be the same as for any other church member. That’s something that needs to be communicated regularly. One of the things I find is that you can never say the same things too many times.
The expectations that I have of her, that she should have of herself, and that the church should have of her should be the same as for any other church member.
As pastors, I would encourage us to say that over and over and over again. When you hire staff, remind them of these things, remind the wives of these things, remind the church of these things, remind the elders of these things. When you have member meetings (or however you’ve structured your church), constantly remind people of what expectations we have for every single church member.
In our context, we have a church covenant that we recite every time we have a members meeting. It’s what we expect of every member, of every elder, and that’s what I expect of my wife: just to be a faithful church member.
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She’s not been called to serve. You have been called to serve and she’s been called to serve alongside of you as your helper.
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