9 Keys for Your Church to Reach More Men

how your church can reach more men

In most churches today, as has been true for the last few decades, it is made up of more women and children, than men. Yet, in most churches, it is still the men who lead and make decisions.

When we started Revolution Church and we started with the idea that the target of our church would be 20-40 year old men. Last year when we did our yearly church survey, we were 49% men, 51% women, and the average age of our church is 28 ½.

Our church isn’t that unique. Most churches plants are filled with younger people, but what we have learned over the years is how to reach men. This won’t surprise you:

  1. Reaching men is different than reaching women.
  2. Most churches are set up to reach women.

According to Focus on the family:

  • Did you know that if a child is the first person in a household to become a Christian, there is a 3.5 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow?
  • If the mother is the first to become a Christian, there is a 17 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow.
  • But if the father is first, there is a 93 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow.

We know this to be true, we know the impact a father has on the life of a family. Many people have their view of God tied up with their view of their earthly father. We talk about the father wound and the impact a father has on us. Yet, many churches have simply chosen not to reach men.

Companies have figured this out and largely market to 18 – 35 year old men. Are they neglecting women? No. The reality is that most women like a lot of what men like when it comes to marketing, but the reverse is not true. Churches need to learn from this.

Having a target

Every time I talk with pastors or Christians and say we have a target as a church, I get interesting questions. The reality is, your church has a target. The style of music, dress, what time church is, what kind of building you have, what ministries you have and don’t have.

How do you know if you are hitting your target?

  1. Who comes to your church?
  2. Who gets baptized?
  3. What comments or questions do you get?
  4. My favorite comment is the one I hear from a wife all the time: I wasn’t so sure about this church, but Revolution is the only church my husband would come back to, so here we are.

Here are 9 things you can do to start reaching men and see impact in the lives of people, families and your city:

  1. Think about men when it comes to the atmosphere, name of your church, structure and songs. Most churches are filled with pastel colors, flowers everywhere. Why? Women designed it. Not a bad thing, but it won’t appeal to men. One other thing that I think is important when it comes to thinking through the lens of men (and women) is preaching once a year on relationships, marriage, what it means to be a man or a woman. Our culture has so many questions, so many thing are unclear to our culture on these topics that people are wondering.
  1. Preach to men. Most churches, the win for men is to stop looking at porn. While porn is destructive and pervasive, every man is not looking at it every day. There are more things a man struggles with or has questions about. Men in a sermon tend to want logic, clarity and action steps. Women tend to want more stories, feelings and emotions. While a sermon should strive for both, most pastors end up on one end of the spectrum and their church reflects that. I often think about men I know when I preach on a passage and try to discern questions they would have about it. When men leave a church, they tend to talk about if they were challenged to think in a new way, while women tend to talk about how they felt after a service. Not all are like this, but I’ve found this to be typical. With a sermon, what do you want people to do? How clear is the main idea?
  1. Have a clear win for your church. If your church doesn’t have a clear win, a clear vision, men will not sign up for it. Men want to know what is on the line, what impact something will make, why they need to show up. This especially matters to businessmen. This may take you out of your comfort zone, but learn the language of the men you are trying to reach. How do they talk? What books do they read? What is important to them?
  1. Show them how actions affect their legacy. Men are concerned with legacy, how things will end up, how they will be remembered. When you minister to a man, keep this in mind. Date night with his wife is not just something for today, but has an enormous affect on the marriages of his kids. Purity in his life will be passed on to his kids and grandkids. Whenever possible, show a man who what he is doing right now, good or bad, will affect his legacy. Men think about the future in a way women do not.
  1. Give them clear examples worth following. One of the reasons I didn’t want to become a pastor when I was 18 was I had never met a pastor I wanted to be like. Most men look at church leaders and see people they don’t want to be like. Or, they don’t see men they would want to become. This doesn’t mean every pastor needs to drink beer or have a tattoo, but when men follow another man, they are following someone they want to emulate. Put leaders in your church, in visible places who men would want to emulate. This will sound sexist but I’ll just say it. Men follow men. If you want to reach men, have strong male leaders in your church who exemplify Ephesians 5. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have women leaders (if you are a true complementarian church, you will have strong women leaders in your church), but many men who are pastors aren’t actually leading, they are just shepherding. And men know the difference. One thing that is important and few men can articulate this but I’ve found this to be true: men want a pastor who is working hard on his marriage, is honest about his marriage and has a marriage they want to emulate. Is this pressure on the pastor? Yes, but so is everything else about his life and ministry. Too many pastors do not have a passion filled marriage and the men who walk into their churches know it.
  1. Expect men to succeed. It is amazing to me what happens in someone’s life when we expect them to succeed or reach a goal. People pick up on our expectations and they have a way of reaching our expectations. If you expect men to lead family devotions, tell them, tell them you believe they can do it and give them resources to do it. If you expect men to reach something, tell them and help them get there. Too many churches seem to say, “We’re content if men just show up.” Or, “You should do ___” and then never give them any tools to accomplish this. Men will often not do something if they are afraid they won’t succeed. This is why men don’t lead at home, don’t pray with their wife, they are afraid of failing.
  1. Give men something to do. What do most men’s ministries tend to be? A male version of a women’s ministry. They are discussion focused, a large event with men listening or trying to get men to share. While women will share before they serve, men want to serve first. Give them something to do. Help them see how their actions can make an impact. Which leads to the next one…
  1. Help them see how their job is a mission field. This is something churches have failed in. Give them a missional theology of work. Not everyone should be a pastor at a church, yet most of the time a pastor meets a businessman he makes him feel guilty for not being a pastor.
  1. Ultimately: The reality for reaching men is they have a habit of becoming what we expect them to be. Whatever bar you have for men, they will reach it. Men are able to do impossible things in life, but the church has by and large held up a broom stick they can jump over and wondered why men didn’t come back.

How to Catch Your Breath in December

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Right about now, if you are like most people, you are wondering how you will survive December and get everything done that you need to. The list seems endless. Parties, gifts, people, food, traveling, more food, TV specials, plays and recitals. The list is endless. People are coming and going. If you are in college, you have finals on top of everything else. This is on top of what you normally do in life.

Deep down, we know this isn’t the way we should live life and it feels wrong at Christmas, but stopping to catch our breath seems silly. Impossible. UnAmerican.

It isn’t and deep down, you also know that.

Here are 7 ways to catch your breath this month so that you head into 2015 not exhausted, but refreshed, ready to tackle the New Year:

  1. Schedule some down time. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I believe that if something is not scheduled, it does not happen. We do things out of habit and planning. Including wasting time watching TV or surfing the internet. Put into your calendar days and nights when nothing is happening. If you don’t, you will run from one thing to the next and not enjoy any of it. 
  2. Say no to something. If you schedule down time into your schedule, chances are you will have to say no to something. This is hard to do. We like to say yes as much as possible, not miss anything and be at all the parties and get togethers, but we can’t and shouldn’t. If we say yes to everything, we will miss the important things. We will miss moments with our kids, friends we really care about and miss out on memories.
  3. Have a food plan and stick to it. One of the areas that causes a lot of frustration for people come January 1st is how much they eat between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Don’t simply show up at the party and eat, have a plan. Here are a couple of ways: Take something healthy to the party. There won’t be a lot of healthy options, so bring one and eat it (think of the memory each year now when you and your friends laugh about the fact that you are the one who brings hummus to the holiday party). Another one? Don’t stand by the food. If you are away from the food, it makes it harder to overeat. The hardest one? Limit how much dessert you eat when you are at parties. And finally: get rid of leftovers as quickly as possible, even if you have to throw them out. 
  4. Go to bed at 10pm as often as possible. Sleep is one of the most overlooked but important areas of our lives. I know, you think you can survive on 4 hours a night and a Coffee IV drip plugged into your arm, but you can’t. You will crash and that crash will happen sometime soon and ruin your holidays or at least make a dent in January when you need get going for the new year. Get to bed. Don’t watch as much TV and if presents aren’t wrapped, put them in a bag and call it a win. 
  5. Don’t wait til January 1st to exercise. In January, health clubs everywhere will be packed. New Years Resolutions will be made to lose that holiday weight you put on. What if you didn’t wait until January to get into shape? Put it into your schedule now. If you workout regularly now, don’t quit over the holidays.
  6. Plan fun memory moments. Christmas is a great time to make memories. The tree, decorations, TV specials, buying and wrapping gifts, plays, the food, the songs. All of it creates moments with family and friends in ways that other times of the year do not. Don’t miss this because you are busy doing other stuff. Spend time reading to your kids, TiVo the Christmas specials and watch them, listen to Christmas music all month, take some special daddy (or mommy) dates with your kids. Make this time special and pack in the memories.
  7. Make your goals for the New Year. Don’t wait til January 1st to make your goals for the New Year. Notice, I didn’t say resolutions. Here is a simple process I use to help you set goals you will actually reach. Don’t make 10 goals this year, make one. What is the one thing that if you accomplished would make the biggest impact in your life and family? Do that.

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How to Set Goals for 2015 You Will Reach

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Every year around this time, people begin thinking about the New Year and make resolutions. Sadly, many of these resolutions will not be reached. There is a way, a practice of creating goals you will not only keep but reach.

Here is a simple process I use each year to make goals and reach them:

  1. Call them goals, not resolutions. I want you to think of this as a goal, not a resolution. A goal is something you are working towards, with a destination in mind. It creates all kinds of sports analogies that I think help us in our mind.
  2. Look back before you look forward. One mistake I see a lot of people make when it comes to their goals is they don’t look back and celebrate. Often, our year was not as bad as we think it was. What did God do in the last year? How has God worked, blessed, challenged and sharpened you in the past year? I think an important part of setting goals is celebrating what has already happened (and sometimes lamenting missed opportunities). But, then you get to move forward.
  3. What is the one thing you want to accomplish this year? The last thing is choose one thing, not 15 goals for 2015. Will you accomplish more than one goal this year? Probably, but one of the things many people do that sabotages them is they pick too many things to reach for. What is the one thing, if you accomplished it would make the biggest impact in your life? That’s the one thing you need to do. What if you accomplish this by April? Then set another goal. Two years ago my one goal was writing a book. Six years ago is was losing 100 pounds. Both of those goals took over one year to complete, so it rolled over, but they happened. Choose one thing and only one thing and work until it is done. Is it getting out of debt? Going back to school? Starting a business? Mending a relationship? Do that one thing and then move forward. 

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Lighten Up

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I have a confession: I have high expectations for everything. For myself, my church, what I do, my family, the things my family does.

Because of this, I work hard at what I do, but I also expect others to work hard at what they do.

Which leads to, higher stress.

Let me give you an example.

When I go on vacation with my family, we make plans on things to do just like every family. Places to go, places to eat, activities, etc.

When we do this, I’m hoping that our family will make some fun memories and have a good time together. When that activity or plan does not live up to my expectations, my stress and anxiety goes up.

When this happens, I actually miss the memory that is taking place.

The lesson: lighten up. Take the moment as it comes.

Your life won’t end if things don’t go as planned.

Your kids won’t end up in counseling simply because a birthday party wasn’t perfect.

Your marriage won’t fall apart because of a failed date night.

These “failures” simply become part of the lore of your family and life. They become the stories you will tell one day and laugh about.

Remember that time…

So, lighten up and start creating the stories you’ll tell for years to come.

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Being a Pastor’s Wife

Pastor's wife

Many churches (and pastors for that matter) do not know what to do with pastor’s wives, how to treat them, what role they play or how important they are. It is a hard role to live in and stay in. Everyone has a lot of their own expectations of what the wife of a pastor should be like, yet, they are all different.

While Revolution (and myself) has struggled just like every other church to figure this out, I believe Katie and I have figured some things out that we have put into place which will prove to be invaluable in the future. While this is not exclusive to pastors, any leader in a church and for that matter, any husband can do better in understanding their wives and how to engage them.

Below are 6 things Katie and I have learned that I hope will be beneficial for you:

  1. Pastor Your Wife as Much as You Pastor Your Church
  2. Without Her, You Fall Apart
  3. What Role a Pastors Wife Plays in the Church
  4. Spiritual Warfare in the Home
  5. “Just” a Wife & a Mom
  6. Handling the Loneliness

Being a Pastor’s Wife: Handling the Loneliness

Pastor's wife

Many churches (and pastors for that matter) do not know what to do with pastor’s wives, how to treat them, what role they play or how important they are. It is a hard role to live in and stay in. Everyone has a lot of their own expectations of what the wife of a pastor should be like, yet, they are all different.

While Revolution (and myself) has struggled just like every other church to figure this out, I believe Katie and I have figured some things out that we have put into place which will prove to be invaluable in the future. While this is not exclusive to pastors, any leader in a church and for that matter, any husband can do better in understanding their wives and how to engage them.

Over the next month, I’ll be sharing some of the things we’ve learned that I hope will be beneficial for you.

If you missed them, you can read Pastor Your Wife as Much as You Pastor Your ChurchWithout Her, You Fall ApartWhat Role a Pastors Wife Plays in the ChurchSpiritual Warfare in the Home and “Just” a Wife & a Mom.

Being a pastor or a pastor’s wife is a unique role.

Besides the expectation that people have as to what they should be like and do, there is the relational aspect that is difficult.

For a pastor and his wife, friends are hard to come by. For a few reasons: some people want to be friends with a pastor or his wife so they can be close to the power, they like the feeling that comes from being close to the center, they want the inside track or information. Many people expect a pastor and his wife to be at every birthday party, baby shower, wedding shower, or anniversary party (and bring a gift)!

I remember one person who got mad and left our church because I didn’t show up to help him move. Even though he had never asked, he was angry I just know he was moving and come help.

That is not a joke.

Every person has had someone stab them in the back, lie to them or break confidence and share something secret with a group of people. For a pastor and his wife, put on the expectation that people have that they will be perfect, not struggle in their marriage, not struggle in parenting, not have doubts and you see how this can be difficult. I’ve seen pastors get fired for ridiculous things they shared with an elder they thought was a friend. I knew one pastor who was fired because his wife talked to an elders wife about a struggle in their marriage, that quickly came before the elder board and he was let go. Mind you, this was not a disqualifying issue.

Many pastors and their wives decide, loneliness is better than the pain.

It isn’t. In the long run, it is harmful.

When we started Revolution, everyone we got close to seemed to end up leaving the church. Church planting can be incredibly lonely. We reached out to other pastors and pastors wives and got the cold shoulder. So we pushed through.

In our Acts 29 assessment, our assessment team told us, “You don’t have friends. You need to stop holding back and start trusting people again.” Mostly that was on me and my inability to deal with past hurts, but it was a wake up call.

This isn’t without risk. It takes wisdom and time.

You don’t just share your hurts with anyone. You must be careful and wise about who is your accountability partner.

I’m an introvert and so I don’t have a ton of friends and can be content with a few close friends. Katie is an extrovert and so I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone to make sure we have time with friends and are making that a priority. Men, make sure you are encouraging your wife to get time with other women. Get babysitting, give her space to have hobbies and fun. Encourage her in this way.

Being a Pastor’s Wife: “Just” a Wife & a Mom

pastor's wife

Many churches (and pastors for that matter) do not know what to do with pastor’s wives, how to treat them, what role they play or how important they are. It is a hard role to live in and stay in. Everyone has a lot of their own expectations of what the wife of a pastor should be like, yet, they are all different.

While Revolution (and myself) has struggled just like every other church to figure this out, I believe Katie and I have figured some things out that we have put into place which will prove to be invaluable in the future. While this is not exclusive to pastors, any leader in a church and for that matter, any husband can do better in understanding their wives and how to engage them.

Over the next month, I’ll be sharing some of the things we’ve learned that I hope will be beneficial for you.

If you missed them, you can read Pastor Your Wife as Much as You Pastor Your ChurchWithout Her, You Fall ApartWhat Role a Pastors Wife Plays in the Church and Spiritual Warfare in the Home.

I talk to many wives and Katie and I have had this conversation as well. In our culture, it is seen as a step down to be a wife and a mom (in some Christian circles it is seen as a step down if a wife works, but that’s another post for another day). I have watched people ask Katie what she does and for awhile she felt embarrassed to say she was a wife and a mom. As if someone who is a wife and a mom is incapable of doing anything else with their lives.

Or, as someone asked me, “Why would Katie give up her dreams to be a wife and a mom?” I think that question is the crux of it all. To be a wife and a mom requires a sacrifice, a sacrifice that I do not fully understand, but do my best to fully appreciate and hold up.

A woman who pours into her husband and kids does make an enormous sacrifice. They are women who don’t simply buy into “doing whatever they want” but seeing how their gifts can be used for an eternal perspective.

How do I know that? If Katie had stayed in school and finished her math/engineering degree (another misnomer is that if you stay home you must be stupid, think again), we either don’t get married or we get married and live in Missouri while she finishes school, which means I don’t get my master’s or go on staff at the church I worked at in Maryland. This changes the complete trajectory of our lives.

There have been several times in my marriage (maybe not enough) that I’ve looked at Katie and said, “Thank you for sacrificing your dreams to be part of a dream of raising our kids for them to make in impact. Thank you for supporting me and sticking by me to get Revolution off the ground.” I always joke with Katie that her house will be bigger in heaven but I am now convinced that she will also get to live in the gated community while I live in the slums. Still in heaven but she will have to invite me over for a visit. 🙂

So, the next time you see a woman who is “just” a wife and a mom know that she is holding onto a bigger, eternal dream. That is what is driving her. Husbands, do not let anyone say your wife is “just” a wife and a mom.

And, always, always tell your wife thanks for the work she does. Without Katie, what I enjoy and love about life does not exist. That’s a perspective I don’t want to forget.

Does every pastor’s wife do this? To be a successful pastor’s wife, should you not work?

The answer is that it depends. For many, they won’t. I also don’t want it to sound like the only role a wife and mom can play is staying at home. Many, many women make a big impact while working outside the home.

One thing that makes pastoral ministry unique is that many churches want the pastor’s wife involved in ministry. For our church, we have always said a pastor’s wife should be like any other Christian woman. She should be encouraged to use her gifts, talents, be plugged into an MC and serve as she can (based on the stage of life she is in). That changes as life changes. Because ministry can be an all consuming job, it can be difficult for a pastor’s wife to work outside the home. Not impossible, but difficult.

For many pastor’s families, the need for money and security is high. Most churches think it is important keep their pastor’s poor (which is a sin on the church’s part), or a pastor has school debt and the need for extra income is there. If this is the reason for a pastor’s wife working, I think a pastor needs to educate his elders and his church about his needs, how much a pastor should get paid and move towards that. Many elders struggle with this because it is hard to gauge what to pay a pastor. One year as we were discussing raises at Revolution, an elder said we shouldn’t give anyone a raise because no one in our economy was getting raises. I pointed out, that may be true, but our church was growing, giving was going up and we were asking more and more of our staff. Elders board sometimes have to separate their situation to be a good elder and this can be hard.

In the end, finances and church staffs are a sticky situation. But one a healthy church must navigate and one a healthy pastor’s family must walk through.

The Other Side of the Coin

There is another side of this struggle that I think is true for all married women, but in particular for a pastor’s wife. Many pastor’s wives have poured their entire adult life into their husbands ministry. Helped him get through seminary, maybe helped him plant a church and possibly followed him to countless churches (since the average pastor stays at a church for 18 months). Because of this, many of her dreams, desires and talents are put on hold for the good of his ministry and what the church needs. Because of moving around, a feeling of loneliness and disconnectedness sets in, which we’ll look at in a future post.

Husbands and pastors have a responsibility to help their wife find their talents, gifts, what fires them up and help them do that. It doesn’t mean a business or work, although according to Proverbs 31 that can be a good thing. It does mean setting aside some of his passions and desires for her so that he can serve her. Many men at this point will talk about their calling and how that super cedes everything. True on one hand, debatable on the other. Your first calling is your wife and kids, and then your ministry. Many men because of being a Type A leader get this backwards and their wife feels the pain of this.

My goal with this post and all the posts in this series is to educate a church about the unique struggles that a pastors wife has. There might even be some education to a pastor about what his wife is going through as some can be oblivious to this. I also hope to create some good conversations among couples about what it looks like to have a healthy marriage and be in ministry.

Being a Pastor’s Wife: Spiritual Warfare in the Home

Pastor's wife

Many churches (and pastors for that matter) do not know what to do with pastor’s wives, how to treat them, what role they play or how important they are. It is a hard role to live in and stay in. Everyone has a lot of their own expectations of what the wife of a pastor should be like, yet, they are all different.

While Revolution (and myself) has struggled just like every other church to figure this out, I believe Katie and I have figured some things out that we have put into place which will prove to be invaluable in the future. While this is not exclusive to pastors, any leader in a church and for that matter, any husband can do better in understanding their wives and how to engage them.

Over the next month, I’ll be sharing some of the things we’ve learned that I hope will be beneficial for you.

If you missed them, you can read Pastor Your Wife as Much as You Pastor Your ChurchWithout Her, You Fall Apart and What Role a Pastors Wife Plays in the Church.

Spiritual warfare always gets mixed reactions when you bring it up. In the church I grew up in, spiritual warfare was something we believed in, but didn’t believe actually happened. We had angels in the Christmas pageant. The pastor preached on the unseen world of angels and demons, but no one actually believe it happened. I have a friend who sees spiritual warfare everywhere. There are angels and demons behind every door waiting to pounce on you. If you get sick, that is Satan.

While I am no expert on spiritual warfare, and admittedly, I’m scared to become an expert on it because I don’t want to have to use my knowledge. But since starting Revolution, I have begun to see spiritual warfare differently than I used to. I believe that both Satan and God are active in our world. I believe they move around, can take up resident in our lives, homes, work places and churches (if you don’t believe that last one, just go to a congregational business meeting).

I also believe, from my own experience, that spiritual warfare comes into your home and family. If there is a night of the week that Katie and I are going to have a fight, it is going to be Saturday night. If there is a night that our kids will decide not to sleep, it is going to be Saturday night. Now, that isn’t necessarily Satan working in our home, but our own sin nature can very easily give him a foothold into our lives.

A pastor’s wife is most likely to feel the brunt of this. I remember a pastor once saying that he sees Satan going to Eve first was a testament of how important the role of women are because Satan will go to them first. It is the same for a pastor’s wife. For this reason, while both spouses must be called to full-time ministry (if they aren’t, he shouldn’t be a pastor, but that is a post for another day), he is doing most of the work, seeing the excitement, the life change, hearing the stories. She (in our case anyway) is at home with 3 kids, changing diapers, trying to get kids to eat, take naps, not kill each other and for her to not kill them.

It is easy for Satan to whisper into her ear, “This isn’t worth it.” She has to fight feelings of missing out on something, on a “normal” life, of not being appreciated by her kids, husband or her husband not being appreciated for all that he does. It is easy for her to rationalize why this is not worth their lives.

If you don’t believe me, ask a pastor’s wife. You must be aware of this as a pastor and put some things in place to fight against it. As a couple and as a family, we pray for protection over our marriage, our kids and our house. We pray for the same protection for the other elders and staff at Revolution on a daily basis. We have people praying for us.

We have friends who check in with us on Saturday and Sunday night to ask how we are doing and to let us know they are praying for us. I have friends who live on the east coast who pray for us when they wake up and we are still asleep on the west coast.

Pastor’s, ask your wife how she is doing. Does she feel vulnerable? Does she need to be encouraged? Be her first line of defense. Churches, lift up your leaders on a regular basis, but especially on the weekend as they prepare for what lies ahead. I had a mentor tell me that preaching was like “reaching down onto the road into hell and pulling people back.”

So yes, Satan has a lot to say about that.

Being a Pastor’s Wife: What Role a Pastor’s Wife Plays in the Church

Pastor's wife

Many churches (and pastors for that matter) do not know what to do with pastor’s wives, how to treat them, what role they play or how important they are. It is a hard role to live in and stay in. Everyone has a lot of their own expectations of what the wife of a pastor should be like, yet, they are all different.

While Revolution (and myself) has struggled just like every other church to figure this out, I believe Katie and I have figured some things out that we have put into place which will prove to be invaluable in the future. While this is not exclusive to pastors, any leader in a church and for that matter, any husband can do better in understanding their wives and how to engage them.

Over the next month, I’ll be sharing some of the things we’ve learned that I hope will be beneficial for you.

If you missed them, you can read Pastor Your Wife as Much as You Pastor Your Church and Without Her, You Fall Apart.

The other thing that too many churches do with pastor’s wives is not being sure what to do with them or how they should serve or be involved. Many churches see them as free labor. He’s here, she came with him, why not put her to work, for free. She leads the music, plays the piano, leads the kids ministry and the women’s ministry. Why? Why not.

What makes being a pastor’s wife difficult is that nowhere in scripture is there a job description. The only job description people know of for a pastors’ wife is what they saw their last pastor’s wife do. If she did it, they assume every pastor’s wife does that. The problem is that every pastor’s wife is not musical, many of them do not have upfront personalities, or have a teaching gift or have a passion for children or a women’s ministry.

A pastor’s wife needs to be treated like the rest of the women in the church. She needs to be encouraged to find her spiritual gift and use them. Whatever that may be. And, like every other woman in the church, her first responsibility it to care for her husband and children. That is her first ministry according to Titus 2. This is something churches can get better at as well. We need to encourage and hold up the important role women play when it comes to their role as a wife and a mom. Yes, women are not just that, but we have lowered those roles so much in our culture that it is seen as a step down if that is your role. By fulfilling this role, a woman is making the biggest impact on the world because of the impact she is making on her family (particularly, her kids).

Sorry, that was a tangent.

Once, I had a conversation with a woman at Revolution and she told me all the things her pastor’s wife had done. She had recently moved to Tucson. Her problem was that Katie didn’t do these things. What she failed to recognize was that Katie was 28 and her previous pastor’s wife was 44, with only a high school senior still at home. Katie had 3 kids under 4 at home.

While, this does not give a pastor’s wife an excuse to be lazy and say, “I have 2 young kids at home so I can’t volunteer anywhere in the church.” If someone else said that in a church, we would give pushback because we are all called to serve somewhere in some capacity in the body of Christ. She does need to be selective with her time.

Every family finds themselves in different seasons. Some are busier than others. A pastor’s wife needs to be aware of the season she is in, the season her family is in and the church needs to be okay with that and respect that. As they do with the other women in the church.

Pastors, does your church see your wife as free labor, or do they treat her like other women in the church and encourage her to find a spot to serve? You need to not treat her as an employee, she is a member of your church, just like everybody else who is a member. Have you helped her discover her gifts and what she is passionate about? In case you haven’t figured it out, this might change as she grows older, which makes it fun. You get to discover something new with her, and then discover something else with her as her season in life changes.

Churches, do you treat your pastors wife with respect, but also like other women in the church? She is going through the same things all the women in the church are going through, she just gets to go through it in a more public way.

Being a Pastor’s Wife: Without Her, You Fall Apart

Pastor's wife

Many churches (and pastors for that matter) do not know what to do with pastor’s wives, how to treat them, what role they play or how important they are. It is a hard role to live in and stay in. Everyone has a lot of their own expectations of what the wife of a pastor should be like, yet, they are all different.

While Revolution (and myself) has struggled just like every other church to figure this out, I believe Katie and I have figured some things out that we have put into place which will prove to be invaluable in the future. While this is not exclusive to pastors, any leader in a church and for that matter, any husband can do better in understanding their wives and how to engage them.

Over the next month, I’ll be sharing some of the things we’ve learned that I hope will be beneficial for you.

If you missed it, you can read Pastor Your Wife as Much as You Pastor Your Church.

One of the difficulties is that no one knows is what a pastor’s wife does. Everyone sees him preaching, leading worship, talking with people. They are touched by what he does. Words speak to them. He led them to Christ, baptized them, did their wedding, and was there for them when they lost a parent or a child.

What makes a pastor’s wife the most important person to the pastor is what you don’t see her do. For me, I am able to do all that I do only because of what Katie does in the background. The night before preaching is especially stressful for every pastor. They are thinking about their sermon, the people who will be there, the details, the people who are mad at them, any problems that are coming up, the list goes on and on what runs through a pastor’s mind the night before preaching. On Saturday, Katie makes sure that our house is as relaxing as possible. We play with our kids, watch a movie, sit on the back porch listening to music and talking together. We do as little as possible. We don’t have any major discussions (we do that on date night, which is Friday night). The next difficult night is after preaching. A pastor thinks about the conversations, what went right, what went wrong. It is either an incredible high or a low. But the night after preaching is usually the most dramatic mood swing of the week for a pastor. They have poured everything out to help those in their church. Without Katie, I would not make it through a month’s worth of these nights.

Pastors, make sure your wife knows how important she is. It is easy for her to forget because she doesn’t see or hear everything. She just hears the bad stuff. Tell her about how what she does enables you to do what you do. How by creating a relaxing home, you are prepared to do what you do and because you do what you do and God worked someone’s life has been changed. That does not happen without her.

When was the last time you said, “Without you, I would not be able to do ________________?” Do you have a night (a weekly date night) set aside that honors your wife and give your undivided attention to her on this night? That means no phone, email, internet, TV. A night of relating.