A Pastor and His Wife

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MarriagePerhaps the most important decision a pastor makes in his life and ministry is choosing the woman who will become his wife. Through my years of pastoring and leading churches, I have always found that a pastor and his ministry will not surpass his marital relationship in terms of healthy growth. If his marriage is healthy, his ministry has a much greater probability of being productive and effective. Conversely, if his marriage is unhealthy, his ministry will be extremely limited and affected greatly.

Jeana and I have been married over 36 years. I became a local church pastor in September 1976, and we were married on Dec. 31, 1976. Jeana was a piano major in college and I am convinced I received the call to my first church because they needed a piano player!

I want to share a few practical things for every pastor and his wife to consider and act upon in life and ministry:

You Are Partners

You are partners in marriage and in ministry. Yes, I wrote that statement correctly. Partnership in marriage many understand, but partnership in ministry is becoming a unique quality for a pastor and his wife.

Jeana and I have always been partners in ministry. We have walked together hand-in-hand through all our years in ministry. She is fully involved in the life of the church. Every pastoral candidate that I call to serve on our Cross Church team is joined by his wife at his final interview. That interview is more about her than it is him.

During that interview I talk to her and ask her:

*Do you go to worship?

*Are you involved in a ministry of the church?

Then I proceed to tell her along with her husband:

*If you come here I expect you to be in worship weekly.

*If you come here I expect you to be involved in a ministry.

*If you come here I expect you to be involved in our monthly staff wives luncheon that Jeana leads.

*If you come here I expect you to be involved in our annual staff advance.

At Cross Church, we expect a pastor and his wife to be partners in ministry. More importantly, God expects a pastor and his wife to be partners in ministry.

Live Life Together

A pastor and his wife need to live life together. Yes, ministry is busy and at times very demanding. Every job has challenging seasons.

However, a pastor and his wife need to live life together. When time away from ministry occurs, this should not mean that he goes his way and she goes her way. Go together! Live life together.

The strongest testimony of a pastor and his wife comes when your people see you together, enjoying life together and living life together. This also keeps both of you from becoming vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks of sexual temptation. When people see you and your wife living life together this lets all others know: She is mine and I am hers. If you are not together or you are rarely seen together, you are sending signals that are very unhealthy for your people. Therefore, live life together!

Be Consistent

Be consistent in your walk with Christ and your calling to ministry both at church and at home. Do not be a hypocrite! The last thing the wife of the pastor needs to see is a different man at home than she sees in the pulpit. This is especially true when children enter into your life. Equally, the pastor does not need to come home to a wife who is personified at church as a great woman of God, but at home is a tough lady.

Both a pastor and his wife need to be consistent in their daily walk with Jesus. Consistent in their daily time with God. Consistent in praying together daily. Consistent in their family life and church life.

The anointing of God cannot be fooled! God knows if you are real and consistent daily, wherever you are. Usually, the anointing of God is strongest to those who live consistently wherever they may be, whether at home, at the ball field, within a restaurant, or at the church.

Many More Thoughts

Yes I have many more thoughts on this, but let’s just think upon and pray about these for now:

*You are partners

*Live life together

*Be consistent

May the Holy Spirit empower you to be these things and more!


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Ronnie Floyd About Ronnie Floyd

Dr. Ronnie Floyd has been a pastor for over 36 years. Since 1986, Pastor Floyd has served as the Senior Pastor of Cross Church, Northwest Arkansas, which has baptized over 17,000 people during his tenure. Cross Church was one of the first churches in America to go multi-site. Pastor Floyd has authored 20 books including Our Last Great Hope: Awakening the Great Commission.


  • MVK(Bah)

    Excellent article! Unity in the spirit that shines through in ministry is definitely a plus. Our first ministry is to our family and when this is emmulated in ministry, it’s a great example for those you lead to follow.

  • DO

    Yeah i agree this column missed the mark on many counts. If it works for Ronnie at his Church than great but these principals are definitely not broadband.

  • James

    I wonder how many laws you are breaking by asking such interview questions of the spouse of the candidate? Sorry to say but it’s rotten, your system.

    • http://brandonacox.com Brandon A. Cox

      James, churches can legally ask a spouse these kinds of questions as a matter of freedom of religion and as “job-specific requirements.” No laws were broken in the writing of this article.

      • James

        Thanks for the reply (and sorry if my post seemed a little hostile, I am in a church where women are quite poorly treated and it gets to me sometimes – hope to continue discussion with love not war :)

        But OK, there are “genuine occupational requirements” in the UK, for example, that enable a Christian church to stipulate a candidate applying for a pastor job must be a Christian or which allow a model agency to look for a tall pretty female catwalk model without falling foul of discrimination law. However, I am not so sure “being married” could be said to be a “genuine occupational requirement”.

        if it is, it needs to be well worked out within the job requirement and job advertisement; and the church needs to really ask the question, “why- why does our church require our pastor to be married? Are there unmarried pastors who can shepherd this flock just as well or better? Are we missing out on them? Can we genuinely justify this?”

        I am not saying you can’t justify it in your church – each to their own and if you justify it, then good for you. But it needs to be right up there, transparently, on job adverts or key job requirements “married”. I just got the impression from this post that being married was an “unwritten rule” – the basis for a lot of evil in our society. And, if you cannot demonstrate it is a genuine occupational requirement, then asking about a spouse is for sure illegal.

        By the way, you probably know this area backwards, but in case you didn’t see this one from the UK, I found it interesting and thoughtful: http://www.religionlaw.co.uk/FWChristian.pdf

        Cheers!

  • Lemora

    We must remember that all pastors are not male and help pastors’ husbands embrace the idea of supporting their wives who are called to the pastoral ministry. While I agree that married clergy couples are one in life and ministry, the reality is that not all spouses of clergypersons are willing to accept the roles and expectations others make of them as far as ministry is concerned. Therefore, we must pray for and encourage all those who God calls into ministry whether his/her spouse walks by his/her side or not.

  • Serving Christ

    Thank you for a practical and very important article. After 43 years of ministry, I would also add that it is so important that a preacher’s wife be very close to him in spiritual growth. When it comes to ministry together, just being saved is not enough. She needs to have a soul-winner’s heart, be grounded in the Word and have a true desire to serve Him. I made that mistake. Divorce and resigning from a very successful ministry resulted. I still serve Him, but the scar of divorce has greatly limited my ministry.

  • kylesteven

    I don’t agree entirely with your intro. I’ve known several megachurch pastors who have terrible marriages. Overall though, the point you are making though is a good one. Healthy marriages do fuel healthy ministry, but sometimes there isn’t a direct correlation.

  • Deborah

    At the church where my late husband pastored, I was the church secretary and was very much involved in teaching, women’s ministry, worship, etc. The chief elder didn’t like that–he didn’t think other members of the pastor’s family should be working at the church (he was quite paranoid that we would steal or something!). An associate pastor told us to our faces that we shouldn’t be working together, that it wasn’t good for us to be together that much! Yikes. Actually, it was so wonderful to spend that much time together and have the same goals in ministry, etc.–especially since my husband died after only 5 years of marriage. I’m forever grateful that we were together almost 24/7 for those 5 short years.

    • Sean

      I absolutely love that the Senior Pastor and his wife at my church are both in the office quite a bit. She is one of two secretaries, leads 2 Bible studies, and is one of our consistent readers in service. It is a great example for my new wife and I (8 months) to watch and learn from. I don’t expect my wife to serve in the office or to lead a Bible study because that’s not where her gifts are. But my wife uses her gifts to effectively reach others who are in our church community and our area.

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