How Can an Association Show Love and Support to Pastors’ Wives?

By Darlene Dryer

The value of a pastor’s wife is immeasurable. She knows the heart of her husband, watches him tirelessly give of himself, cheers him on in his vision – even if she can’t see it yet – hears the complaints of the members about the AC, shields her children from ridicule about not wearing shoes, fills in every position left open by volunteers who did not show up, folds bulletins like a boss, can figure out a craft for kids ministry using coffee station supplies, and washes the linens from every baptism.

It would take an army to replace her, but does she know her value? Does she feel appreciated? Does she know she would be missed if she did not show up Sunday?

Associations can administer love and support at three levels as time and resources allow. But how can an association help the pastor’s wife feel seen, heard and appreciated?

Level 1

At the most basic level, an association can let wives know they are seen doing the hard things. Wives often sign up for the physical tasks no one else will, and they help carry the emotional burden of a flock with their husband. They do this out of love for God and His people. They are not looking for accolades; most will be too embarrassed to receive praise.

If an Association Missions Strategist could take the time to send out a thank you card at least once a year to recognize her sacrifice in service, she would feel seen. Hagar was met in the desert by God. What encouraged her to go back and continue in the house of Abraham? She realized that God saw her, and that was enough to continue her servitude as bleak as it seemed. (“You are a God who sees me.” Genesis 16:13) A card says, “I see you!”

To make it even sweeter, throw in a gift card to a popular coffee shop or ice cream store in your area. An encouraging card could be the love and support she needs to keep going this week. The Lord knows we can’t have a pastor’s wife quitting mid-week! (gasp) Who would do nursery on Sunday? I suggest doing this in March, which is Pastor’s Wife Appreciation Month. (Who knew this existed? I did not, but the association can receive the brownie points for knowing.)

Level 2

Ready to take it up a notch? Let’s talk about a “Pastor’s Wife Care Team.” Can you find three ladies who are caring and organized? OK, you can totally do this with one person, but who wants to work alone? Deputize these ladies as the Pastor Wife Care Team. The care team members do not need to be pastor wives themselves; their job is simply to create events where pastor wives can gather and connect. (“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together.” Hebrews 10:24). The wives can feel heard simply by verbally communicating their stories, having others listen to them and troubleshooting ideas with like-minded ladies! Even in the silent presence of each other, a bond is created, and loneliness begins to shatter.

A quick look at how to start a Pastor Wife Care Team might be that, in the first-year, appreciation events are at a central, neutral location once a quarter. Most wives can afford a cup of coffee four times a year. Your care team can start a tab if the association has the funds to pay for everyone’s coffee. Coffee shops lend themselves to conversation and milling around much better than a restaurant. These events aim to allow the ladies to connect.

At these events, the care team could act like the emcee of the evening. They might have conversation starters, provide name tags or bring tissues and entertain small children so the mommies can talk. What I have found to work the best is to schedule the events a year out, make a fancy flier with all the dates and locations, and then email, call, snail mail, social media, smoke signals and send paratroopers every month to get the calendar out. The first year is a pilot run, so don’t get discouraged. In the second year, word will start to travel, and by the third year, they are begging for once-a-month gatherings. Ta-da, they have been heard!

Level 3

Now, how can you invest in pastor wives and show them your appreciation? Equip them! (“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” Proverbs 1:5). Do not waste their time, money or energy. They do not have any of these things in discretionary amounts! The Pastor Wife Care Team will need to execute this with the highest level of strategy. Once a year, host a retreat focused on education and tools they can take back to their mission field and apply immediately, all while giving them a two-night getaway. The retreat allows them to pull away from the everyday tasks like meal prep, laundry, ministry tasks and everything else. The retreat enables them to recharge, refocus and leave ready to reengage in their context, fueled for another year.

Let’s recap! As time and resources allow, an association can show pastor wives love and support by letting her know she is seen, heard, and appreciated in three levels of engagement:

Level 1:

  • Send a card at least once a year.

Level 2:

  • Send a card.
  • Create a Pastor Wife Care Team to host quarterly or monthly gatherings.

Level 3:

  • Send a card.
  • Create a Pastor Wife Care Team to host quarterly or monthly gatherings.
  • Equip the pastors’ wives through a retreat focused on tools they can use.

Published May 2, 2024

P.S. Get our best content in your inbox

We send one email per month full of articles from a variety of Replanting voices.

Darlene Dryer

Wife to an amazing pastor husband, mother to three beautiful daughters, leads NAMB Replant Spouse Care and Development, and counselor to the strongest women in the world. Darlene has a master's degree in Christian Counseling from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Doctor of Ministry in Counseling from Liberty University. She enjoys homeschooling her girls, being in and around the ocean, and traveling!