Guest Author: Laurie Acker
Being a pastor’s wife in a small church is tough, and sometimes we make it even harder. Because the reality is:
- There’s no manual of how to walk this pastor’s wife role
- There’s no “typical” pastor’s wife – so there’s no ONE way to do it well
- Many of us didn’t choose this path on purpose
If you struggle with feelings of loneliness, comparison, or failure, you’re not alone. If you feel misunderstood, unseen, or unloved, we’re with you. If you struggle with doing too much, not enough, or not even knowing what you should be doing, you’re in good company.
Even though these feelings range from deflating to overwhelming, there really is a way to find tons more joy as you walk this role!
Here are 4 of the Biggest Mistakes of Pastors’ Wives in Small Churches, plus how to avoid them.
MISTAKE #1: Doing Too Much
If you’re on the verge of burnout, not sleeping well, or feel like you’re running on anxiety (or adrenaline), that’s not God’s plan for you. God cares about you as His daughter. In fact, He doesn’t need your effort to accomplish what He wants done in the church. Set aside time for some heart-felt journaling and find a mentor to hear your heart.
If you want to learn how to stop doing so much, join these breakout sessions at the Small Church Pastors’ Wives Conference:
- The Holy “No” – When Saying “No” to Ministry is the Better Choice (Andria S. Hudson)
- Self-Care: How to Unplug, Reset, and Restore Your Life (Shantelle Jacobs, MA, LPC-S)
- Organizational Hacks for the Busy Pastor’s Wife: When You Don’t Have the Assistant You Deserve (Shavon Codio)
MISTAKE #2: Trying to be something you’re not
If you find yourself feeling like a fish out of water, comparing yourself and coming up short, or wondering if the dreams God’s placed on your heart will ever happen, you’re not alone. Instead of trying to fit some elusive ideal of a pastor’s wife, grab hold of who God made you to be. He planted you where you are to shine YOUR light. Reawaken your dreams and connect with what makes you “you.” Grab a journal and start a personal dream list.
To learn more, don’t miss these sessions at the Small Church Pastors’ Wives Conference:
- I Am Enough: Confident in the Skin I’m In (Chantelle Bittings, LCPC)
- Your Ministry Matters: How to Identify & Embrace Your Own Calling (Britni Bryan)
- You Are More than a Pastor’s Wife: Loving, Living, & Leading Beyond the Church Walls (Monica Speight)
MISTAKE #3: Carrying Your Husband’s Yoke instead of Jesus’ Yoke
This is a tough one, because I know one of your ministries is to your husband. But sometimes as pastors’ wives, we think it’s our job to carry it all – and it’s not. While you may be in ministry together, it’s important to remember your first call is to be God’s daughter, a disciple of Jesus.
Remind yourself that the success of the church isn’t your weight to bear. God’s got that covered.
If #3 hits your heart, don’t miss these breakouts at the Small Church Pastors’ Wives Conference:
- Finding God’s Voice in a Loud & Chaotic World: Steps to Prioritize it & Where to Start (Dee Ann Schnautz)
- Walking with Your Husband in His Struggles & Stress: the Fine Line Between Supporting & Enabling (Discussion Panel)
MISTAKE #4: Serving when what you really need is healing
There is no way to serve in the church and not encounter meanness, hurt feelings, and emotional wounds. Ministry hurts, and this is not lost on our Heavenly Father. If He wanted us to keep going through it all, He would have created us bulletproof – but He didn’t. Our wounds are meant for healing. Lift up the rug you’ve been shoving your hurts under, and find someone to walk with you as you heal.
We’re providing a safe place for you at the Small Church Pastors’ Wives Conference. Don’t miss these:
- Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Shame: What to Do with the Emotions You Wish You Didn’t Have (Robynn Bliss)
- Healing Heart Wounds (Church Trauma + Faith) (Kristen Joy)
- Not Merely Surviving: Cultivating Your Ability to Thrive with Healthy Rhythms (Amy Gerhart, LSW)
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO START?
Please choose a place to start. God has more for you – more peace, more joy, more sweetness – than you can even imagine!
While there is no quick fix when it comes to developing new habits and rhythms, there is a path to health and wholeness!
Laurie started a blog for small church ministry wives in 2020 which has grown into a large movement, equipping small churches to embrace ministry in a way that is unique to them. She is the writer for thecreativelittlechurch.com and the Founder/Director of Small Church Summits.