Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Interim Pastor's Wife

Recently, my husband and I traveled back to Arkansas where he was asked to lead a spiritual renewal revival. While there we stayed in the lovely home of a retired minister and his wife. He now serves as interim pastor in churches when the door opens and she follows as a supportive wife. We felt so comfortable and secure to be among fellow servants.

Prior to the final service I was chatting with my new friend. She asked what I enjoyed doing. Of course, the topic of chocolate came up as well as being outdoors and beach vacations. However, when I mentioned that I blog with four other ministers wives, she quietly posed the question, “Can you tell me where an interim pastor’s wife goes for help and encouragement?” Understand, this lovely lady had only been a married to her husband for about 10 years. Both of them had lost their previous spouses to cancer. For her, being a pastor’s wife was uncharted territory.

I was speechless. While I was gathering my thoughts, this sweet lady told me that being an interim wife means you really never are able to plug into the church or develop close friendships. You simply serve for a time and then move to the next interim God provides.

Honestly girlfriends, I have never even thought about what an interim wife goes through. My contact is mainly with wives whose husbands currently serve on a church staff. In the past week I have ponder her question and she shares in the same issues that all ministers’ wives deal with. One thing I believe God has placed on my heart about an interim’s wife dilemma is that she not only deals with loneliness but she gets a dose of never finding her place in a church.

In my ignorance, I sought advice from our state convention. Bill Northcott, who trains Transitional Pastors and who also serves from time to time as an interim pastor, had several suggestions.

1. The spouse can visit with her husband-hospitals, nursing homes, outreach, homebound, etc.)
2. Bill says his wife does not join a Sunday School class. Instead, she visits different classes each Sunday but she does make the classes aware of her plan on the front end so she does not offend anyone as she moves from class to class.
3. Volunteer from time to time in an area during worship-preschool or nursery.
4. Although, you may not join the church, you can still be useful as a listening ear and encourager.

I would like to add one more idea to what Bill has shared. Any minister’s wife, whether full-time, bio-vocational, or interim, should seek to find fellowship in a wives fellowship. If you would like more information where you can plug into a network of ministers wives, contact Lana Rose at the TN State Convention (lrose@TNBaptist.org). If you are in the Nashville area, I would love to meet you and get you plugged into our group of wives.

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