As pastors’ wives*, we usually don’t get our own desks, but we fill an important church position nonetheless. Not just as a sounding board for our husbands, but as an influencing factor to the church women. How we use (or misuse) that influence can help or hinder our husbands’ ministries and can build up or tear down Christ’s church.
See. The first step in properly exercising our authority is seeing that we have it. For some of us, the mere thought of such responsibility makes us want to hide under the bed. For others, that authority prompts us to list all the things and people we plan to “fix” in the church. Our true role lies somewhere in the middle. We’re not called to change everybody and everything into our image of perfection; we are called to recognize that our speech, attitude, and attendance are on display before the church as a model of Christian womanhood, for good or for ill.
Embrace. How our authority plays out depends on our talents and seasons of life. God has gifted some of us as singers, speakers, writers, teachers, organizers, musicians, hostesses, etc. We’re to use our gifts for His glory. When we have babies or young children, we probably shouldn’t take on major, time-consuming roles; however, we should be conscious of other women watching the way we mother. As older women, we should watch for opportunities to guide (gently!) other women to greater faithfulness.
Speak. The influence of our position gives us a platform from which to speak. For the shy ones among us, being “the pastor’s wife” can give us courage to greet visitors or invite neighbors to church. In cases where a woman needs to be reproved for sin, our position gives us the authority to talk to her about it, sometimes with a frankness that our husbands can’t. In such situations of reprimand, we must check our heart attitudes carefully. We only want to speak with humility, gentleness, and wisdom.
Grow. In order to exercise our influence the way God wants, we need to maintain a proper relationship with Him. That means we need to be in Worship, praying and singing with the church and hearing God’s Word preached. We need to maintain personal Bible study and prayer times. Without tending to our own spiritual growth, we’re apt to fall into a wrong use of our authority. After all, we want to be a wise woman like Abigail, not a vicious she-devil like Jezebel!
*NOTE: This tip also applies to elders’ wives and, depending on your church’s ecclesiology, deacons’ wives and other women’s ministry leaders.