Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Encouraging your husband in ministry
The church planter/pastor is the one who is supposed to encourage others, but what do you do when your pastor is discouraged and you just happen to be married to him?
I wanted to share a few thoughts on encouraging our pastor/husbands.
1. Pray for him. I start with this because I think it is most important. I wanted to pray for my pastor/husband, Richard, but didn't know exactly what to pray. I read Stormie Omartian's book, The Power of a Praying Wife, and found all kinds of things to pray about - many things I would have not thought about (prayers for him to be kept from temptation, prayers for his friendship, his finances, his health, and on and on). I pray the Bible prayer at the end of the chapter, put a bookmark there and move to the next prayer the following morning. What a powerful force we can unleash in our lives when we pray!
Once when we were going through a rough situation at our church, I prayed that morning for God to encourage and help Richard that day. That evening he told me that he opened a magazine that morning and the first article talked about discouragement. Then a friend came by and prayed with him. I was amazed at how God had encouraged him.
2. Listen to him. We all need someone to listen -without judging us. It took me awhile to learn this, but my hubby usually didn't need my advice - he just needed me to sit and listen and sympathize. I like to call what he does venting. Have you ever noticed that men need to vent? In the beginning, I told him how he should feel (Honey, you shouldn't feel that way; she was only trying to be helpful...), but I learned that he opened up a lot more if I kept MY mouth shut and just listened. Enough said...
3. Don't criticize him. Some may disagree with me, but I decided early in our ministry that I was going to be his cheerleader. I didn't want him to dread getting in the car every Sunday only to hear a litany of his mistakes. I figured there would be enough people who would correct him if he did it wrong. Again, I didn't realize how much self-doubt men have. Am I a good pastor? Am I a good husband? Am I a good father? Am I.... Hearing those magic words "I believe in you" can give men the confidence to keep going even when they fail.
Having said that, I do occasionally slip into my "Holy Spirit Junior" mode and feel like I need to correct him. There are times to honestly talk about things, but it should never be done in haste and without clear leading from God. I've found praying does a lot more good than I could ever do with my nagging/whining/complaining.
And did I mention, never speaking against him or correcting him in front of others? I heard a pastor telling a story and his wife kept interrupting him to make sure he was telling it just right (No, honey, it was Tuesday night instead of Thursday night! No, remember we were driving the Buick, not the Mustang). Ephesians 4:29 says that our words should build up (edify). It's refreshing to hear one spouse compliment and not tear down the other!
4. Meet his physical needs. When hubby/pastor comes home from a stressful board meeting, what could help "de-stress" him better than a good meal, a massage and sex? God gave us the gift of physical intimacy which can make our marriages stronger, happier, and more fun!
I realize this blog is getting too long... must close before you start drifting off.
Peter Drucker said that being a pastor and a church planter are the two hardest jobs in America. So I'm guessing that being married to someone in those jobs is not going to be easy. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves and our pastor husbands to do what we can, but this is God's work - the battle is the Lord's!
Share with us ways that you think ministry wives can encourage their husbands.