How Grace Shapes the Duties of Being a Pastor’s Wife

This post: Biblical duties of a pastor’s wife.

Ask one hundred people- What are the duties of a pastor’s wife? and you’ll get about one hundred different answers. 

Most of them will address a mash-up of the following: 

  • what she does
  • what she doesn’t do
  • anything else not covered by the above  

Churches and denominations have expectations about the roles of a pastor’s wife. 

Every pastor’s wife has expectations– and probably misgivings- about her duties in her role. 

Today, I want to talk about our “duties” as pastor’s wives.

And more specifically, how grace shapes those duties.

Because, friends, without grace, any leadership role dissolves into nothing more than duty

And I don’t have to tell you- duty is not life-giving. 

But grace is. 

So, my lovelies… here are four grace-full “duties” every pastor’s wife can whole-heartedly embrace.

Pastor’s wife, I’d love to send you a free gift… keep reading for more details.

Honoring your husband is one of the biggest responsibilities of a pastor wife.
Love = Respect to your man. (photo credit: Han-Hsing Tu)

Duty #1: Give your husband grace.

Your man looks so close-to-perfect in front of everyone at church. 

But you live with him.

You know his faults, irritating habits, his insecurities.

You know him better than anyone else, and that’s why it’s so important for you to give him this gift.


The parsonage yard needs mowed, but your husband is so busy with church work (including mowing the church lawn) that he has to put it off for at least a few more days.

Your husband is exhausted and over-committed all the time. He works a full-time job in order to supplement the ministry salary, so he rarely has time to spend with you or your kids.  This is not what you envisioned “ministry” would look like.

A deacon informs you after church that this is the third service in a row your husband has started the service five minutes late.  You inwardly cringe at the criticism, since it secretly drives you crazy too.


Sound petty?

These kinds of scenarios have the power to destroy your respect for your husband and damage your marriage if you let them.

ALSO READ:  Why Transparency is Such a Big Deal in Ministry

Learn to let go of some expectations regarding:

–> your husband’s ministry, the size of your church, his salary, his personality. None of these things are under your control.

Let go and give grace.

Honoring your husband is one of the biggest responsibilities of a pastor wife.

And it just might be the best thing you ever do for your marriage.

The second best thing you might ever do for your marriage is read Boundaries In Marriageby Cloud and Townsend.  

Check out the book —>

Bottom line: There are healthy ways to express needs, hurts, and expectations within a Christian marriage.

Duty #2: Give your children grace.

Growing up as a PK, I always hated hearing the “typical preacher’s kid” comments.

I didn’t even know that a “typical” preacher’s kid acted like, but it seemed pretty awful!

PKs need a safe place.
PKs need a safe place. (photo credit: Jessica Rockowitz)

As the mother of preacher’s kids, give your children the gift of unconditional love, grace, and affirmation.

I’m not talking about letting them act like undisciplined heathens.

But be your kids’ biggest fan, not their biggest critic.


A Sunday School teacher complains about your preschool daughter’s behavior in class, and you react out of embarrassment instead of dealing with the issue in the privacy of your home after church.

Your older kids seem to resent ministry life; what are you supposed to do to “fix” that?

It’s tempting to try to meet everyone’s expectations about your family.

You really hadn’t planned on potty training your toddler yet, but someone made a comment about the fact that he’s still in diapers.  Now you feel insecure.


Sound familiar?

It takes a lot of inner strength to be the mother of the preacher’s kids. We have to be secure in who we are, and who are families are.

I want to raise children who are confident, gracious, and who love people and love serving in God’s kingdom.

Bottom line: It’s going to take a lot of grace-giving.

My favorite parenting book —> 

Duty #3: Give your church family grace.

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of preacher’s wives who have been hurt and basically burned out on building relationships with people.

ALSO READ:  3 Ways Every Pastor's Wife Can Get Real

As a younger woman, I used to wonder why these women “had such a bad attitude” about ministry.

After being in vocational ministry with my husband since 2004, I understand at least a little why it’s possible to get to that point.

Burn out is a natural response to feeling like you’ve given your all and not been loved or appreciated in return.

Years ago, I read the following quote from a passage in Oswald Chambers book, My Utmost for His Highest, and it’s become a mantra of mine:

The mainspring of Paul’s service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ.

If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.”


You were up half the night with a new baby and still had to make it to Sunday morning service with all your kids in tow. You’re plain tired of always being the one who never misses, never sits out.

You feel like you’ve been more than friendly and hospitable to the women in your church, but they seem so moody and self-absorbed. You’re starting to think, What’s the use?

If you have to go to the trouble of helping out at another funeral for someone who didn’t even attend your church, you just might scream!

 Why doesn’t anyone ever ask you how you’re doing instead of always venting and complaining?


Loving people must be an overflow of our love for Christ.

Human love gives up, wears out, falls short, and expects something in return.

Bottmon line: we cannot love like Jesus without grace. 

Have you hit a “share” button yet? Thanks for spreading the love. xoxo

Until you receive grace- even from yourself- you simply cannot give it away to anyone else.
You need grace too. (photo credit: Aki Tolentino)

Duty #4: Give Yourself Grace.

This is really the heart of it all.

ALSO READ:  An Open Letter to Ministry Wives During the Pandemic

Give the woman in the mirror permission to be human.

Until you receive grace- even from yourself- you simply cannot give it away to anyone else.


Your husband feels called to ministry and he’s so excited about the prospect of stepping into a pastoral role.  The only problem?  You have NO IDEA how to be a pastor’s wife.  Did you actually sign up for this?

The previous pastor’s wife was well-respected and, apparently, good at everything.  You feel like you might be living under her shadow for the rest of your life. 

You’re an introvert, plain and simple.  How can an introverted woman ever be a “good” pastor’s wife? 


Bottom line: Most of us don’t feel like we’re “cut out” to be great pastor’s wives. 

God doesn’t call us because we’re a cut above everyone else.

God calls us because, for some eternal purpose, He chose us for this. 

Believe me, you are going to be good at this… as long as you give yourself permission to be the woman God created you to be. 

When you feel overwhelmed or insecure or just “not enough,” remember this-

There is always enough grace to be faithful. 

Need some encouragement?


Self-Care Kit For the Pastor’s Wife

1. Click here 2. Drop your name + email.

  1. Download the free kit. Join my weekly-ish newsletter and as a bonus, you’ll get the printable!
  2. Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.  
  3. Use your kit to practice nourishing your heart, body + mind (give yourself some time to grow- self-care is a lifestyle).
  4. Keep your kit somewhere handy- tucked inside a pretty folder or journal, for instance, or on your desk next to your favorite pen.

Your Turn

Do you find the duties of ministry difficult? Drop a comment and tell me about it.

3 thoughts on “How Grace Shapes the Duties of Being a Pastor’s Wife”

  1. I really need help on what to do about helping to grow the church. Our church is very very young and more of young adults. We have about 10 unstable sisters in church but my husband wants me to focus on organizing women programs instead of going out for evangelism. This matter brings a big misunderstanding between us because l feel we don’t have enough sisters in church to run meaningful programs but he wants me to work with the few_ just about 4 that are consistent.l find this really difficult as l don’t know exactly the kind of activities to do in a program with just about 4 young girls. I try to convince him that what the church needs now is going for outreaches (into which l earnestly involve the church),not yet in-house programs but he sees me as being of no help to him. Please l really want to be a great help to him but l need to know exactly what kind of programs l can run now in church. Thank you so much for reading.

    • It sounds like you have enough to work with right now. Jesus started with his 12. Build relationship with the girls you have now, that’s how discipleship works. As you “grow” your leaders, then God will bring more. Be faithful to show up for the few you have now. Be patient, this can take years, keep doing the small things and be content with what you have.


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