The Typical Pastor's Wife is Dead

Oct 01, 2013

We think the “typical” pastor’s wife or woman in ministry is dead. You know, that woman who had it all together, never seemed to struggle, played the piano, attended every event, and met everyone’s expectations—although she could have had some help with her wardrobe.

Those of us in ministry have heard, read and said “I’m not the typical pastor’s wife” so many times, we’ve started to wonder if she really ever existed at all, or if she really only existed in people’s minds and expectations. We spend mass amounts of time, energy, emotion, and effort comparing ourselves to a myth. And the problem is—we fall short. Our attention turns to our shortcomings and failings instead of staying focused on God and who He created us to be.

But the truth is, God knew exactly what He was doing, exactly who He was calling. He knows our shortcomings and our struggles, and He has extended His call to leadership and ministry anyway.

Maybe “typical” isn’t what we thought. Maybe there is a new typical. Maybe we are typical. The more we talk to pastors’ wives and women in ministry, the more we realize how alike we are. Regardless of age, location, denomination, church style, church size we all have the same questions, struggles, and difficulties.

It is time to embrace the knowledge that maybe we are typical—women wanting to know Jesus, support our husbands, love our children, care for our churches, and grow in love and grace. We find peace as we cling to Him in times of challenge—wrestling with our own shortcomings, keeping our heads up during the tough times, acknowledging that we won’t be all things to all people, yet making ourselves available to fellow strugglers.

We learn to trust the sovereignty of the Almighty God who has called us to partner with Him in His work—finding purpose in our unique giftedness, comfort in knowing He doesn’t make mistakes, and rest as we embrace who He made us to be.

We are not perfect. But we may well be typical, and that is fine by us.


Lori Wilhite serves alongside her husband Jud who is the Senior Pastor at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas. They love getting to be part of God changing Sin City into Grace City. She is the founder of Leading and Loving It and is also the co-author of Leading and Loving It: Encouragement for Pastors’ Wives and Women in Leadership.  Lori and Jud have two kids, Emma and Ethan. They also have the world’s cutest bulldog, Roxy. Lori is slightly Jane Austen obsessed and should buy stock in Starbucks since Chai-tea Lattes are a necessity.

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