Words from a Pastor's Wife

This post was written by an Anonymous Pastor’s Wife (not me). I want to say thanks so much to my anonymous friend for sharing her heart with you all on my blog. I am posting her words exactly as she gave them to me and even though they are not mine I certainly agree with her! 

Pay your pastor.  

Most pastors have attended at least 4 years of college, and many have also gone onto seminary, some even have their doctorates.  Your pastor has the equivalent education of an attorney and other professionals.  Yet he willingly serves you, your family and congregation for not very much money.  Pastors have bills, too, including school bills, doctor bills, car payments, and even some stupid tax (as Dave Ramsey puts it).  In my mind, pastors should be paid enough to live comfortably in the community in which he and his family serve.  And he should be paid enough to have savings and be able to invest some in a retirement fund.  And he should have some “margin” for emergencies.

Granted, God provides, and He has for our family.  But churches should be ashamed that their pastor’s family cannot afford to get regular haircuts, that they have to rely on friends and family, and their children’s jobs, to put clothes on the backs of their kids.  Truly, that is shameful.  (The irony here is that some churches expect the pastor and his family to be well-dressed and coiffed.)

And it’s bad for the pastor.  A man’s identity is partially bound up in his ability to provide for his family.  Of course, he relies on God.  But it would certainly be nice if the man could feel that he is providing the basics for his family.

Cut them some slack.  Cut their kids some slack.

Pastors are human, and are not perfect.  They are just like you, people who need God, and are striving to follow His dictates in their lives.  And our children are just like yours.  They have good days and bad days, some are outgoing and some are terribly shy.  Some are rambunctious, and some are quiet as church mice.  Some are smart, some not so smart, some are talented, and others are just paddling as fast as they can to make it through each day unscathed – actually, we’re all just paddling away. 

Extend the grace to your pastor and his family that you expect from them.


Know that if your pastor is an extrovert, his wife is probably an introvert.  There’s that old opposites attracting dynamic at work, and it’s difficult, especially in social situations.  The introvert often gets “peopled out”, especially on a Sunday.  Add a potluck to the mix, and the pastors wife is “done”.  And it’s not that introverts don’t like people, and they may not even be that shy, but people drain introverts. 

And if your pastor is an introvert, he’s probably totally beat by the end of the day , and needs his rest, too.

In practical terms, this means don’t be angry if your pastor’s wife leaves a function early,

A great book to learn more about this is Introverts in the Church  by Adam S. McHugh.  There’s also an Introverts in the Church Facebook page.  

Don’t talk about them, talk to them.   

‘Nuff said.


Patricia Ward said…
Wow, Tara, what a fabulous post! I wish it could be posted in every church in the land, especially Alliance churches!!!!!Love it..
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the post and the reminders. I really appreciate the "pay your pastor" part. I am a PW who only gets a haircut 2-3 times a year, and usually with money from my birthday or Christmas...and I work, too.

If your church doesn't pay your pastor, bless them yourself with a gift card of some sort. This is a lean month at our house, and we have been blessed with grocery and Walmart gift cards which are buying my baby the Tylenol he needs from his shots! Just a suggestion!
Shash said…
Very, very true!

I was floored once when someone in the church told us we should make no more than $30,000 (canadian) a year.

That's $2,500 a month. $625 a week.

If the average Pastor works 45 - 60 hrs per week, which is statistically correct... That would mean he would make just $13.89 / hr on a 45 hr work week. Those weeks he puts in closer to 60 hrs per week, that would be $10.42 an hr. Which is our Province's minimum wage for students or unskilled labor.

The average American keeps 40% of their residual income compared to Canadians. That's how much more we pay in taxes. You can't even compare what an American makes compared to us Canadians. We are taxed at a much higher rate and do not have the benefits a minister may receive in the United States. Our cost of living in Canada is MUCH - MUCH higher!

According to Stats Canada, the average Canadian makes $43,298 per annum for a full-time job that does not exceed 40 hrs / week. And with that they receive health, medical, life, dental & pension benefits - of which we do not receive. We have 4 children and no benefits at all and no pension.

So how is it that a man, who has completed a 4 year University degree and has worked more than full-time for the same church for over 17 years make less than one who works full-time for McDonald's?!

Not to mention the sacrifices a Pastor's family has to make. Lack of privacy. Held to a higher standard. Judged. Talked about. Fishbowl life. High expectations on the Pastor, the kids and the wife.

The thing is... the church doesn't just get the Pastor! Often times they get the wife for free. So 2 for the price of one.

I am a Pastor's wife. I work for the church in the office. I do not receive a paycheque. I handle all the administration, communication, social media, advertising, website, bulletin, newsletters, charitable returns, I used to handle all the banking too. I also teach the women's groups and am there with my husband during meetings, counseling, etc. Even in weddings, I participate and help him - of which he does for free for people in the church. Often times I am the photographer who ends up doing the entire wedding & reception "as a gift".

So we give and give and give of ourselves and we do it because we love to. But it does get me miffed when someone comes to us and tells us that we are overpaid and should work for much lower than the average Canadian!

Thanks for this post Tara & anonymous and for letting me rant!! LOL :)
db said…
I love your post anonymous. I practically said these very same words to a deacon about 25 years ago. Did I enlighten him? Probably not. love to you and your hard working dh and your family.
This is a great post and so very true.

We are always looking for creative ways to do fun things with our family of four...that don't cost ANYTHING. I also, only get new clothes or luxuries with birthday money or gift cards.

People would be surprised at how creative we have to be to get through the week..month and year. And I think our church is better than most!GREAT POST!

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