A Happy Minister's Wife

A Happy Minister's Wife *

This talk was given to the ministerial wives in training at Columbia Union College and is shared with the field in the hope that other college groups will reciprocate and let us hear from them.

* This talk was given to the ministerial wives in training at Columbia Union College and is shared with the field in the hope that other college groups will reciprocate and let us hear from them.

I HAVE been invited to address you young women on the work of the minister's wife. I can assure you that I have already experienced the satisfactions of my husband's carefully cho­sen calling. The work of the minister pays won­derful dividends. Not so long ago I served as president of the group I am now addressing. This reminds you that all too soon you will be where I am—delightfully busy in some church. Now, let's talk it over.

Let us begin with the fact that God has given us each our own personalities. Also that we have different backgrounds, which may account for some special gifts or talents we have de­veloped. Other gifts are natural, as we say. ft is also a fact that some ministerial couples are called to serve small churches while others have the responsibility of a large congregation, and we know that God definitely guides in this. My husband and I are well agreed that He did in our case.

Perhaps more than in any other profession, success in the ministry demands close coopera­tion between husband and wife; the two form a team. Needless to say, your words and ac­tions will be closely observed; your relation­ship to each other will be especially watched. The ministerial family on earth should be a demonstration of what heaven will be like. You are each other's "press secretaries," to use a public-relations term. Be aware that all mar­ried people will occasionally disagree, and your husband's ordination to the ministry did not make either one of you a saint. Your differ­ences and your upset emotions should never be voiced or demonstrated to the public, or more specifically, to our church members. To fail on this point impairs the usefulness of both of you in the work of God. You should await a con­venient season when you are alone to handle the problems between yourselves. Emotional maturity suggests self-control, an indispensable need in the minister's home.

Developing Confidence

It is helpful for the minister's wife to believe that the church loves her. Rationalizing on this primary premise would lead to unwholesome timidity and deter spontaneous, joyful service for God. Remember, young women, that your usefulness will be largely determined by your ability to love people, and love begets love. Of course, there are conservative and reserved members in any church, but you hold the key to making it a responsive and happy church.

May I ask for your understanding when I say that I consider myself the church hostess of the flock my husband shepherds. It is in this role that I can best feel the pulse of the church. Here I serve to advantage in discovering pos­sible problems, often preventing them so that my husband can concentrate on his sermon or on the task in hand. Together my husband and I have discovered this a valuable service in evangelism. A warm smile and a handshake are good medicine for many of this world's ills.

I can more successfully fulfill the duties of a church hostess now since I am not tied down with little children. My girls are old enough to take care of themselves at church. However, where younger children in the ministerial home need the mother's attention during Sabbath school, the Bible instructor or a friendly sister in the church could serve. The point I would stress for you who are now in training to be ministers' wives is that you should become skilled in the duties of a hostess. Where this ability is well controlled by the Holy Spirit the capable wife will materially enrich her hus­band's ministry.

Hostess Sabbath Service

My husband and I believe that the Sabbath day is the opportunity to render a larger service to the church and to the community. We con­sider ourselves servants of God's people to bring refreshing comfort and instruction to them. As a pastoral team we plan to make the Sabbath profitable for our members and those who visit the church. One hundred attending the church service and listening to the sermon may be as effective as the giving of one hun­dred Bible studies. Because of the multiplicity of our ministerial duties, we try not to be too hurried after the church service. The sermon may have provided more illumination on some doctrinal truth. Again, it may have been the in­centive for seeking the pastor's special counsel on some perplexing home problem.

The ministerial couple and the children in their home may reflect the warmth of Christian interest that eases many bumps along life's pathway. Friendliness and harmony make for happy churches, and happiness is infectious. The secret is to love people, and when we do we will love our church members enough to share their problem. Help will come to them because we care.

Other Helpful Pointers

The dutiful wife will continue to encourage her ministerial husband to prepare well his weekly sermons. She is his best-loved critic. But keep yourself informed so that he will find con­structive help in your companionable partner­ship.

Be persistent in cultivating a cheerful dis­position. Radiating sunshine has greater charm than beauty and mental accomplishment.

Learn to be friendly without being confi­dential. Remember that impartiality demands respect. Maintain dignity without aloofness, and by all means cultivate sincerity.

I would leave with you my personal testi­mony as a minister's wife. I am superlatively happy in this service for the Master. Truly, being a pastor's wife is a delightful way of life.

Every day is an adventure in bringing love, light, and peace to those to whom we minister. Young women, I can say from the heart, for you there is great joy ahead, but do prepare heart and mind for efficient, unstinted service for God and His children.

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August 1961

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