Weird question, right? Yet it’s a reality that some Christian women actually do get asked this question. In my case, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a 20-something year old, or because I’m a 20-something year old working in the ministry, or both, but a number of people actually do ask me this question.
If I were to be honest, my 2015 self would have answered with a loud, resounding, “YES!!!!” (I had such a narrow view of this then.) But after working for more than a year in the ministry, I would have to say otherwise. Here are two reasons why.
First, marriages aren’t made even more special if one, or both spouses, work for the ministry.
It’s actually the opposite—it is the ministry that makes the marriage special in itself. It is the ministry of marriage that makes it sacred and worth staying in. Being a pastor’s wife doesn’t automatically constitute as an upgrade, as compared to being a housewife or a wife working in the corporate world. To do that would be tantamount to comparing apples to oranges. Moreover, I have witnessed many thriving, purposeful, missional, and successful marriages where one or both spouses did not work for the ministry.
Second (and more importantly) you don’t need to work for the ministry to have a ministry.
While I do understand that working for the ministry is a different calling, and it entails giving up certain things, the call to work outside the ministry is just as important and sacrificial. It means giving up certain certain practices that don’t bring honor to God. It means turning down certain under the table deals. It means not engaging in office gossip. It means standing your ground when the world tells you otherwise.
Think about it. The stories that pastors share about on Sundays aren’t so much about how other pastors being awesome Christians (even if they are). They tell stories of people who work outside the ministry who are fulfilling their calling as Christian workers out there. The reason behind this is simply this truth that,
Wherever you are in life, the calling to minister is the same for all Christians.
Whether you’re working for the ministry or not. Whether you’re a pastor or a business man. We are all called to be salt and light to this world. If you’re called to work for the ministry and help the church fulfill that, great. If you’re working outside the ministry and are still fulfilling that, great. In fact, I would even say that those working outside the ministry might even be at an advantage, if only because they are more exposed to those who need to hear the Gospel.
If there’s one thing that a lot of us (myself included) get wrong at times, it is the thinking that there is a big, dividing line between what we treat as sacred and secular. I like how Rachel Ong, a Christian and the CEO of Rohei corporation, put it, “How we honor God from Monday to Friday is in the workplace.” Work is actually our sacred worship to God from Mondays to Fridays.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus commanded the disciples to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. The command still stands thousands of years later, and the calling’s never changed for any of His followers. This makes every member of His body a minister. And what is our ministry? It is none other than the ministry of reconciliation; of bringing back a broken world and people to the One who can make them whole again.
To end, let me answer this question.
Can I see myself as a pastor’s wife? No, if only because none have asked me yet. But what I can see myself being one day is a minister’s wife.
Someone who understands what ministry is. Someone who knows that it goes beyond the church aisles on Sundays. Someone who knows that ministry can infiltrate into the very dining tables and office desks that he occupies. Who lives out each aspect of his life as if it was, and because it is, a ministry that God has given to him.