Wives of pastors and other church staff members live under the watchful eye of their congregations.
“God has called us,” said Tabatha Frost, one the speakers at “Refresh: A Day to Equip and Encourage Ministry Wives,” held at Old Town Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.
BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
An event hosted by Embrace Women’s Ministry of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina offered wives of ministers a place to share successes and failures of ministry. Here, ladies share on one of the discussion topics provided.
Frost and Beth Harris – both pastors’ wives – addressed approximately 40 women at the March 5 event.
“He has chosen us for a purpose,” she said. “He is going to equip us … He alone sustains us.”
Frost, whose husband serves as senior pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, spoke from 1 Corinthians 1-4, encouraging hearers to follow the godly examples set by Paul, Apollos and the Corinthian believers.
“One of our primary roles in ministry is to minister to the men we are married to,” she stressed, but all women should pray for, respect and encourage their husbands.
Frost discouraged making comparisons to others and urged the women to be aware of expectations.
“I think it’s a big struggle,” she said. “We can look at ourselves and feel like we don’t measure up.”
She shared several slides from the fashionably dressed to the frugal mom blogger or famous Bible teacher.
“Comparisons will rob you of your joy,” Frost said. “We are all works in progress. There’s never an appropriate time for you to judge.”
She encouraged the women to focus on the purpose God has for them and to spend time in God’s Word.
“If you have God’s Word in your heart, then you don’t have to depend on your creativity or your cleverness. His Word is an anchor for your soul.”
Harris, wife of the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Charlotte, highlighted the church as a non-profit institution that serves as the light to the community. She listed the main job of the church is to be the body and fullness of Jesus, exhibit the glory of God, execute the Great Commission and be a picture of love and unity.
Part of her church’s mission statement talks about living a life that matters. While Harris does not participate in the worship ministry, she stays involved in three (grow, serve and connect) of the four core areas of her church.
“An organized church is not inconsistent with the New Testament,” she said.
BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Cindy Johnson, director of contemporary worship and discipleship at Old Town Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, leads worship at the event.
As wives of ministers, Harris said there are always going to be times where the women would have to do things they didn’t want to do.
“You can find opportunity in the obligation … to fulfill what the Lord has called you to do,” Harris said. “You are in a position they view as important.”
In many places in the community, just by walking into a room, a pastor and his wife take on the role of moral authority. “People are aware of that,” Harris said. “In today’s times, that is really powerful … look at the opportunities in it.”
Women need to fight for their families, she said.
“You are in a battlefield today,” Harris said. “You have to show great courage in the face of all your obligations … in the face of danger.”
Harris urged the women to make time, not just for physical intimacy, but for saying “I love you,” romance and one-on-one conversation.
“Don’t fall into the trap of neglecting that part of life,” she said.
She talked about three specific threats to their husband and his ministry that only happen five percent of the time: the wicked, heretic and immoral woman.
All three have the potential for “utter destruction,” Harris said.
She described the wicked as generally being a male. This person listens to lies and spreads them.
While this person is lost and confused, “your weapon is prayer,” she stressed.
The heretic, who is also usually male, will twist the gospel and usually preys on the weak, young believer to draw them to a perverted belief.
The immoral woman is generally unstable, wears flattering attire and neglects her own family. Harris described her as “bold and crafty.”
“The enemy is not the person,” Harris said, but Satan. “He tries to use good people and sweet people to stir up stuff.”
In a panel conversation with both Frost and Harris, Ashley Allen moderated questions and answers. Allen, Baptist State Convention’s Embrace Women’s Ministry consultant, asked about how to know when a pastor’s wife is doing enough, making friends outside of the ministry, having personal quiet times, and other issues.
“You’re doing enough if you’re taking care of your family first,” Harris said. “If you can’t do anything else but that, do that, and that’s enough.”
Frost and Harris both said they’ve tried to include their children in the ministry over the years. “A lot of the kids’ feeling about the church have a lot to do with our attitude about the church,” Frost said.
She encouraged the women to take their concerns over anything to the Lord first because many times those concerns are unrealistic expectations that have not been communicated to her husband.
God sometimes shows her a different perspective she had not considered.
Frost called spending time in God’s Word a “passion of mine,” and urged the women to have a specific time of day set aside for quiet time. That time varies depending on the stage of life you are in, she said.
“Those of you who work you have to be really creative,” Frost said. “If that hunger is there then you can find the time.”
Discipling women remains important as well. Harris mentioned some of the Embrace training that encourages one-on-one discipleship.
Embrace offers training events throughout the year, along with an annual mission trip and breakout sessions at some of the major BSC events. Visit embracenc.org to learn more.