Unrealistic Expectations of a Youth Ministry Spouse

Saw this post today from Benjermcveigh.com and thought it would be good to share a bit of this story with you.  I hope it resonates with you and your ministry:

Assuming and expecting that a youth pastor’s spouse will always serve in youth ministry is just one of the many ways to burn out a pastor’s spouse. It may be the case that a youth ministry spouse will want to be a full-fledged leader in her spouses ministry, but it shouldn’t be an expectation. Unspoken and unrealistic expectations of a youth pastor’s spouse will not only harm the marriage, but it will also decrease the likelihood that the youth pastor will want to stay in that church for the long haul. Here are a few common and unrealistic expectations of a youth pastor’s spouse:

He Goes on to list three unhealthy expectations of being a spouse of a youth pastor:

Expect that the spouse will be the most dedicated volunteer in ministry

Expect that the spouse will serve regularly on Sunday Mornings in Kids Ministry.

Expect that the spouse knows everything about what is going on in the youth ministry.

You can read all that Benjer has to say in his blog.

My Perspective:

1. Appreciate her for who she is.  Befriend her because you want to.

Befriend the pastor’s wife to be her friend.  Not to gain leverage on internal workings of church politics (you know who you are, and every church has those “friends”).  Engage her in conversation you would engage everyone else about.  Don’t expect her to be a holy roller or put her up on some high pedestal or tower like Rapunsel.  Ministry is lonely enough as it is.  But genuine warmth and caring do go a long way.

2. My wife needs to serve where she’s gifted.

My wife has several talents and skills and gifts.  Each of which I am glad she has and they all compliment who I am.  She is an RN who works in a hospital.  Not everyone can do this, and she’s quite good at it.  (I’m gonna brag on her that she got awarded employee of the month on her floor.)  I had a pastor suggest that she join me in ministry more and do something that wouldn’t keep her away from church.  like be a school nurse.  That would have been an insult to her career and her expertise.  Some people are called to be a school nurse.  Many school nurses are pediatric nurses who have retired from being a FT nurse on a peds floor in a hospital.  I think it’s insulting to make her serve where she doesn’t have a gifting just to satisfy a churches need to pay one person to work and get two servants in the deal. If you want both, pay for both to be heavily involved in ministry.  There are couples out there who want that.

3. We serve together in other ministries that compliment both our giftings.

My wife and I both get joy out of cooking.  We love making meals for others who are in need and we both practice our gifts of mercy in this capacity.  Serving outside of ministry for both of us extends ourself further into the community of the church.  A major problem of youth pastors is that they get put into a silo and stuck there.  Much like being locked in a tower, unable to get out and be with others in ministry, it makes youth ministry more of a chore.  It turns everyone else into a tool for youth ministry service rather than a gift that should be engaged and nurtured so their potential for ministry (whether in ymin or not) can be fully developed.)

 


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