Editor’s note: The North American Mission Board has introduced an online equipping community for ministers’ wives named www.Flourish.me. Kathy Ferguson Litton, as a national consultant for NAMB’s ministry to pastors’ wives, leads Flourish with a team of ministry wives from across North America who understand the unique role in which these women serve.
Recently, I had to take a taxi to catch an early morning flight. At the ridiculous hour of 4:15 a.m., the driver was unfortunately quite chatty. After discovering I lead a ministry to pastors’ wives, he asked me, with a fair amount of curiosity and skepticism, “Why do pastors’ wives need ministry?”
He had little contact with church culture so I found myself awkwardly grappling for an appropriate reply. It was sort of painful. Finally, he helped me out. “I get cabbies,” he said. Thank you, driver, you summed it up for me.
Ministry wives need someone who understands them, somebody who “gets it.” Ministry life is not a burdened life with which we are dismally saddled. Yet we operate in a unique culture – one you almost have to live in to really understand.
Last summer, under the leadership of Kevin Ezell, the North American Mission Board’s president, NAMB launched a ministry to pastors’ wives. Flourish is an online equipping community created for ministry wives. It has been developed and led by a team of ministry wives who live and understand the unique role of this calling.
We get it.
We understand when asked in the most basic social exchange, “What does your husband do?” that our response may just kill that conversation. The “day of rest” Sundays with multiple services, or chairs we must set up and then restack – we get it. Like few others, we are inextricably woven into our husband’s job. We understand that a mystical template for “the perfect pastor’s wife” is floating out there, and we are pretty sure we are not her.
“Flourish” is a word carefully chosen to represent what we hope is a passion in wives’ hearts. A passion to desire to “grow well, to thrive.” Additionally, it means for us to “reach the height of development or influence.” The Flourish team wants ministry wives to flourish spiritually, emotionally and physically.
We all can flourish wherever we are on the journey. The roads that we took to become ministry wives are as diverse as our hair colors. God chose flawed and thoroughly human women with no superpowers. God will use our unique stories for the sake of the gospel, whether we are new believers, from a strong faith heritage, or marked by a broken, painful past, or if the church culture is strange and unfamiliar. Despite what you may think, few of us have four-year degrees from Pastor’s Wife University.
This industry we are called to beside our husbands is a sacred, eternal industry. We are partners in advancing the gospel. We have tremendous influence on our husband’s effectiveness in his role, whether we love that thought or not. Our need to flourish is not for him, nor is it for us. We need to flourish for the sake of the gospel. Here is an important fact we cannot lose sight of: Like Paul, our lives are “separated to the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1). It’s about advancing the gospel.
Ministry wives need a place to connect with other ministry wives for support, encouragement and resources. They can now engage with women who walk the same path at www.flourish.me.
– Litton is the national consultant for the North American Mission Board’s ministry to pastors’ wives. Visit the online Flourish community at www.flourish.me.