Struggling to stay connected, technology challenges, unprecedented church closings… These are just a few of the realities for this season of ministry we are navigating. As the spouse of a minister, I have had a front-row view of the roller coaster days of ministering during a pandemic. Our church members run the gamut from believing we are all over-reacting to being genuinely fearful of leaving their homes. How do we support a ministry spouse who is trying to keep a congregation together when we are forced to stay apart?
1. Be a refuge from the criticism while providing encouragement. This may have been a season where opinions from all over the above-mentioned spectrum have been shared freely from well-intended church members. Listen to your spouse, pray together about necessary leadership decisions, and provide that safe place where your spouse can share raw feelings.
2. Keep your spouse grounded. A kite soars because of the constant tension between the wind blowing against it and the person on the ground holding the string. You are the person holding the string for your ministry spouse! When your feet are firmly on the ground, your ministry spouse will be able to face any wind of opposition and fly high. Be the solid and grounded support who is constant in prayer and always willing to provide some much-needed perspective.
3. Understand your spouse’s temperament and specific ministry role. During this season, creative thinkers and problem solvers are probably thriving. But an ordered and meticulous worker may be struggling. Effective speakers who draw energy from an audience are probably having a hard time right now. For pastor-shepherds, it’s a coin toss. On one hand, they may love the opportunity to minister to real-world needs. Or, they may struggle at the difficulties of one-on-one interaction. Second-chair leaders may also be struggling if they think the church is moving faster or slower than they would like. If your spouse is the technical one on staff carrying the load, he may feel stretched thin and weary. Those ministering to preschool and children may wonder when they’ll ever see children again!
No matter your ministry spouse’s position, temperament, or unique situation, God has equipped you to be an encouragement to your spouse. And remember that when you “bear one another’s burdens,” you “fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
Trish Jackson - Missions Lifestyle Strategist for Preschool, Children & Students