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Pastors' Wives Retreat

Pastors' Wives Resource site provided by the Sunday School Discipleship Ministries International, a ministry of the Church of the Nazarene. We want to hear about your experiences, the lessons you’ve learned and how God’s Word and prayer supported and sustained you in the joys and challenges of parsonage life.

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I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. Ps 63:2

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We want to hear about your experiences, the lessons you’ve learned and how God’s Word and prayer supported and sustained you in the joys and challenges of parsonage life.

All submissions will be reviewed before they are posted.

Suggestions for Ministers and Their Families PDF Print E-mail
Written by Derl Keefer   

According to Dr. Don Lichi, research suggests growing up in a minister’s home has both risks and rewards. His list of rewards includes well-developed social skills, opportunities for interaction with spiritual leaders, and resiliency. On the flip side, the negatives include children overly scrutinized and often held to higher standards than other children. This often leads to undue stress, rebellion, and rejection of the church, religion, and parents.

Reflecting on my own journey with my wife of 40 years, two children (now grown), and four congregations, I recognize there were mistakes but there were also successes. I’ve learned with God’s help, wise and godly counsel, learning from (and laughing at) our mistakes, and just doing the best we can goes a long way toward making those years rewarding. Here are some insights from my journey:

  • Make God and your family your highest priorities. Your first calling is to God, your spouse, and you children. Your family needs to know they are priorities in your life. This is NOT an option. 
  • Materialism dominates the secular world. Survival usually dominates the clergy world! “The fact is (that) many pastors . . . have earned the academic equivalent of PhD or MD . . . but earn per hour what a crew chief makes at McDonald’s.” Tough economic times can cause stress. Take the challenge of finding creative ways to flourish on small salary. Learn ways to stretch the earned dollar through classes, workshops, and seminars offered by financial experts, local colleges, and banking institutions. 
  • Model godly authority. In an age that promotes doing our own thing, we need to model submissiveness to the will of God. God rejoices in our commitment and surrendered lives. The structure of authority under God is a safety net for God’s people, including pastors and their families. 
  • Even God took a day off from His labor of creation. However, too many clergy work 60-80 hours per week. Is it any wonder the pastor’s average tenure for the Church of the Nazarene is 53 months? Set an example for your children and laity: rest and relax. Take a Sabbath (obviously not Sunday with services, preaching, leading, teaching, etc.) of rest, refreshment, renewal, and recreation! It is a gift from God.
  • Model a forgiving spirit. Rare is the pastor who has not been criticized privately and even publically. When we choose to respond appropriately, our response can be a model for our children and the world of how the true Christian spirit is exemplified.

In his book, Tale of a Tardy Oxcart, Charles Swindoll remembers the words of Sonny Jurgensen, quarterback for the Washington Redskins. Jurgensen was being attacked by sportswriters and fans because the team was in a deep slump. When a sportswriter asked him if all the criticism was getting to him, Jurgensen flashed a big toothless grin and replied, “Naw, not me. I’ve been in this game long enough to know that every week the quarterback is either in the penthouse or the outhouse.” Swindoll advised: “That can apply to ministry, too.”

  • Model love, honor, and respect for your spouse. Let your spouse (and others) know she or he is your number one love! There are for too many who have lost family and church because of infidelity. Hold hands, kiss, speak well of, and affirm your spouse before your children and the church.
  • Model servanthood before your children by giving of your time, talent, and resources. Let them see you serve others in humility, sacrifice, and joy. Help out at a soup kitchen, volunteer at a Fair Trade store, serve on a community or school board, join a service club, participate in a work and witness trip, or any other number of ways that lets them know that service is part of the Christian walk.
  • Take the time to build and nurture close, lasting relationships. Everyone needs godly friends who can nurture, comfort, and counsel. Jesus called to himself a group of twelve friends (the apostles) and an inner circle of three (Peter, James, and John). 
  • Let God be God. Now I know that there are times when we are not happy because of circumstances. Remember that God is our friend and He wants the very best for us. Sometimes that takes us through the fire, but He will be with us to sustain us as our best friend. So communicate with Him and tell Him your feelings…it’s ok…He already knows them. Let God be the God of your life!

Derl Keefer is Prime Time Ministries general coordinator for the Church of the Nazarene at the Global Ministry Center. Before coming to the Global Ministry Center, Keefer pastored for more than thirty years. He and his wife, Karen, live in Lenexa, Kansas.

A note to Pastors' husbands –  

We welcome pastors’ husbands to visit this page and to provide insights into the needs and challenges you face. Let us know how we can minister to you and assist as you fulfill your supportive roles. Send your comments and suggestions to us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Until then, we welcome you to join the discussions and provide resources on this site...Read More

Prayer support –

Each weekday, Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International (SDMI) meet for prayer. All requests will be presented to the staff, except those identified as confidential. We’ll pray for you, asking God to work and to extend grace and mercy...Read More

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