The Example of the Ministry Wives

As a ministry wife and ministry leader of a women's ministry, I have been in several ladies conferences all over the state of California. I have seen famous ministry wives, from pastor's wives, missionary wives, music ministry wives, evangelist wives, etc. take the speaking position to tell us the principles to live by in this dark and dieing world. They're gorgeous you know, every one of them. They have the greatest outfits, sparkling jewelry, and the most amazing families. Their names shine in the spotlight and the greatest of honors is given to them when they are introduced. Sunday School teachers and pastors teach young girls to look up to their ministry wives as examples to them. This kind of mentality is teaching young ladies and the women in your churches to idolize you.

These ministry wives aren't perfect and they'll even tell you they're not, but most of them won't dare tell you what they struggle with. In their lives, although living in a glass house, they hide their sin. They hide their failures. They have stumbled over a rock and fallen down. But they won't tell a soul. They find their way up on the rock, to use it as a stepping stone, but they won't warn those coming from behind. They fail to warn you because they don't want you to know that they fell. They don't want their example to be tarnished. They feel an obligation to protect the ministry.

Soon a lady will come along and stumble over the same rock. The ministry wife knew it was there. She could have shared her testimony of God's power to overcome and it could have taught that woman how to step up on it, than to fall over it. The ministry wife refuses to allow God to use her testimony. The day will come when that ministry wife will fall so hard that she won't be able to hide it. She'll either sulk away and fall into depression, if she hasn't already, and pride will block her from doing what God wanted her to do all along. Or perhaps she will finally turn around and tell the women in her church that she fell and tell them how God is guiding her through this tough time.

Dear ministry wives, when the women in your ministries see you as a real person with real struggles, when they see it without you trying to hide it under the rug, they will finally see that you are real. My friend Serena puts it well when she said, He levels us, he makes us all equals. God puts you equal with the rest of the women, right where He wants you all, at the foot of the cross. Why try to avoid that? If you are meeting Jesus at the foot of the cross, why are you hiding it?

It's not our place to try to protect a ministry. If it's truly God's ministry then He would have the people to see the failures so He can be glorified, otherwise we take the glory for ourselves. The envy and bitterness that rises in the hearts of the people is due to a lot of things, but from what I have seen and experienced it stems from this. The women see ministry wives as perfect and when their imperfection is seen by the women, and they see it covered up, they form an opinion of you. While it's not a healthy opinion, it can be avoided if we would just be honest. I believe the yoke that many pastor's place on their wives and families is a yoke that Christ never intended for them to bear. The pastors, leaders, and their wives are not Jesus Christ. He already came to show us His ultimate example. We don't have to reinvent that example.

Jesus Christ came and chose the sinners to lead His people. He took their broken lives and showed His marvelous grace and mercy through their testimonies. He used murderers, gluttons, unlearned men, low class women, and even children to show His mighty work. It was the religious leaders that he rebuked and made to be blind.

Luke 5:32, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

If your sin is one that causes you to be 'disqualified' to be a leader, then graciously step down. Why continue to take on that kind of battle on your own and continue to try to live up to what you think the people need to see? What they need to see is that it's perfectly acceptable to take a step down and get a break. Taking a break is not quitting! It's resting and we were told to rest in Christ. Even He took times to rest.

After many years in a ministry, hiding failures under your living room rugs, how can you possibly live a real authentic life with your fellow believers? You might think that no one knows, but they see right through you. The women in your churches love you and wanted to help support you in tough times in your life. It's the gossip right? Ministry wives and their leaders are afraid of the gossip. I know what this feels like. If you were transparent with what God is doing in your life, they would have no where to go but to God and they would glorify and magnify Him.

When a ministry wife humbles herself at the foot of the cross, we all realize we are level at the place where God has called all of us. When the women see you seeking Christ in your despair, they will rally alongside you and encourage you as they see your face turn to His. Sure maybe a few critics might not, but what does that matter when we're all beholding the face of Christ together? Think for a moment. The fear of someone looking down on you because you've sinned. That's how we all feel. Yet the women in the churches are told by their leaders to go to the cross, yet their very own ministry wives won't do the same thing. You wonder why many women in the churches won't go to the cross and truly repent? Because their ministry wife examples won't do it either.

The lie from the enemy to "Be an Example" is highly over rated. The Bible says to be an example OF the believers, not TO the believers. When we are an example OF the believers, we will be a transparent people, seeking the cross at level ground. What kind of example are you trying to be? An example of perfection or of humility?

I have been at the place where God leveled me. Many times, but as a ministry leader I came to the place where the devil met me with his offer. I could accept his offer of pride and the power to cover up what God had revealed to me, or I could humble myself in Christ and the women I minister to. I chose to be humbled. I arranged a meeting with the women and I confessed my failures to them. I confessed those things I had done wrong. God used it and He has been glorified. The women freely forgave me and embraced me as I sat there in their presence. We were all level at the foot of the cross that day and that's where we've been together ever since.

God unified our relationships to Him and to one another. Our ministry became stronger through that time and it continues to grow.

"Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for my fellow ministry wives all over the world. Allow us and our husbands to see where that level ground is. Break the pride the enemy has been offering us to hide our testimonies. Help us and empower us to allow ourselves to show the world the testimonies you are giving us. What a gift to receive, a testimony for Christ. May we not hide it, God grant us the ability to set it on a hill.
In Christ's Precious Name, Amen."

Sisterlisa is a homeschooling mom of four children and married to a ministry leader of a Rescue mission. She is the owner of Growing in Grace Magazine and AGMinistries.

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{ Serena Woods } at: September 22, 2009 at 6:29 PM said...

I love to hear about people trying their hand at transparency because it always leads to freedom! And as others witness the transformation they're inspired to find freedom, too. Jesus came to pay our ransom and set us free. Let Him!

Great post, Lisa.


{ Bianca } at: September 23, 2009 at 7:22 PM said...

There is nothing more refreshing than those honest with other while being honest about themselves.

{ Teri Lynne } at: September 24, 2009 at 7:16 AM said...

Loved this ... as a ministry wife myself I have learned that, as Beth Moore says so beautifully, "People aren't concerned about why you fell, they are watching what you do when you fall!" Great truth in that ... such a desperate need for discerning authenticity among believers - leaders and nonleaders alike.

{ Pure Perseverance } at: September 24, 2009 at 5:15 PM said...

You have just ministered to my soul! Thank you!

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