Six Ways to Help Your Husband Be a Better Pastor
When your husband surrendered to ministry, he surrendered his whole life.
And when you joined your life with his, your whole life was surrendered too.
It’s a calling that’s incredibly heavy, even unbearable sometimes, but God gave him a helpmate when he gave him you.
So are you helping him?
In years past, I’ve accidentally hurt my husband’s ministry more times than I can count.
And from those mistakes, I’ve learned how to help him to be a better pastor.
Although God is good all the time, life is better when your pastor husband is happy and fulfilled in his job and calling.
Here are five ways to help your husband be a better pastor.
1. Pray for him
This should go without saying, but pray for your husband.
Every time you think of him, say a little prayer.
He’s doing an incredibly hard job.
In fact, not only is it difficult here on earth, those who teach others about the Bible will be judged more harshly in the afterlife too.
“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1
So pray for your husband constantly.
2. Be on his side
Be on your husband’s side all. the. time.
Let me say that again – be on your husband’s side ALL THE TIME.
If he comes home complaining about a meeting, listen and agree.
You don’t have to lie, but you can say things like, “Man. That must have been terrible to have everyone disagree with your idea. I hate that happened!”
Be his best friend.
Let him know that venting to you is safe and that you’re always on his side.
Everyone needs that.
Everyone needs a person that they can tell all the negative things to and have them just listen and agree.
You need to be that for your husband.
He does not need an argumentative optimist.
If he wants to plant a community garden, and everyone vetoes it, he doesn’t need to hear that maybe it wasn’t God’s will to have a garden right now or that you know the committee is probably right because the church is located in a flood zone.
He knows those things.
The committee already told him that.
He needs you to tell him how you can’t believe that the Building and Grounds Committee hates plants.
Chances are, in the morning, he’ll be completely calm and see the logic in their decision.
But for that moment, he just needs you to be on his side.
3. Recondition him
If you’re not familiar with Pavlovian (Classical) Conditioning, you should totally read about it because it’s fascinating.
Basically, you take two unrelated stimuli and condition a person to relate them.
And yes, I hear how crazy that sounds.
Your husband isn’t a dog that you’re trying to get to salivate to the sound of a bell.
But what about this?
Your husband hates doing funerals.
They’re sad and draining and difficult, but they’re part of the job.
He has to do them.
For days, he dreads it.
He knows that he has to love people fully in their time of grief and he knows how emotionally taxing that is. He loves doing all of the work God has called him to, but funerals are hard for him because he is so empathetic.
Your husband loves Papa Johns pizza.
So what if every time he had to do a funeral, you got Papa Johns pizza for him?
No, that doesn’t make the funeral any less sad or draining or difficult, but it does give him a good thing to look forward to.
And little by little, he’ll begin to associate the bad thing (funeral) with the good thing (Papa Johns pizza) until he no longer dreads funerals.
Funerals will still be difficult for him because funerals are difficult for everyone.
But he will have a good thing to look forward to at the end of every funeral and psychologically that will make the funerals easier for him.
4. Be a problem solver
God called you to be your husband’s mate.
That means that you are called to help him minister.
Whatever that looks like.
And it will look different in different seasons of life.
In my experience, every time I’ve gotten comfortable with an aspect of ministry, God has called me to a new area of ministry that’s totally outside my comfort zone.
So if there is a thing at church that is causing your husband stress, help him figure out a solution.
Clear the calendar, put the kids to bed early, pray, and sit down with him to brainstorm.
Let him talk through it with you.
99% of the time when my husband and I do this, he figures out the solution on his own.
He just needs to have someone to listen without judgment and with an open mind.
Simply having the time and space to talk and think clears his mind, and he’s able to find the solution to the problem.
5. Help him grow
Help him develop his strengths and weaknesses.
He can’t be good at everything, but he still has to do everything.
For example, one of my husband’s strengths is preaching.
He has the ability to take great Biblical truths and break them down where everyone can understand them.
He gets compliments on his sermons every week.
People love listening to him preach, and he loves preaching.
But it takes him about sixteen hours per week to write these awesome sermons.
So we’ve gotten books and tools to help him do it faster.
And while he is awesome at preaching he is not awesome at being organized.
In his first ministry positions, his lack of organization really held him and the ministry there back.
He often laments that he was not better organized back then and wonders how the Kingdom work might have gone better if he was as organized then as he is now.
It has taken him several years to get here.
He’s got stuff scheduled into his phone with reminders, he’s made a huge whiteboard calendar for his office, and we have another calendar for home.
That’s not the secret to his improved organization.
At our current church, he has an awesome support staff that helps to keep him on track. (They aren’t the secret either.)
They’ll text him reminders about times to be at places and sometimes they tell me too so I can help to remind him. People will tell him when something is happening and politely say, “Would it help you put that on your calendar if I text you the information?”
Now from everything I’ve said, it may sound like he’s just depending on other people, but that’s how the church is supposed to work. We help to bear each other’s burdens.
He’s been honest with his staff and the church about his weakness and they help him to grow, but it started with him being honest with himself about growth areas and asking me to help him.
I do my best to support him in both his strengths and weaknesses.
Because he doesn’t have the option to say, “I’m not good at budgeting stuff, so I’m just going to let somebody else handle that.”
He instead says, “I’m not good at that, so I need to figure out a way to improve and how I can let other people help me improve.”
6. Help Him to Rest
Shepherding God’s people is a full-time all-consuming job (even if his title is part-time or bi-vocational).
Lots of pastors give and go until they completely burn out.
And by “completely burn out,” I mean they quit ministry all together.
You don’t want that for your husband, so set up times for him to rest and recharge. Make yourself the keeper of his rest.
My husband loves nature so planning a day for him to go hiking alone is a great way for him to recharge.
Your husband may not be an outdoorsy person so he may need a night away at a local hotel or a day to sit at a coffee shop and read.
We’ve even had generous people in our church offer for us to stay at their cabin on the lake or their cabin in the woods or borrow their camper or use their reward points for hotel rooms.
God will provide a way for your husband to get the rest he needs and sometimes it’s as simple as talking to people about your needs.
In conclusion, supporting your husband in his ministry is not an easy job, but it is your job and you have been gifted to do it well.
By implementing these six tips, you can help your husband be a better pastor.
What ways have you found to help your husband be a better pastor? Tell us in the comments!