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December 10, 2016

Relating to Staff as a Wife on Staff

By Cathie Heard

Last post I talked about four things to keep in mind when you, as a wife, join the ministry team. In short,

  • It’s not unrealistic and it can be a blessing for you and your husband,
  • But it does represent a new strain that has to be carefully managed,
  • Adding stress at home is not a gain for the Gospel, and
  • Planning ways to manage the awkwardness of your husband being your boss.

Relating to staff as a wife on staff

In my context the number of staff at our church has grown and I now work some hours each week alongside other members of staff, other than Andrew, as a fellow staff worker. I’m unpaid but, for all intents and purposes, I’m on a similar footing. Doing so has thrown up a whole other set of relationships to deal with.

Relate as sister and brother, Paul says to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:1-2. I’ve found it a helpful one for thinking about how to relate together as I work in common areas in the ministry. There’s often a high sense of unity and the camaraderie that comes when you’re fellow workers in the Gospel, experiencing joy together when there’s growth and conversion, as well as the lows when people fall, or suffer, or the work feels overwhelming. I think it helps to avoid any sexual awkwardness if you keep regarding each other as brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers together. In fact, I’m now old enough now to be everyone’s mother…(great).

One benefit that has come as staff numbers increase and I’ve continued to serve on staff is there’s now more opportunity to discuss ministry issues in  forums away from my husband. I now have more bosses – being involved in a few ministry teams – and so I can discuss issues with them, ones that Andrew used to hear from me all that time! But care needs to be taken with this new set of relationships. I need to treat my bosses, or ministry leaders, with great respect. Especially when I remember that I’m potentially a powerful figure serving under that leader, and that can be intimidating.

Another interesting quirk I’ve noticed is that there can be many unguarded moments in a service. In the fun and in the fray, things get said that maybe would be unhelpful to report to my husband. I’ve decided it’s a helpful principle that what gets said in a meeting, stays in a meeting. Never be the one to malign someone so they may lose their job. There are other processes that people can be guided toward if issues are serious enough without me weighing in.

Being the minister’s wife in a ministry team is full of complexities – but also such opportunities! Remember above all, how amazing it is to be involved in a work that we know will last forever! (1 Cor 15:58).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cathie Heard

Cathie Heard is the wife of Andrew and the other half of a church planting couple that planted EV Church on the Central Coast of Australia 18 years ago. She is an accomplished speaker, particularly in the area of women's ministry and how wives can assist and carry out the Great Commission.

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