The Unpaid Worker

The attitude of some churches concerns me. Sometimes it comes from the pastor or minister in charge and sometimes it can come from the congregation.

Years ago friends of ours, where the husband was assistant minister, were criticized severely because his wife wanted to keep working and therefore didn’t have time to do the things the church expected her to do, things like running the ladies’ bible study. Their main objection seemed to be ‘but that’s what the assistant minister or minster’s wife has always done.’

That is without doubt the weakest reason to ever keep doing it. Just because something has always been done that way or by a particular person, doesn’t say they are the only one who could or should do it. There may be someone in the congregation who is far more qualified, experienced or has the necessary skills and would relish a chance to use them.

While a wife should support her husband, or vice versa if the church employs women pastors, too often churches view the pastor’s wife as an unpaid worker at the beck and call of the church. I’ve been in several churches where this is the case.

Neither should the church expect just because the woman is not working outside the home that she will therefore be available to take on myriad roles within the church. Her skills and talents may be in relating to those outside the church in secular situations and being able to draw them into the church. She is not going to be able to do this if all her time is taken up with activities within the church dealing largely with Christians.

It may also be that she seems her family as her prime mission field and responsibility and many a mother has been responsible for praying, and for teaching and encouraging their children in the Christian life. Some have even gone on into ministry where they have impacted many more lives than she could have reached by working in the church.

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