Why a Deaconess for Ministry Wives?
I’m frequently asked the question, “Why a deaconess for pastor’s wives?” My first response is always a bit quick, “Why not?!” Why wouldn’t we want people specifically dedicated to caring for the spouses and families of those serving the church. The devil has his eye on them, so let us, as a church, embrace them and uplift them through the battle.
Beyond that, I could list reasons all day for having a deaconess to serve those in ministry, but for now I’ll give you my three primary responses.
#1 – All women could use a deaconess.
There is something about sharing your heart and your story with another woman who understands. Hearing the Word, discussing the Word, praying, and receiving encouragement with and from a fellow sister in Christ can be nothing but valuable, no matter what context we are in.
#2 – Loneliness and Isolation
Being in ministry, we know, can be a blessing in more ways than we can count. We also know, however, that it can be a lonely and isolating existence at times. Ministry spouses often struggle with finding good and deep friendships, feel outside the community, and have families that don’t live next door. In a very small survey I did of LCMS pastor’s wives from across the nation, 67% identified isolation or friendship as one of their top concerns. Ideally, in the Body we would always feel loved and accepted, but sin and personal preferences get in the way and anyone can feel discouraged and left out. For ministry wives, there are all kinds of dynamics at work in relationships and within congregations that can make it difficult to feel truly connected.
#3 – Individuality and authenticity
Being a deaconess to ministry wives means seeking to build relationships and intimacy within each person’s context and within the community of fellow ministry wives, creating safe places where wives can be transparent and share who they are with no fear. However, it is essential to recognize that each wife is an individual child of God. No one wants to be seen for only one role in his or her life, no matter how important or valuable that role is. I have the lovely benefit, as of deaconess, of meeting one on one with pastor’s wives and other wives in ministry. I love hearing their stories and sharing with them how God values them, as well as encourage them in the challenges of being authentic and true to God and who He has created them to be. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full!” This is His desire for every ministry wife also.
Grace Place stepped out and took a leap of faith to support ministry wives in a whole new way. I’m so thankful to them for caring enough to try out something new and different. It may not be enough, there may be all kinds of things that need to be done and ministries to be created, but we’ll let Him lead and support one another in this life together.
If you would like to find out more about supporting ministry wives and families, receive some encouragement or support yourself, or have any suggestions or thoughts on the topic, please check out the Grace Place website at http://www.graceplacewellness.org/ministry-to-wives/ or contact me at DeaconessHeidi@GracePlaceWellness.org.
|Commissioning Day with the Grace Place staff 🙂|