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Husband feels the call to pastor, wife is reluctant

The gift from Jesus of a Godly husband is one that is among the highest in all of Christendom. I was reading the 9Marks Mailbag, where people send in questions to that ministry and receive answers online. The questions are related to church polity, the main issue the ministry deals with.

In this question, a Christian man who teaches and leads many ministries in his church feels the call to be a pastor. Others have confirmed he has the gift. However the man’s wife is resistant. The man wrote to 9Marks on how to deal with a call to pastoring in your life but a reluctant wife in your home.

9Marks’ answer is passionately loving and scriptural. I hope it encourages you, if you are a wife. Jesus sent your husband to you as a shepherd and a guide and a leader. This is the example to which husbands aspire, for you good and on your behalf. Encourage your husband today.

In turn, if your husband feels the call to change your lives to fulfill a ministry to which you feel reluctant, whether it entails a move, or more selfless service, or being a missionary, etc, please examine whether your reluctance is originating from a selfish seed in the heart, or a true opposition to something where you don’t feel the pull. You’re a help-meet, which means either helping your husband adjust to his new ministry, or helping your husband be a husband by doing what the 9Marks essay advises…

Life isn’t easy. Married life is doubly hard. However with the advice in the Bible, prayer, and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, your marriage can be a shining light of vice-versa service and humility, in Jesus’ name.

wedding verse

Dear 9Marks,

I have a desire to serve as a pastor. I have been afforded opportunities to teach in my church, to preach at other churches in the area, and even participate in a internship for aspiring pastors at my church. I meet the biblical qualifications including an inward desire and an outward confirmation from some of our elders and mature men in my church.

But here’s the problem: my wife doesn’t support me in becoming an elder. She is fearful for herself of being thrust into the spotlight, so to speak, and having any attention put on her. This has become a point of contention between us and I know I must sacrifice for her and love and pray for her. I’ve tried to reassure of some of her fears, but she doesn’t believe this will be the case. Admittedly I am frustrated and angry over what I perceive to be a calling from God and her unwillingness to support me. What advice can you give me to help love her and deal with her in a godly way?


Dear Troy,

God is not calling you to be a pastor. If you don’t have your wife’s support, you are not called.

Or rather, he’s calling you to pastor your wife and only your wife. So, live with her in an understanding way. Cherish her as a weaker vessel and fellow heir. Wash her with the water of the word. Love her like you love your own body. Do not despise her. Do not nurse self-pity. Do not tell yourself that you are mature, and that she is immature, and that she is hindering you. God has purposes to work out in your life, too. Good ones! Do not tell yourself that she stands in between you and God’s big plans for you. She is God’s big plan for you. And what a remarkable plan she is, more than you deserve and better than anything you could have planned for yourself. God is good. God loves you. And he means to love you right now through the lessons and joys of pastoring her, and being loved by her. What a privilege you have!

Meanwhile, brother, share the gospel. Encourage younger people in the faith. Disciple. Pray for the church regularly. Take any teaching opportunities that she’s happy for you to take. You can pastor without being a pastor. The lack of a title is no threat to your identity. Your identity is secure in Christ. Your lack of a paycheck for being a pastor is no threat to the church. The church’s victory is certain.

One day, brother, Jesus will visibly walk into her life. You want her to recognize him because she’s spent years watching you. Your job is to get her ready for him. And he’s the one who put on the form of a servant and humbled himself to death on a cross in order to love you and her both. Will you love her like that?


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

3 thoughts on “Husband feels the call to pastor, wife is reluctant

  1. I love this response. As a pastors wife I whole heartedly encourage my husband in his calling, but it is not easy. In fact it’s hard and often cruel. The pastors wife is the most vulnerable member of the church. Her fears of being thrust into the spot light are accurate. Your life is under a microscope and the judgement is there. Men can not take that reality lightly. I love ministering with my husband but it’s our calling. Not his. If we weren’t in it together it would work. It takes everything you’ve got.


    1. Hi Lily,

      Very well said, I agree as to the vulnerability and the judgment of pastor’s wives and also the children, most of it unwarranted. It’s demanding to be a pastor’s wife, isn’t it?

      Sadly though, I see by your bio that you call yourself a Pastor, and claim to be actively ministering the Gospel alongside your husband. It seems you have stepped beyond the biblically prescribed bounds of woman as helpmeet to the unbiblical and usurping role reserved for men only, leader and pastor/overseer of a church. This is something from which you need to repent and then afterward submissively remain in the roles that God has outlined for you as a woman, which as helpmeet and mother, are glorious in themselves. Please consider these things.

      1 Timothy 2:12 is pretty clear- I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

      Further information is explained here:


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