One of the toughest jobs in the church must be the role of pastor or minister’s spouse. Recently Cheryl (my spouse) completed a Bible study on her own that she felt was very helpful to her. She believes it will be helpful for other ministry spouses. If her schedule will ever allow it she would love to lead a group of area wives through this study. I decided since it was valuable enough for my wife that I would like to interview one of the authors.
Rachel Lovingood and Jennifer Landrith wrote the study called “In Our Shoes…Real Life Issues for Ministers’ Wives by Ministers’ Wives”. Recently I was able to interview Rachel to find out a little more about this study and the ministry behind it.
Here is that interview:
Ron: Rachel, tell me a little about your background. Did you grow up in church? When did you become a believer?
Rachel: Yes I was a typical good church girl who knew so much about God and even how to live like a Christian…I went on mission trips and youth camps etc., but when I was a sophomore in college one night in my dorm room I suddenly realized that although I had plenty of head knowledge about God I really didn’t have the heart knowledge I needed and so I surrendered my life to Christ and asked HIm to save me.
Ron: That’s a great story and one I am sure many share with you. Was there a time when you sensed a call to ministry, or did you just happen to marry someone in the ministry?
Rachel: I started dating my husband, Jeff, and he was called to ministry so my calling went from following God with my life to being called to marry Jeff who “happened” to be going into the ministry
Ron: What prompted you to write “In Your Shoes”?
Rachel: My pastor’s wife, Jennifer, and I have been friends a long time. She and David, her husband, grew up in the same town and church as Jeff and I did. As a matter of fact our hubby’s have been best friends since like 8th grade. As we have been serving on the same staff for the past several years, Jen and I noticed a common thread among our own staff wives as well as ones we had other opportunities to spend time with–that they are hurting, lonely, feel frustrated, feel inadequate and so on…we both looked and really didn’t find any resources that got to the heart of the matter for ministers’ wives. Although there have been a few resources out there that are good, we didn’t see any that we could use to help equip and enable the wives serving with us–so we decided to write something it and ourselves became “In Our Shoes”.
Ron: Well, it’s a great resource and helped my wife. It is obvious you have a special heart for ministry spouses. If you had one word of encouragement to say to them what would it be?
Rachel: Relax, trust that God knows you and where you are and He has you there for a reason…you are not alone!
Ron: Have you heard from any of the ministry wives who have completed or are working through the Bible study? What has the reaction been to your work?
Rachel: We have been overwhelmed and extremely humbled by the responses we have gotten…some have said “I felt like quitting and my husband walked in from a trip where he bought me your book, I sat down and the first thing I read was like God speaking to me Himself”. Hearing stories like that is the most awesome thing–to know that God really is using this work for His glory is what it’s all about–it also reinforces that there are so many hurting and struggling spouses out there in the world of ministry…
Ron: Are there any other resources for minister wives?
Rachel: We set up a blog for the book so that wives can comment and ask questions or just network about issues that relate to our lives in ministry. (You can find that blog HERE.)
Ron: Thanks so much for your time Rachel. Any closing thoughts?
Rachel: It breaks my heart when I hear of ministry couples divorcing or leaving the ministry because of marriage issues and I always wonder, “What could have been done to save this marriage or protect this ministry?” I am convinced that we will have healthier churches when we have healthier ministries and our ministries will be healthier when our marriages are healthier and our marriages will be healthier when we are healthier…so In Our Shoes is our offering to the church.
Consider buying one of these study books for your minister’s wife. I agree with Rachel. Many times the health of the minister’s family determines the health of the church and ministry.