Seminary graduation day is filled with anticipation of bright futures full of fresh ideas and excitement to apply all their knowledge to new ministries. The farthest thoughts from the students’ minds are the casualties lurking around the corner. More often than not, there is pain behind the pulpit – pain from personal depression, a lonely wife, church conflict, unrealistic expectations, unresolved conflicts from the previous leader, a strained marriage, a rebellious child, and the daily fight against burnout.
One third of pastors’ families leave churches due to conflicts with the congregation. The average tenure of clergy is 2.3 years. According to one denomination alone, 100 ministers are forced out of ministry each month. 76% of spouses feel lonely or out of place in their congregations. These statistics drove Jane Rubietta to write the book How to Keep the Pastor You Love, and to minister to pastors and their families around the country.
For the past 50 years our very own Jill Briscoe, Executive Editor of Just Between Us, and her husband Stuart have been deeply concerned about the unmet, unspoken needs of ministry leaders around the world. They travel the world supporting, encouraging and equipping pastors, missionaries, and their families.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, …Appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work…
A pastor’s wife has unique needs. Obviously her husband has a calling, but what is hers? What if the church expects her to play the piano and she doesn’t even know where middle C is? How can she get involved when she is home raising the children while her husband is with the people all day and most evenings? Is this teamwork? How does she answer honestly when someone asks, “How are you?” It’s easier (and more spiritual?) to say “Just fine, praise the Lord!” than to admit she’s dying inside.
If you are that wife, please know JBU was started for women like you 25 years ago. We are standing alongside you, and have heard you and the thousands in your boat. Our articles are written with you in mind. Sometimes we listen in confidence, then write an article on that topic, because we know for every one person who shares, there are double the women who struggle silently. We have been told many times that JBU is “my only friend”– from women in both urban settings and isolated Third World countries.
We listen, we encourage, we pray for you. Please browse our articles and contact us if you need support or have ideas.