Since Jude has come into our lives, Kaitlyn and I made the decision to bring her home from work to invest her life and energy in our home. Over the past five months, I have not yet once regreted that decision. Sure the budget is a little tighter, but the benefits of her staying home far out weigh any economic loss. The past few months have been a tough season for us. Not only have we had a precious little newborn baby in our house, but I've stepped into the roll of interim senior pastor at my church. In addition I had a full load at seminary with 12 hours of classes. With the increase in my pastoral responsibilities, it has been demanding, and I have come to realize there is no way I could have survived this spring if Kaitlyn was not staying home.
The issue of stay at home moms tends to be a contreversial one. It shouldn't be. But in this blog post I want to give you 4 reasons why it is extremly beneficial to pastors to have their wives at home.
1. You Don't Have to Find a Baby Sitter
Kaitlyn and I are hundreds of miles from the closes grandparents. As a result, with the constant changing schedule of a pastor, I never have to worry about who is going to watch Jude. If there is a week night meeting or a saturday emergency hospital visit, I don't have to stress to find a baby sitter. I do not have to ever think "who is going to take care of Jude?" With the hectic 24/7 schedule of a pastor, it is a huge stress relief not to have to worry about my precious son being taken care of. Having Kaitlyn at home frees me to handle the constant craziness of a pastor's schedule.
2. It Allows Us to Practice Generous Hospitality
Kaitlyn's spiritual gift is hospitality. She loves having people over, planning meals, and creating opertunities for ministry in our home. Just this past weekend we had a young couple over for dinner, our youth over on Friday night, and a young family from our church over for lunch. If Kaitlyn was working full time, there is no way she could handle the demands of cleaning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning that it takes to show hospitality to others, let alone three times in one weekend, all the while taking care of a newborn infant. As a pastor, my wife creates ministry opportunities in my home through generous hospitality.
3. I am Able to Channel More of my Energy to the Church
If Kaitlyn was working, much more of my energy would be directed to keeping the home running. There are chores and tasks that are time consuming when having a family. Tasks like laundry and the dishes accumulate quite a bit of time to do. Kaitlyn has so graciously chosen to make the home her place of work. She takes care of a majority of the house work (I help too!), but the great thing is that when I am home in the evenings or on the weekends, I am able to spend quality time with my family. I do not have to worry about making sure things are taken care of at the house. I do not have to worry about wondering what's for dinner. Because of that, more of my mental energy can be channeled to ministry. Even this morning I am able to get up early, study God's word, plan my day and to do list, and even write this blog while she frees me to prepare and do ministry.
4. I am Ministered To
As a pastor, you are constantly pouring out your lives into other people through preaching, counseling, meetings, etc. Kaitlyn's God-given task is to minister to me. Unfortunatly, many churches place unrealistic and demanding expecations on the pastor's wife. They try to treat her as a bonus employee like a bogo deal at a shoe store. This is simply not the case. Kaitlyn's ministry is first and foremost to me, and she does an outstanding job at it. Her continued sacrifice as a stay at home mom allows me to be minsitered to. She serves me, encourages me, prays for me, challenges me, and loves me. Her primary ministry in life is to serve me as I serve my family and the church. In this way, a good pastor's wife isn't someone who leads the women's ministries at the church, she is someone who loves and ministers to her husband. Her ministry to the husband serves the church far better than anything else she can do in the church. She is the only one in the church who can love and serve the pastor the way she does.
Pastor's, I encourage you to bring your wives home. This has been the best ministry decision I have ever made. Churches, encourage and allow your pastor's wife to stay home. This means paying them enough to live off of one salary, not two. This doesn't mean that your pastor will be driving a BMW, but he should be able to support his family off of one income. The best decision a church can make is to encourage, allow, and praise a pastor's wife for staying home and to prioritize her ministry to her husband and children. As a result of Kaitlyn's ministry, I have been free to serve radically and sacrifically my own church. Kaitlyn's continued sacrifice allows me to do that. My own church should be grateful for this (and they are!) and I am forever indebted to the godly, sacrificial wife who serves me as I serve Christ. The life of a stay at home pastor's wife is often a thankless job. Few churches realize the stress and burden these women carry. They should be praised for their generous love of the church as they generously love their husbands.