Should a Pastor’s spouse automatically be a Pastor too?

It’s a common practice in most Pentecostal churches for the senior pastors to be a married couple. Typically, the man will do most of the preaching. His wife will also preach, usually a bit less often. The wife usually heads up the women’s ministry. The man will typically have a mentoring and pastoral role to the team of leaders below him, or depending upon the size of the church, to much of the congregation. His wife may also have a substantial role in decision making and administration as well, though the administration aspect is less common. Sometimes she’s more talented in these roles than her husband.

Contrasting this, in traditional Protestant churches it’s not usual for the husband or wife of a senior minister to automatically take on a complementary pastoral or organisational role. Traditionally, the wife of a minister would provide a lot of hospitality, often working very hard without official recognition or payment. The female co-pastor of a Pentecostal church though, is typically officially recognised and on the payroll for their contribution.

In some respects, the modern Pentecostal recognition of the married pastoral team is much more equitable that then traditional Protestant way of doing things.

The co-senior pastor appointments seem to be based on whom the person is married to, rather than any particular gifting. Sometimes it is clear that both team members are actually gifted but the practice is so widespread that this doesn’t seem to be the main requirement.

Recognition of contributions are important, but is it really appropriate to make someone a pastor on the basis of their partner’s appointment to that role, regardless of whether they are male or female?

Should senior pastors be doing administrative, pastoral and teaching roles, regardless of where their giftings actually lie? A teacher may not be a pastor; a pastor may not be an administrator.

Do congregations have other members in their midst who are more appropriately gifted for some of these roles, who due to all this are overlooked, leaving the local gathering the poorer for it?

Of course, this assumes that its appropriate to have one married couple over the rest of the congregation – but maybe that’s another debate.


6 thoughts on “Should a Pastor’s spouse automatically be a Pastor too?

  1. I think the answer should be no, not always, although in most cases a husband and wife team is complementary and effective, and in many situations the spouse takes on a ministry role also.

    Much, surely, depends on the size and development of the church.

    I early planting days a husband and wife team is very effective, and all round capabilities are a bonus, but as a church grows others should be involved in leadership roles to relieve the pastors, and allow them to focus on Pastoring and leading the church.

  2. Just letting everyone know that Tommy Tenney is coming to Australia- the author of “God Chasers”. Apparently T.D. Jakes Endorsed his writings (also of OP origin).

    Oddly enough, the churches he will speaking at made me single out what type of teacher he was, a false one. His beliefs are based on Oneness Pentecostalism, the Jesus Only movement. In Australia he will be talking to the Oneness/ Jesus Only churches Conference.

    So there’s no doubt that Tommy Tenney, while trying to hide the heresies of his beliefs, (that of the Oneness Pentecostalism’s teachings), is a teacher of things that are sugar-coated to look like Christianity, but are actually not.

    Be wary!

  3. It is a difficult task for the Husband and Wife ministry team, until the eldest child gets old enough to take on the Worship-leading ministry. A couple of other kids helping out and it gets a bit easier, much like the family store.

  4. Pretty soon, you have enough free time to start molesting congregationers’ children.

  5. Hmm, yes, wazza – I have often found it astonishing at just how anointed and gifted the senior pastors’ entire family sometimes is.

    In some respects it reminds me of the astounding amount of talent one sees in US Presidential candidate families. Amazing how these things run in one gene pool.

    BTW – Christine Pringle is the ‘First Lady’ at CCC (see http://www.ccc.org.au/presence/default.asp?page=presenceSpeakers), so the presidential analogy perhaps has some validity. (Although it must be said her family is one of the exceptions to the family inheritance rule.)

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