The Pastorate by Marriage?

What is the role of a pastor’s spouse? It’s a question not addressed in Scripture.  But here’s a more interesting question:  If a man is a pastor, does his wife become a pastor of the church simply by relationship?

I’ve come from denominational organization that has the idea that because a pastor is married to a woman, they are both “pastors” of the church and are both publicly called such.

There are certain desired qualities in the wife of a pastor.  No doubt.  There are even certain responsibilities which come with being the wife of a pastor.  But since when did a spouse automatically assume the same role as the other spouse?  Is Michelle Obama the Co-Commander-in-Chief?  Does the husband of the Public School Superintendent also take on that role or title?  Does he assume the same responsibilities and authority as his wife?

Why would a religious organization make such a policy decision?

I’ve known several husband-wife ministry teams.  They worked well together.  They enjoyed working together.  They both served in an official – or unofficial – capacity in the church.  Both believed they were called by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve the Body of Christ in an official role.  But that is an important distinction.  Both were “called” and “empowered” for the position.

A church or denominational culture which decides that husbands and wives are automatically both “pastors” regardless of calling or gifting, is a culture opposed to the Word of God.


About Richard L Rice

Just an ordinary, balding, blind guy, making my way to Heaven by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone. Richard L Rice has been an ordained minister since 1986, and pastored 6 churches. A graduate of Multnomah School of the Bible (Portland, OR) and Abilene Bible Seminary (Abilene, KS), Richard is the author of numerous books, including commentaries on Matthew, Romans, the Minor Prophets, and the Pastoral Epistles of Paul. He is the pastor of a congregation in Portland, Oregon, and serves on the faculty of the Berean School of Ministry in Tala, Kenya. He lives near Portland, Oregon with his wife Kimberly and son Daniel. Further details about him can be found written on the pages of his blog.
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2 Responses to The Pastorate by Marriage?

  1. Right! No one should be a “pastor” unless they are called by God ! Good post!

  2. alienhippy says:

    hmmmm…interesting point my lovely friend.
    I’m thinking, we know many of the first disciples had wives and kids but they were not called to the same role, same duties. Also I’m thinking the Samaritan woman had many “husbands,” Jesus called her at the well but not her “husbands.”
    You know me, keep it simple…my spectrummy ways and difficulties have been, let’s say…overlooked, in church,
    I like that your posts always make me ponder.
    Love and hugs my lovely friend. Keep being you!
    Lisa. xxx 🙂

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