I can’t tell you how excited I am for this segment of my series on surviving Bi-Vocational Student Ministry. For this very special segment, we look at and explore an often thankless and overlooked aspect of Student Ministry- the role of the Student Pastor’s wife. Let’s face it, these ladies are practically super human in all that they do. They are wife, mom, ministry partner, prayer partner, encourager, accountant, fundraising expert, hostess, counselor…the list goes on and on. I can tell you from my own experience, my ministry WOULD NOT survive, exist, or even run without my wife. She is my hero and I can not begin to fathom all that she does and still manages to find the will, strength, and time to love me. That is why, tonight, I have asked my wonderful, beautiful, and loving bride to be a guest blogger on the Mindful Minute so that you can get a true picture of what it’s like to be married to a Bi-Vocational Student Pastor; and maybe uncover some helpful hints on how to survive both the ministry and the often overworked, overstretched student pastor/husband on your hands. Ladies and Gentlemen- my wife…Jan Jones
So my husband asked me to write an article about being the wife of a bi-vocational student minister. I am not the eloquent writer that he is, so I apologize ahead of time.
First I need to explain that not only is my husband bi-vocational, he is up to his elbows in teenagers all the time. Both jobs deal with teens, just in completely different ways. It is interesting to see how he interacts with the different groups because they come from drastically different backgrounds. It is important that you understand how much teenagers play a role in our lives because it shapes the way we live, teach, and raise our own family. Working in a church, no matter the role, affects every part of your life, not just that one part that happens in the church building. It curls and winds its way into every part of your being. Sunday lunches are no longer just our family; we have teens that go with us because we are as much their family as they are ours. Calendar planning is centered around the student ministry as are vacations and conversations in the car. These are not complaints, we wouldn’t have it any other way, we love our teenagers and all that comes with it. We chose this path knowing it was not going to be easy. That being said, the struggle comes with maintaining our identity as a family.
We joke that our boys spend more time in the car going to church or church events than they do at their own home. However, that is not entirely a joke. Being bi-vocational comes with sacrifices – mostly time. We have worked really hard to maintain a schedule where our boys are involved in something for just them like cub scouts, baseball, or basketball without teenagers there to take our attention away from them. We have purposefully made time so they can stay home at least one night a week and just play. We also take the chance to let the boys spend the night at friends and families houses so Keith and I can have a date night or time to just ourselves. If you let your teens know that these are important to you, they will respect those times and you will be amazed at the lengths they will go to protect those times for you. These are things that you HAVE to do or you will get so burned out and fail in your ministry because you feel you are failing as a parent or spouse.
As far as being a bi-vocational student minster’s wife, I don’t feel like there is any other way to live my life. Church and student ministry in particular have always played a huge part in my life growing up, it seems only natural that I would find myself in this place. Sure I am tired after work and then have to go to church, or I have spent an entire Sunday from 9:00 to 8:00 at church with teenagers plus my own kids, or I have to be encouraging to others when I am not feeling particularly encouraging, but that is okay because all the good things completely outweigh the bad days. You have to understand that being the wife of a Bi-Vocational Student Pastor isn’t about simply surviving, and it isn’t even about your husband- it’s about you as a family. The decision to accept this life is one that the FAMILY makes, the FAMILY accepts, and the FAMILY chooses to live. I know I am leading the life I am supposed to be living and I feel I am raising my kids the way God wants me to.
As I said, this is not any easy life – but it is the life we have been called to live as a family and as long as we are in God’s will it will work out
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach