You Can Make a Difference

Determining to emotionally support all pastoral wives.

Gloria Bentzinger has served as a soul-win­ning pastoral wife, evangelist's wife, and ad­ministrative wife. She and her husband, Dan, currently serve the Adventist Media Center as an evangelistic team. They have two chil­dren: Brooks and Beth.—Via Shepherdess International

Administrators' wives for the most part, are admired and respected. Be­cause of this, there is a great potential for you to make an impact on the lives of the pastoral wives around you Some administrators' wives have actually helped make the differ­ence between success or failure in the lives of other ministers' wives. By wisely using the gift of influence with which the Lord has entrusted you, you can make a difference! This article deals with three groups of pastoral wives the administrators' wives can reach and nurture: other administra­tive wives, pastoral wives, and evangelist wives.

Nurturing other administrators' wives

Have you ever noticed when circumstances are favorable, ad­ministrative wives "clump" to­gether? This is because there is an unspoken understanding be­tween administrators' wives. They know what a life of family sacrifice and loneliness is all about. You have your own little group for emotional support. Try extending this support across conference, union, or division boundaries to uplift another administrator's wife who may be going through a similar crisis.

When my husband told me about a conference president in another state who was anxious because his wife had been diag­nosed as possibly having breast cancer, I put myself in her place. Sometimes we don't feel comfort­able opening up to the people who live close; however, emo­tional support is desperately needed. When t heard about this crisis, I got out my Bible and sta­tionery and wrote her a letter of encouragement. I marked the upcoming date of her evaluation on my calendar and called to pray with her. It didn't surprise me that no one in her conference knew of her anxiety—she hadn't told them. As she cried softly over the Long distance phone line, she thanked me over and over again for caring enough to reach out to her.

I've never met Ann, a treasurer's wife from a union on the other side of the world. I've only heard about her. I don't have to meet her to appreciate her un­selfish qualities and life of sacri­fice. Her husband is home only two days a week, and it is only then that he eats good homecooked meals. The rest of the week he sleeps on a cot in his of­fice at the union office eating only bread and drinking milk and herb tea.

When I heard about this ad­ministrative wife, I sent her some clothes from my wardrobe, a watch, hair spray, and bubble bath (which she'd never heard of). I watched for things on sale and picked up items for her. I was able to send her a beautiful coat and scarf for winter. Before Christmas, I had a letter trans­lated into her language and en­closed money for her family. We may never meet until heaven, but it's a wonderful privilege to be able to emotionally and finan­cially help an unselfish, uncom­plaining administrator's wife.

Nurturing pastoral wives

The life of the administrative wife and husband is vastly dif­ferent from the daily life of a pastoral family. You get tired of eating alone and carrying on a phone relationship with your husband. You Tong fora few days together with no out-of-town trips. You're a widow, of sorts, handling unforeseen crisis calls and the demands of managing a household without your hus­band.

The typical pastoral wife can­not fully relate to your lifestyle. She sometimes longingly wishes for time to herself, without hav­ing to cook and tare for anybody! If she doesn't travel much, flying and traveling sound like "glory trips" to her.

Sometimes it's better not to try to explain your fast paced life in administration with hectic schedules. In doing so, you run the risk of being labeled as a com­plainer—pastoral wives really don't need a whiner for a role model. Or you are quickly sur­mised as a bragger—flight sched­ules can become a source of envy to a home-bound pastor's wife with toddlers.

Young pastoral wives tend to look at administrative wives as having "achieved," because of the administrator's position. These young women may look at you as a role model and seek your advice.

It is very encouraging to wit­ness administrative wives taking young pastoral wives under their wings and nurturing them. This works especially well if they have the same gift clusters. Some of these women may not know what advice to ask for, but a wise ad­ministrative wife can give from the wealth of her experience and knowledge without making it sound like advice.

I'd like to suggest more than emotional support for the young pastoral wife. Many times she also needs practical steps to equip her for life in the parsonage.

After I became acquainted with all the pastoral wives in my conference, I realized several had musical talent and were eager to use this gift to benefit the church. I suggested, encouraged, made personalized backup tapes, pro­vided music, and practiced with them.

Another group consisted of eight young pastoral wives who wanted me to share step-by-step methods to start a young mother's group in their churches. I shared with them how successful it had been in our previous district and gave them specific ideas that had worked for me such as bringing in guest speakers like pediatri­cians, beauticians, etc., and invit­ing young mothers from other churches from the community.

In training and equipping young pastors' wives, always keep in mind that the more you emphasize having "outreach eyes," the more people can be brought to the Lord in the future. Many young women don't real­ize the potential of a simple wed­ding shower. A sharp pastoral wife will keep track of the non­member relatives who attended the party, and invite them to church or upcoming evangelistic meetings.

Determine to emotionally support all pastoral wives. To do this you will need to intentionally put yourself into several different cluster groups of women who have different gifts and talents.

Encourage pastoral wives when they are not expecting it. Mail birthday cards to every pas­toral wife. Call them occasion­ally. Send a card just to let them know you are thinking of them. it will mean a lot to them and take the pressure of remembering spe­cial occasion dates off of you. if birthday and anniversary cards are sent, make it consistent; no wife should be accidently forgot­ten. Women do compare notes!

Reach out to pastoral fami­lies who may be going through crisis, illness, or family deaths. Keep a tickler file of the date of the death and remember it with a card or phone call a year later. The fact that someone remem­bered on that date will never be forgotten.

We all tire of hearing about being an example to the young pastor's wife, but it's true! Each one of us can name our heroes and role models. Using your gift of influence wisely will help produce happy, self-confident, trained, and equipped pastoral wives.

Nurturing evangelists' wives

This group is sometimes for­gotten. They may not be high in number, but I've found them to be extremely high in dedication and sacrifice. When administra­tive wives remember to reach out to evangelist wives with a prayer over the phone before opening night, it gives affirmation to one of the highest callings in minis­try.

Evangelist wives are some of the most uprooted women in ministry and some tend to get very lonely. I am the type of per­son who loves change and enjoys a life of constant travel and mak­ing friends all over the world. I think this life itz, grand, even if I do have to endure many incon­veniences. However, some women find it difficult to adjust to the life of full-time evangelism. They tell me that they feel "left out." They would so much appreciate being included in all Shepherd­ess newsletters and events, even if they're unable to attend.

As an administrative wife, I marked my calendar with the dates of all the evangelistic meetings scheduled in our conference. Knowing the opening night date and dates of specific calls and appeals, I could encourage and pray with the evangelist's wife.

As an evangelist's wife, I've found that I have prayer support because I've started calling the administrative wife and asking for prayer while we're in their conference for six weeks. Most evangelists' wives are not as bold as me, so you really have to be the one to reach out!

I've been a pastoral wife, ad­ministrative wife, and evan­gelist's wife. (Yes, all with the same husband!) I've loved my role in each. Serving in all three categories helps me relate per­sonally to all of them. No one is better than the other. one have "achieved." Even though we're different in many ways, we have this in common: We love the Lord, we love our husbands, and we have a desire to be an asset to His church.

Influence is a gift from God and whether we like it or not, it has automatically been given to us when we became an adminis­trative wife. Take this gift seri­ously and responsibly—make a positive difference in the lives of other ministerial wives!

Gloria Bentzinger has served as a soul-win­ning pastoral wife, evangelist's wife, and ad­ministrative wife. She and her husband, Dan, currently serve the Adventist Media Center as an evangelistic team. They have two chil­dren: Brooks and Beth.—Via Shepherdess International