I've been involved in some discussion, recently, regarding the role of the "Preacher's Husband." At its heart, the job is exactly the same as that of any minister's spouse. And that means, fundamentally, a commitment to love and serve God, to lovingly support and encourage the preacher, and to love the church where you serve with imagination and joy. Let's bullet point those, just to make the idea clear:
- To love and serve God
- To lovingly support and encourage the preacher
- To love the church where you serve with imagination and joy.
What the preacher's husband's role does NOT offer is an excuse to duck out of stuff (stuff typically associated with preacher's wives) because you're a man. If you do that, Mr. Clergy Hubby, then that makes you a male chauvinist of the first order.
What is true, however, is that it's easier for the pastor's husband to avoid being hemmed in by restrictive gender-based cultural stereotypes. And that's very good news, because being unhitched from traditional roles leaves us free to simply follow Jesus. But the caution here is to remember that Jesus tends to lead us into humble service... and Jesus leads in that direction a little more often than many men care to follow!
My point is this - I may have felt the freedom and the urgency of some unique callings over the years... but I still took my turn working in the nursery, teaching Sunday school, cooking in the church kitchen, baking casseroles for grieving families, hosting extra people for meals, playing piano or guitar for the children's choir and even (this is The Big One) organizing the entire Vacation Bible School one year.
One day - and I suspect I may be the only man in America to have ever done this - I even hosted a very proper "Bridesmaids Brunch" the weekend of Naomi and Craig's wedding. It went so well that Emily Post herself would doubtless have awarded me an A-plus score in the annals of high etiquette!
|Putting on the Bridesmaid's Brunch with Kelly|
The brunch was so good, in fact, that several people asked if we'd be interested in setting up a catering business - a kind of Preacher's Spouse Incorporated. We laughed. Definitely "LOL". Don't get me wrong: I love Kelly, I love cooking, and I love serving. But professional catering? You can forget it!
I guess what I'm writing about here is immersion in the church culture. When you're married to the preacher then the only thing to do is to get involved up to the eyeballs. Not because it's expected but because it's the only way to love convincingly; and love is primarily - at least at first - always a decision.
I honestly believe the reason I love this church so much is a result of renewing that decision every day.
"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. When we love others, we know that we belong to the truth, and we feel at ease in the presence of God." (1 John 3:18-19)
In Love - The Preacher's Husband