Staff Spouses: What should we expect?

Nelson Searcy gives his perspective on staff spouses:

The key to avoiding issues with spouses (like so much else on a church staff) is 100% crystal clear communication from the beginning.

In other words, no matter what you expect from the spouses of your staff, they need to know that before they’re hired.

Read more here…

What is your church’s policy on staff spouses?


  • Pastor_Shane January 4, 2012 Reply

    This should be taught in seminary to those about to graduate and enter the ministry. Very wise counsel.

  • Jim January 4, 2012 Reply

    great post and article. so glad that “expectations” were and still are clear at the church i pastor. it was especially freeing when our family faced a significant trial and my wife went through a “crisis of faith.” our church allowed her to grieve, pull back, and navigate as they would any church member. without expectation in place i would have felt pressured to fix her quickly or i might have pushed her to put on a church face in order not to let people know. either would have been a dis-service to my marriage and ministry.

  • Ben January 5, 2012 Reply

    My wife was 21 when we took our first church position. It was amazing how many unwritten and non-communicated expectations were placed on her…everything from what she wore on Sundays to where she sat during services to her attendance at social events. Needless to say, this was one of the first questions I asked at my next position. Good counsel indeed!

  • John January 5, 2012 Reply

    I’ve only seen our church pastor’s wife twice in the past 5 years and I go every Sunday. She does, however, blog about all the places they go–the hotels, the restaurants, and about all the money they spend on their two kids. It’s like they do stuff, go places, and take pictures every single day…

  • Jeff Loach February 27, 2012 Reply

    Clearly, this is a cultural issue, because the subtle, unpaid employment of a ministry spouse is certainly not a biblical issue. A congregation should expect nothing more of a spouse than to love, care for and support the pastor/staff member.

    Nelson likes to codify things, and that’s generally good. I think it is unwise to place any expectations on a ministry spouse. Maybe that should be codified!

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