Are you a pastor? Or are you married to one? Then you’ll benefit from a book I had the privilege of contributing to, Benjamin Vrbicek’s Don’t Just Send a Resume: How to Find the Right Job in a Local Church.
When my husband and I got married, he was pastoring middle- and high-school students at our church. He loved his job and was excellent at it––but we knew the end was near. He had agreed to work in this role for five years, at which point he wanted to become a preaching pastor.
We hoped and prayed this would happen at the same local church, but only God knew.
Through many unknowns, we started discussing the possibilities. Would God direct us to stay somehow? Would he have us elsewhere near our home? Or would he call us to pick up everything and move across state lines?
After about a year of waiting, we got the call: We were staying at the same church, in a different role. Hallelujah! But the waiting was intense, and it stretched and grew our marriage in a unique way.
Pastor, as you begin (or continue) your job search, know that your wife desires to be involved. She knows you better than anyone, will speak truthfully, and wants what’s best for you. The following are five ways my husband involved me during our season of searching and waiting––and I hope they’ll be helpful to you.
As husbands and wives are joined in the covenant of marriage and united in Christ, one spouse’s calling means both spouses must be called. In other words, your wife should have peace and clarity about the jobs you’re looking at and pursuing, especially when it comes to decision time.
My husband always reminds me that “we’re in this together.” No, I may not be preaching on Sundays or pastoring the flock, but I’m one with him, so any job search needs to be a united effort and decision. Your devotion to your wife extends even to this.
All prayers should be prayed with fervency and faith, but during our year of waiting, prayers for a job were especially fervent.
It’s a sweet thing to come together with your wife to petition God for wisdom, direction, and job provision. As you see him faithfully move, even by degrees and in unexpected ways, you’ll rejoice together and have great cause for thanksgiving, a lifeline of worship during hard and confusing seasons.
Your wife will appreciate your ear. Waiting upon the Lord for such a vital thing as a job (no––a calling) can be taxing and emotional. You’ll involve her and serve her well by listening to her process the journey and by valuing her input.
Listen to what she’s feeling and thinking, and know this speaks love to her.
Similarly, you’ll appreciate your wife’s listening ear, and she’ll want to listen! Pursue open, consistent communication. Share your ideas, leads, and conversations. Tell her your hopes and prayers.
I always valued my husband’s intentionality to keep me in-the-loop with his thoughts and actions. It made me feel intimately involved, even though I was busy with other pursuits and projects.
Finally, know when to stop and think on other things. Know when to pause the processing. Know when to end the topic of conversation and simply enjoy.
Rest and pause can be difficult when the pressure to find work is looming, but both of you will benefit from it. Burnout and frustration result from a lack of rest, but motivation and fruitfulness come when we heed this needful gift as couples. Marriage, too, is a gift from God––so enjoy it!
Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Amen, husbands! You’re not alone in this. We’re here to help, encourage, and uphold you, so give us the joy of being involved as you pursue God’s calling upon your life.
This post has been adapted from my contribution to the book Don’t Just Send a Resume: How to Find the Right Job in a Local Church by Benjamin Vrbicek. If you’re considering a transition in pastoral ministry, please check out this helpful resource.