Is being a pastor’s wife like… a job?

I was recently asked this question by a friend who is not a church attender. She was wondering what my role is as the pastor’s wife. In her experience, watching the church from afar, pastor’s wives didn’t work and were part of the church staff.  She assumed that pastors and their wives were hired as a couple, a “two for one” employment.

At first, I laughed it off and said something like, “Is ‘electrician’s wife’ or ‘banker’s wife’ a job?”  But we know the answer is more complicated than that.

I have been married to a pastor for 12 years and met hundreds of pastor’s wives. The answer is complicated because there is no mold for being a pastor’s wife. There’s no job description. Each woman defines her own role. There is a big variation.

Some women are “called by God.” This is a phrase used to explain a deep sense of purpose or focus. We believe that God calls women and men. Some women are pastors, whether or not their husbands are in the ministry. Some women marry pastors and “take on” the calling of their husbands. These women often are on staff at the church, sometimes are even paid separately than their husbands. Sometimes they preach. Sometimes they have credentials. Sometimes they are “co-pastors.”

On the other end of the spectrum, there are pastor’s wives that are uninvolved in the ministry of their husbands. Perhaps they have their own calling to something else. Perhaps their focus is their family and kids. Perhaps they work an unrelated job. They may not have any responsibility at the church. They may volunteer as a typical church go-er.

Whatever the case, it should not be assumed that if a woman is married to a pastor, they are a “package deal.” I would advise women who are considering marrying a man called into ministry to have open and honest conversations about what their relationship and ministry roles would look like. If you are a part of a church congregation that is getting a new ministry family, please do not assume that the new pastor’s wife will fill the same role as the previous one.

To the pastor’s wives who read this, I want to encourage you! You do not have to fit a mold. You do not have to have a prescribed set of skills. You do not have to be a perfect Christian. You just have to be YOU. And you have to be honest about your role and your expectations with both your husband and your church community.

All the best!


Practical Steps to Starting a Bible Study.

If you are a believer, then continually and consistently studying the Bible is hopefully a part of your daily life.  The Bible is our guide, and our connection to God.  And studying together with other believers is an amazing way to grow in your faith!

Why start a Bible Study?

Start with a purpose. Here are some ideas:

  • I want to grow with other believers
  • I want the consistency of a regular group
  • I want to invite unbelievers to learn about the Bible
  • I want to grow in a particular area or study a particular book of the Bible


Now that you have a “why,” this should make your “who” more obvious. If you want community, invite neighbors. If you want to evangelize, invite unbelievers. If you want to grow with other believers, coordinate with your church and invite your fellow church members.


Really anytime is fine. I’ve seen bible studies be successful at 6am on a Saturday morning, a weeknight, a weekday, a lunch hour. Look at your schedule and you family’s routines. Pick a time you can commit to consistently.

Also, consider the length of the study. People oftentimes will only commit to about 4-8 weeks. If it’s a 3 month study, they may get scared off by the length of time. Ask your bible study prospects what they’d be interested in and then go from there.

Another factor is the frequency. I would suggest one of two options: weekly or every other week. If it’s more frequent than weekly, people wont be able to commit due to schedules. If it is too infrequent, like only once per month, then there is no momentum and people forget what has happened previously.

I think the sweet spot is a weekly study, for 6 weeks at a time, with a two-week break in between studies. However, take into account the timing of holidays and seasons. For example, no one will start a study the week of Christmas. We have found in our community, summer is not a good season to begin something new either. People are busy with vacations and family time. So be aware of your audience and their schedules.


Well, obviously, you want to study the BIBLE! That’s really all you need. Sometimes we complicate it with published studies, video series, promotions, and so on!  You can truly come to the study with ONLY a Bible, and you’ll have plenty to talk about.

You can pick one book of the Bible, and systematically read through it, gleaning as much as you can from each verse along the way.  I’d suggest a book rich in theology and practical application to the believer.  Some great books of the Bible to study this way are Romans, Corinthians, Ruth, Hebrews.  Of course, any and every book of the Bible is valid and worthy of study.

Another option is to use a published study that teaches about a book of the Bible or a topic throughout the Bible.  There is no limit to the kind of studies you can find.  Stop by your local Christian book store if you want to actually flip through studies.  Ask a fellow believer what studies they have enjoyed recently.  Google a topic you’re interested in.  The beauty is that if your study is Bible-focused, you can’t go wrong.  You can always glean some new truth from the Bible.  The bible says that the Word of God is “living and active,” which means that it is always relevant to your life.

Other details:

-Consider location.  Often, people enjoy the coziness of meeting in a home.  But churches are a great meeting place too.  Perhaps your workplace is a good location!

-Consider food.  People love snacks, coffee, treats.  Sometimes this helps break the ice.

-Consider the dynamics of the group.  If possible, it’s always nice to have some strong, seasoned believers mixed in with new believers.  Natural mentoring happens this way!

-Consider age and generations.  You could always do a group of like-aged people (young adult study, 55+ study, etc), but there is something truly beautiful when people of all ages come together to study the Bible.  Be brave in asking people who are not in your age group to join!

-Consider communication.  How will you communicate to the group?  Will you email?  Text?  Use social media?  It’s always good to gather contact information on the first group meeting, in case of changes to schedule or location.

-Consider homework.  Some studies have built in homework, with varying degrees of commitment.  If you’re doing a Bible study with a group of college students who already have tons of school work, you probably want to keep the homework to a minimum.  If you’re doing a study with a group of retirees, perhaps they have more time to commit.  Ask your group and don’t make assumptions!

-Listen to the spirit’s guidance.  As a leader, you may get into conversations that you feel unprepared for.  You may stumble into controversial topics.  Be as prepared as possible, but listen to the nudge from the Spirit.  Enter each group prayerfully!


Go for it!

I encourage you to consider starting a study!  You can do it.  Any person can study the Bible.  That is the beauty of the Word of God.  It’s accessible to ALL.  Push away your doubts and go for it!

I’d love to hear in the comments any studies that you’ve loved, or any other tips you have for those beginning a Bible Study for the first time!


#bible #devotions #biblestudy #believer #wordofGod #church

Never Stop Learning!

Lifelong learner. Are you one?


I always thought of myself as a “life-long learner,” someone who loves to learn and try new things. This summer and fall, however, has tested that saying in my life. I have been forced to try so many new things! It has been so good for me. Part of the motivation comes from moving to a new town, new jobs, and new experiences. Part of it is my own determination to never grow “comfortable” or worse, “stale.” Here is my list of new skills and activities I have learned recently. I hope it encourages you to try something new!


Things I have learned since this summer:

Veggie garden basics

  • Veggie garden basics


I always wanted to have a vegetable garden, but never had a sunny spot at my Lakeville home.  Now, in Delano, I inherited a beautiful garden and got right to work figuring out how to garden.  This one is definitely a work in progress.  But we had a ton of tomatoes this year!  Success!

My first harvest!
  • Basic hair cutting

Yes, I am now one of “those moms” who cuts her kids’ hair.  I just got too annoyed at the $20 price tag for a kid’s cut, even at the bargain salons.  Thanks to a friend who gave me pointers, and a few useful YouTube videos, I have now cut both my girls’ hair for months, and even have given myself a few trims!

  • How to mow and weed whip

This one was born out of necessity.  Paul was on a ten-day missions trip, and I had to mow.  The lawn looked like a jungle.  Now, after several weeks of mowing, I have found that I love it!  Those neat, straight lines in the grass are therapeutic to me.

My first attempt at mowing!
  • Blogging

This one was random.  I lately have enjoyed writing.  It’s like an idea sticks in my head and won’t let go until I put it in print.  I don’t have a real focus yet, or a niche.  I just write about my life.  I do it just for myself.  I didn’t share any blogs for several months of blogging.  I have no expectations for how it will go.  I just enjoy writing!

One of my recent blog posts!
  • Snapchat

Okay, this was not exactly a skill, nor is it very useful. But it’s so fun!  And I have a whole new way to communicate!  Thanks to my young, hip friends for introducing me to this!


And here are a few others that I won’t elaborate on.

  • Basic web design
  • Graphic Design
  • Grilling
  • Refit classes
  • New recipes
  • Mural painting in the church nursery
  • How to use some power tools!
  • 3rd grade curriculum


There is a spiritual component too.  Are you learning from the wise and gaining wisdom?  Are you pursuing a deeper faith?  In Proverbs 1:5 it says,”…let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”

I hope that I never pursue knowledge and skill over wisdom and discernment.  I have had several opportunities lately to glean wisdom from people in my life.  Those moments with them are priceless.  I spent a few hours listening to “mentor moms” recently at our MOPS group.  I was invited over to coffee with one of the founding members of our church.  I spent the afternoon with a woman who is three generations removed from me, and had the most lovely conversations.

So there is a place to learn new skills and knowledge, but there is also a place to gain wisdom and understanding.  Both are necessary and exciting!

What have you learned recently?  What’s on your list of “to learn next?”


How to Keep Your House Clean- While Working Full-Time!


There are no shortage of tips on the internet for how to keep your house clean- I’ve read them all.  I sometimes wonder if these moms are real, like me, or if there is some magical Pinterest world where they live in their perfectly clean homes.  Here are my personal tried and true tips, from a full-time teacher mom of two girls, who is also a pastors’ wife.  I share that detail because being married to a pastor means that hospitality is a given in my life, and my house needs to be guest-ready most of the time.  I am still in progress, but this is what’s working for me in this stage of life.


  1. Week vs. Weekend

Know your weekday limits. I know that I don’t have much time or energy to clean during the weekdays. So here’s how I break it up:

  • Week Days
    • General pick up each night before bed- Especially my main level where it is most “lived in.”
    • Dishes in dishwasher, run in the evening if full.
    • Sometimes, I run the laundry through the washer and dryer, but leave it in baskets, clean but not folded or sorted. That will happen on the weekend.
  • Weekend
    • My washer and dryer go non-stop during the weekend. This is also when I finally get to the clean clothes that have been sitting in baskets throughout the week.
    • Vacuum.  This task doesn’t take much time, but has a BIG impact on how clean your house looks.
    • I have four bathrooms in my new house, and that intimidated me. How will I keep them all clean all the time? The trick for me has been to make a routine of cleaning it. I do the toilet cleaner on all four toilets. Then I do the mirrors on all four bathrooms. Then I spray the counters and wipe them down. Lastly, I finish the toilets. The same order, every week. Deeper cleaning happens less frequently, as needed. I have it down to such a routine that I can do all four in about 20 minutes.


  1. Time yourself- it doesn’t take as long as you think.
    • Like I mentioned above, I didn’t think I could keep four bathrooms clean every week until I actually timed myself out of curiosity. It only took me about 40 minutes the first time. Then I made a game out of it, and tried to do it faster next week.
    • Same with dishes. Seeing a huge pile of dishes is so annoying to me. So one day, I timed myself to see how long it took to empty and refill the dishwasher, with a huge sink full of dishes.   The whole thing only took me about 12 minutes. Then, next time, I remember that even though it looks like it will take forever, it is actually manageable.
    • It’s also helpful to know how long it takes you to do random chores in case you have people “pop” over. If someone calls and says they dropping by, I know I can vacuum my main level in about 8 minutes, and do the dishes in about 10.
Our current chore charts for my girls

3. Get the kids involved.

  • I recently heard some fantastic parenting advice about this: “You have to teach your kids to do chores when they’re not really helping at all, so that they will do chores when they’re old enough to actually be a helper.” When they’re preschool age, they definitely will slow you down. But the time invested is so worth it, because once they get a little older, you’ve already set the expectation that we work together in our house, and they can actually contribute to the household duties.
  • It’s no secret I’m a big fan of chore charts! I talk about them all the time to my frustrated mom friends. Kids can do WAY more than you think they can. I started chores when my oldest daughter was two, with very simple tasks. Now, she’s six and she’s teaching my two-year-old how to clean the bathrooms and unload the dishwasher.
Under the bed bins store the important papers and projects for my girls


4. All the papers.

  • Since my daughter started kindergarten, it is a constant battle with the never-ending stream of paperwork! You have to find a system for paperwork that works for your family. We have a Rubbermaid under-the-bed bin that we keep for each girl. If a paper or project is something worth saving (and we’re picky!), it goes in that “special bin.” Then, at the end of the year, we go through it and save only the best. We are ruthless about everything else. No time to be nostalgic about the handwriting page or the sticker book.
  • And the mail is a pain too. I purposefully unsubscribe from any junk mail, and I adhere to the “only touch it once” adage. It goes from my mailbox to the garbage in the garage before ever coming in my house if it’s junk.


5. Three words: Express Wash Setting

  • I have not seen any difference between the cleanliness of my clothes after the 50 minute “normal” wash, and the 20 minute “express” wash. So I save those 30 minutes and get my laundry done so much faster!

6. Have some “cheat” spaces

  • We have one room in our house that we just decided that we don’t care if it is a mess- our playroom! I love that my kids actually play in the playroom, and use the toys we have. Our toys do not sit on shelves for long, they are out and being used. For that to happen, there has to be a trade-off. That room is almost never clean. And I just decided I’m going to be okay with that.


Okay, that’s that.  Now, I have to go actually do these tips and get my house clean!


Book Review: Strong and Kind by Korie Robertson

One of my resolutions this year was to be more intentional about reading.  I spent the school year commuting more than an hour to work and back, so I had a lot of drive time.  I decided to use this to listen to books, which became a wonderful part of my day.  I no longer dreaded the quiet rides, or the time flipping between boring radio stations.  I was consuming books like crazy!

One book that stuck out to me was Strong and Kind by Korie Robertson.  Korie is the wife of the Willie Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame.  I must admit that, although I have laughed through a few of those silly reality shows, I wasn’t a fan.  So it wasn’t her fame that drew me to this book, it was the topic.  She writes about how to raise kids of character.  Now that got my attention.

As a mom of two young girls and an elementary schoolteacher, I have been rolling the idea of character around in my mind for a long time.  I want my kids to have character; that is, I want them to be kind, patient, honest, selfless, compassionate, brave, loving, strong, determined, and all those wonderful traits that we aspire to instill into our kids.  I have seen hundreds of students go through my class and even in the young kindergarten grade, it is evident which kids have been taught some of these basic principles, and which have not.  These traits do not simply just happen.  Kids need specific training and teaching.

Korie writes that when she was a young mom, she went to a Bible study and the topic of the study was character in kids.  She was asked, “If you could pick the most important two character traits to instill into your kids, what would they be?”  After much thought and prayer she settled on “strong” and “kind.”  She poses the question to her readers: “What would be your two traits?”

As I read this book (actually listened to it!), I found myself struggling with this question myself.  There are so many traits I want my children to embody, both as a Christian and as a member of society.  I want my kids to possess ALL of the fruits of the spirit, as listed in Galatians: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.  I want them to be honest and loyal.  I want them to be compassionate and caring.  How in the world could I narrow it down to two?

So I considered my family’s dynamic and the personality of my girls. I thought through situations that I anticipate them encountering.  I still have been wrestling with this question, but I think I have come down to these: brave and compassionate.

They are similar to the two she chose, but different variations.  I think my girls will need to be brave.  They need to be brave to try new things, to stand up for themselves, to have confidence in themselves, and to defend their faith.

I also chose compassionate.  I think compassionate goes beyond kindness, because it is inherently connected to action.  I want my kids to not only feel empathy to those in need, but to do something about it.  Selflessness, another trait I considered, is built into compassion.  You cannot be compassionate and selfish.

The book was totally a breath of fresh air.  I loved it and actually wished it would have been longer!  I encourage you to decide, even if you don’t read this book, what traits are valued in your family.  I will leave you with a beautiful quote from her book.

“After being a parent for twenty years, I have come to believe that the most important thing for parents to decide—more important than bottle or breastfeeding, more important than co-sleeping or sleep training, and even more important than whether to put your child in day care or become a stay-at-home parent—is what values are important to your family and how you will go about instilling those values in your children.”

What are YOU reading now?


People Priority: Changing your to-do list

I am normally a very task-oriented, to-do list person. I enjoy making a list, working toward the goals, and finishing it. As a teacher, I ALWAYS have a short to-do list on my desk.

During summers, however, I change my to-do list. I throw out the lists that look like this:

-Mow the yard

-Water the flowers


-Go grocery shopping

And I replace them with lists that look like this:

-Call Trena about her move

-Invite Erin and her kids over for a playdate

-Schedule a walk around the lake with Becca

-Bring a meal to the family at church with a new baby

It’s my time to intentionally make my list about PEOPLE, not THINGS. Summer is a great time to connect with people you haven’t seen in a while. Have long conversations over coffee in the afternoon on a patio. Walk around a beautiful lake with a friend. Have that dinner party you’ve been meaning to plan. Yes, it still takes planning and scheduling, but it is so worth it!

So stop and think about who is in your life that you miss. Who is it that you haven’t seen or talked to for months? Who could use some encouragement or support in this stage? Are some names and faces popping up in your mind?

Also, as a side note, don’t forget the people closest to you! Don’t forget to spend intentional time with each of your kids, your parents, siblings, roommates, or other people that you might be around often. It’s easy to be in the same space with someone but not really be WITH them.

Who are you going to prioritize this summer?


Pastor’s Wife Life! {Part 2, settling into ministry!}

New Pastor Wives To-Do List, Part 2

(Six months since we started at our church!)

My husband took a new church in January, so now it has been six months of adjusting to a new church, meeting people, getting settled in! I wrote a post a few months ago about my advice for the first few weeks in a new church. Now that we are half of a year into this adventure, I have some updates!

  1. Be choosy about your ministry choices

For me, this is now the time where I have the urge to dive in to EVERY area of church, now that I’m a bit settled. I want to help in every area, and see how I can support each ministry. If it were possible, I’d be a youth leader, worship team member, women’s ministry team member, nursery volunteer, and on and on. But I am reading a book of timely advice called Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larsen. Seriously, I recommend this. The main point that I’ve gleaned so far from this book is that you can’t just say yes to every opportunity, or you will run straight into burn-out. Be prayerful and choosy with your “yesses” and God will bless your decisions.


  1. Open up your home and be hospitable.

Perhaps you are moving or moved to a new place. We are currently in transition still, living in an apartment while we continue to look for a home near the church. It’s not the ideal situation for hosting people. But I’m trying to make the best of it. Just yesterday, I invited another family to a craft class with my daughter at the local Michael’s store. We ended up spending the better part of the day with them! We also have met people at their homes or at restaurants. There’s no better way to connect with people, hear their hearts, and understand their ministry than over a meal! It doesn’t have to be a formal dinner party. Just find ways to be hospitable!

We started “Newcomers Dinners” to welcome people to our church by inviting them to our home for dinner with us and the staff!
  1. Pick your discipleship or mentorship “targets”

As a leader in your church, people will be looking to you to support them in their faith walk. You don’t have to be the leader of the women’s ministry to do this! An important part of being a Christian is to support someone in growing their faith. So find some people who you think might need a mentor and ask, either formally or informally, if they’d like to get together.  God put you in this new church because there are specific people that need YOU!  Find them, and intentionally get into their lives, drawing them closer to the Lord.  Also, on the flip side, make sure that YOU are being mentored by someone else. It may not be a person from your new church, but there is sure to be some strong, mature women who would be a great mentor to you. Perhaps even a woman who was or is in ministry. Those are relationships worth developing right from the start!

  1. Pace yourself

This is hard for me and my husband. We came into the church and wanted to run full speed ahead, making changes and updates left and right. But we have paced ourselves and it has been very beneficial. For example, I wanted Paul to change the sign, branding, logo, bulletin, stage, and children’s program immediately! However, we focused on a few priorities, and have made some strong, slow changes. It’s easier for your congregation too, as they digest changes bit by bit.

  1. Keep family first.

For us, this is the point where my husband is getting busier and busier, as the momentum of the church picks up.  It’s exciting!  It’s fun!  It’s busy!  But it can also be exhausting and hard on family life.  Keep your family routines, whatever they are, as much as you can during this stage.  Maybe you have a set date night.  Maybe family dinners are important to you.  Maybe Sunday lunch is your special “thing.”  Whatever it is, keep it up, because your primary job as a ministry wife is to keep your family priority.

6. Show your appreciation

By now, you’re learning who does what, who is helpful, and who you appreciate at the church.  Don’t forget to tell them!  I do this in a fun way, by starting “Volunteer of the Week” at my church.  I pick one volunteer every week and write a little blurb about them, which I send to the church secretary.  She puts it in the bulletin and weekly email.  I also send them a card saying what we appreciate about them, from the whole church staff.  It is a way to show your gratefulness, get to know people and what they do at the church, and build community within your church.  It’s not too much work, and totally worth the energy put into it.  You don’t have to thank people so formally or publicly, just make sure that you are recognizing those who are supporting you, your husband, and the ministries of the church.

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 1.47.28 PM.png
This is a sample social media post I did to thank some of our volunteers!

That’s what I’m learning right now, at this stage of church ministry! What advice do you have for me? God bless you, pastor’s wife! You are important and loved!


To follow my life as a pastor’s wife, check out my instagram (laurarisdall) or our church website at

To follow our ministry journey, see below!

Pastor’s Wife Life, Part 1

Pastor’s Wife Life, Part 2

Pastor’s Wife Life, Part 3





Pastor’s Wife Life {Part 1, for the new pastor’s wife!}


Okay, so you’re a pastor’s wife now! I’m sure you feel completely prepared for this position after years of training, mentoring, classes, and a MRS degree. Oh, you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing?! Me too!

For you new pastor wives who need some fun, quick, easy ideas to implement that will help support your husband, your church, your family, and your ministry, look no further! Here is your to-do list for your first few months or years in ministry.

  1. Find one other pastor’s wife, not at your church, and tell them you need a pastor’s wife best friend.

Seriously. Be blunt about it. Tell them that you need a “safe” person. You need a ministry girlfriend who you can call after a particularly tense church business meeting. You need a friend in ministry to give you the tried-and-true casserole recipe that will comfort a widow or feed a family with a new baby.  You need a friend to whom you can say, “I wish I could just sleep in one Sunday instead of going to church” with no fear of judgment. Invaluable! Never let go of that friend!

This is my pastor’s wife, BFF!  Our husbands both became lead pastors at about the same time and we share church and ministry stories constantly!
  1. Obsessively learn names of church members.


Okay, don’t actually obsess about it. But put some energy into it. Look at a church directory or find some church people on Facebook. It means SO much to people if you know their name early on. Make it a game if it helps you!

  1. Choose your seat wisely.

Maybe your husband really cares where you sit, and wants you in the front row. Or maybe you’d prefer to be in the back of the sanctuary so you can scope everyone out. But if it’s up to you, be purposeful about where you sit. Mix it up. Don’t sit by the same person every week. Don’t sit on the same side every week. If you’re feeling especially feisty, purposely “steal” someone’s spot that has been sitting there every week for 50 years. There’s no better way to start to recognize and know everyone.

  1. Minister smarter, not harder.


You’ve heard “work smarter, not harder,” right? Same thing for the pastor’s wife. Don’t dive into every ministry. Be wise about what you choose to participate in, and if possible, pick one where you are somewhat visible. Show people you are a team player. You don’t have to be playing piano every week on the stage, but maybe you are an honorary greeter. Maybe you sign the kids in. Maybe you lead a committee. Find something you’re passionate about and good at. It’s a bonus if it’s something people can see versus a “behind the scenes” ministry, especially at first. People want to see you investing in the church and want a chance to get to know you.

Those are my quick tips for the new pastor’s wife.  You may not have an office, a business card, or any official title, but pastors’ wives make the church go ‘round. You are critical, you are valuable, you are making a difference. Smile and enjoy the ride, Mrs. Minister.


To follow my life as a pastor’s wife, check out my instagram (laurarisdall) or our church website at

To follow our ministry journey, see below!

Pastor’s Wife Life, Part 1

Pastor’s Wife Life, Part 2

Pastor’s Wife Life, Part 3


Hello world!

I am a Christian.

I am a mom.

I am a pastor’s wife.

I am a teacher.

I am a church member and volunteer.

I am a friend, daughter, cousin, sister, niece, coworker.

I am writer.

My identity is wrapped up in those first few titles- mom, Christian, wife, and so on.  Just recently have I tried “writer” on for size.  I have been writing to myself in my journal, iPhone, and word documents for a few months.  I do it for completely selfish reasons- to get my thoughts out of my head, to clarify my thinking, to practice writing intelligently.  Now, completely on a whim, I’m signing up for a blog to share my thoughts.  This is not a selfish ambition.  I hope these words encourage, clarify, bring joy and smiles, and make someone else feel like they are not alone.  Any comments or thoughts are welcome and enjoyed!