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Occupations: by PW


While PW, our guest blogger who is a “pastor’s wife,” alludes to the reality that some in the younger generation don’t have a problem here, the reality in the wider church is much different. She talks here about the pastor’s spouse’s occupation, and this one mostly concerns a spouse who is a wife. (Right?) Here’s PW:


I met a couple PWs in the last couple of months, and I realized that they were both school teachers. 

What are some of the common occupations of the PW? Or, are you expected to be in the “pastoral package” as 2-for-1?

I have personally been in an occupation myself for a number of years. I find that sometimes people who are more old-fashioned about the PW role tend to gulp when they realize I have my own occupation. However, I find younger people have no expectations whatsoever.  How did you come to your current occupation at home or in the workforce?

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posted September 15, 2009 at 11:13 pm

I am a PW who has had a regular job for years. It started with us mostly needing additional finances to get our kids music lessons, dental visits, orthodontia, etc. I never taught piano or anything, so we just needed to find a way to make ends meet. I’ve been working for 19 years either part-time or full-time.
I have an aunt that has been a PW for nearly 40 years and she has been a nurse for all those years. She now treats cancer patients and finds it a calling just as much as all the church ministry she does.

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posted September 16, 2009 at 1:24 am

I’m not a PW but my sister was/is. Her husband is currently a lay pastor while teaching and coaching in high school.
When he was previously a full time pastor (I hate that description shouldn’t we always be pastoring whether in the occupation or as a lay person) the subject of my sister came up. Specifically ini the interview for the position one of the folks on the search committee asked what his wife would bring to the church. The proverbial two for one bonus. The senior pastor stepped in before my brother-in-law could reply and told the gentleman that she would be lovingly supporting her husband, attending the church, and continuing to complete her doctorate.
I think your observation on the cultural shift/differences based on age would be appropriate for this example. Additionally the senior pastor might have some personal experience with similar situations.

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posted September 16, 2009 at 11:30 am

I am not a pastor, and I have a husband and not a wife :). BUT I am “in full time ministry.” I was once told by an organization that if I were to join them, I would probably need to work for free because my husband is an attorney. Because of his job, the organization wouldn’t be able to justify giving me a salary.

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posted September 16, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Darby (#3) – I have been through a similar experience …
Would you mind sharing a bit about how this “offer” made you feel?

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Karen in AZ

posted September 17, 2009 at 10:06 pm

I am a PW and have been our entire marriage – 33+ years. I have worked at least part-time during most of those years – not for extras – but to just pay the monthly bills. We did make a decision that I would ONLY work as much as I needed to in order to pay the bills (in order to be home more when our children were young).
Whenever a church has asked my husband about what I might bring to the table, he has always answered something along the lines of: Karen will serve as her gifts, time and health allow. But we were usually only asked this back in the 1970’s and early 80’s.

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