Eunice Sophia Crown is the co-founder of Global Exploits Ministries International (GEMI) based in Thika, which she runs with her pastor husband. She narrates what it’s like to be a pastor’s wife.
“In the past two months, I have had a lot of time to bond with my family. It feels weird. I am a pastor’s wife and my biggest struggle in the last three years since we got married and started ministering has been time. Then, I yearned for more time with my husband and our two-year-old son.
My husband and I are the founders of Global Exploits International Ministries (GEMI) in Thika. When you are church planters, you have to commit much of your time to the church. It is a requisite for growth.
However, due to the government’s directive to ban social gatherings and as a result church attendance due to Covid-19, my place as a pastor’s wife has shifted greatly and my roles downplayed. On a day like this, I would have had many things calling for my attention—a needy baby, a shirt, and a dress that requires ironing and house chores. Then my phone would ring and the person on the other end, a congregant, wants to know what time I will get to the church because she wants to talk to me before we start preparing for the Sunday service.
Now, the ministry set up has changed and we are keeping in touch with our members through platforms such as Facebook Live, WhatsApp Groups, Zoom, and calls, which if you ask me, are all less impactful compared to physical meetings. I miss holding hands with other believers when praying and singing our hearts out during the praise and worship session.
Now that I am mostly at home, I have also had the time to reflect on my position as a pastor’s wife.
Nothing prepares you more for this role. You read materials and books, memorise quotes and lines from various authors, but once you get into it, you realise how unique the journey is.
There are some common experiences, though. The expectations, the somewhat lonely journey, and the burden we carry for our families and church. But every day is a blessed one. The thrill of serving the congregants and ministering alongside my husband is alive. It is always amazing to look back and see all the things that have unfolded in my eyes – the needs met, the changed lives and the miracles performed. It’s a journey – one set in joy, surprises, and trying times. These tides make it unique.
I grew up in church and in the front line of the children’s ministry. I recited verses, led the prayers, and had dreams that my parents concluded were signs and visions. I was chosen to serve the church, they told me. That dictated my place in Christian unions, abbreviated as CU, and the choice for dating partners. Even before meeting my husband, I had not dated anyone outside the gospel ministry.
I was a first-year diploma student at Mount Kenya University when I met him. He was in his final year of study but remained a regular minister during our CU fellowships. As one of the CU leaders, I would interact with him during those visitations and after a couple of months, we started dating.
‘How is life as a pastor’s wife?’ This is probably where my story should have started because this is a question asked many times and especially during these unprecedented times. And I know why the question keeps recurring— it is because of the expectations that plague this undefined role.
You are expected to be perfect, all-time righteous and at a time like this, be actively present in the lives of the members of your church. The anticipation and criticism of pastors’ wives have doubled since the pandemic frost.
On social media, I have come across posts expressing disappointment in us.
‘Why are they not organising food drives or paying frequent visits to those whose lives have been upended by the pandemic?’ There’s an unspoken belief among some people that if it’s not on social media, it’s not happening.
However, as a church minister, I have been keeping tabs with the members of our church, a wonderful group of people I must say. Ours is a small congregation and we are more like a family.
When we first got married, I was a primary school teacher and he was the principal of a start-up college. One evening, he told me, ‘I feel that it’s time we focused all our attention to the church.’ He meant that we should quit our jobs.
In my mind, two thoughts were seeking an audience, ‘okay, quit our jobs to plant a church? And, then what?’ ‘What will we be doing during weekdays?’ I was frightened but still hopeful.
I spoke to a few pastors’ wives, who encouraged and reminded me that one of the attributes that make up our responsibility is living by faith. Thankfully, my husband is an author of eight motivational books so, through the sales of the books, he would make money to see us through. Our friends and family were also very supportive and they still are. To supplement our income and keep myself busy, I decided to start the clothing business.
However, when the pandemic struck, the hustle went under. So I have resorted to selling clothes online and offering great discounts to attract customers. At the moment, my husband is designing online posters for other pastors who have been holding online meetings. This has been an income opening for us.
We are also suffering just like anyone else. There are those who think that as pastors, we are doing okay. When people reach out to us for essentials, I sometimes get jittery. What do you tell them when your business has also crumbled?
Nowadays, there are many women desiring to get married to a gospel minister. I hear that many times. You get the front row seat, a faithful husband (he is a conveyor of the word and evangel, right?), but they need to know that this is different from other professions. There are days you will have to dig deep into your pockets to support the church or its members, carry other person’s burdens, and spend more time away from your home.
It is a sacrifice. One that is messy and fulfilling at the same time.”
Source: Saturday Magazine