NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Jennifer Landrith and Rachel Lovingood decided to begin a Bible study for staff wives.
As they explored possible resources, “too many of them just said what to do,” said Landrith, whose husband David is senior pastor at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn. “[N]ot many of them said anything about how to live as a minister’s wife. We obviously wanted to use the Bible as our foundation for the book, but as we began working, we decided the need was for a Bible study, not a book of advice.”
Then, said Lovingood, whose husband Jeff is student pastor at the church, “When we got into it, we decided if this were good for our ministers’ wives, it’d be good for other ministers’ wives too.”
The aim of the Bible study, as Lovingood put it: “To encourage wives with the Word. We want it to be empowering, real and relevant.”
The result: “In Our Shoes,” published by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Landrith and Lovingood were among the featured speakers at the “Between Us Ministers’ Wives” conference hosted by LifeWay’s women’s events area March 12-13 in Nashville, Tenn. The event preceded a Beth Moore Living Proof Live event for ministers’ wives.
One of the key topics Landrith and Lovingood address in the Bible study is the “calling” on the life of a minister’s wife.
“Some people don’t really like the word ‘calling,'” Landrith said. “We tend to think about calling in terms of how our husbands decided on their particular jobs. But the word ‘calling’ applies to all believers.”
Landrith and Lovingood categorize a minister’s wife’s calling into four descriptions:
1. A specific calling — The woman felt a clear, distinct call to ministry.
2. A general calling — The woman felt called to serve but didn’t know specifically in what capacity.
3. An unexpected calling — The woman was surprised by the call to ministry.
4. An impersonal calling — The woman saw the calling to ministry as her husband’s job that doesn’t apply to her.
“How she views her calling is going to influence how she views her role,” Lovingood said.
The women also address a list of “hot topic” questions, such as the financial strain that can come with serving in ministry; developing friendships with other women in the church; and balancing home life and church participation.
In its eight chapters, In Our Shoes addresses the blessings and influence unique to a minister’s wife. In addition to the Bible study material, it provides helpful information on everything from buying deacon gifts to cooking for unexpected company.
It also gives suggestions on connecting with other ministers’ wives by means such as hosting a monthly party for the staff wives in the church; planning a community-wide dinner, picnic or tea for ministers’ wives; forming an online community; or creating a ministers’ wives book club.
Polly House is a corporate communications specialist and editor of Facts & Trends magazine at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Access the “In Our Shoes” blog at http://inourshoesthestudy.wordpress.com/.