Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, author, and former newspaper columnist, with degrees in Psychology and Biblical Studies.
Not bashing pastor's wives
This Hub is not bashing pastor's wives but addresses an issue that has caught on like wildfire and is running rampant throughout many churches. Lost souls are being swept aside in order to pamper first ladies as if they were spoiled bougie princesses. The Bible says to give honor where it is due but does not promote extravagant gatherings where congregants are required to give large sums of money to the first lady. Everyone will not agree with what is written here but there are those who are questioning certain aspects of the church they attend. The information that you will read is for those people to realize they are not crazy and that things are getting out of control.
Not in the Bible
You will not find the terms pastor's wife, first lady or lady elect in the Bible because these are man-made terms. The wife of the pastor I had for 20 years was a hard church worker who played the piano, helped with vacation Bible school, and Christmas and Easter programs. She also hosted parties at her home for the youth of the church. After this pastor died his successor had a wife that sat in the audience and did not have an active role except serving communion as a deaconess. Both of these pastors were paid salaries and took care of their families with what they made. They never asked for extra but the church members did give them a free will offering on anniversaries and birthdays. These two pastor's wives were friendly and approachable and I admired them. Today some pastors wive do not even associate with congregants but expect money and lavish birthday gifts.
Modern day money racket
The first time I experienced over-the-top giving for a pastor's wife was around 2000. A guest preacher said that if his members loved him they would give his wife gifts for Christmas and on her birthday. My then-pastor addressed this in the next service. He said that the church took care of him and it was his job to take care of his wife and children. He did not expect his congregation to do anything extra for his wife. Even so, a few years later the church clerk announced that she was presenting the pastor's wife with a check from the church for her birthday. This was done behind closed doors and the members had no know idea of the dollar amount of the check. A few years later during a service at a different church, the pastor announced that he expected his members to give $5,000 to his wife for her upcoming birthday. He said that the money was in the house and he would not accept less. This was a congregation of less than 100 regular members who were working-class people. That type of money was not in the house and he did not get it. This pastor of a small congregation asked for such a large sum for his wife because he was modeling what his spiritual father had done and this is where I believe this money racket began.
It's all about the money
This pastor said that Bishop IV Hilliard was his father in the ministry and earlier in that year Bishop Hilliard came under fire because of what he had done for his wife Bridgette's birthday. He hosted a lavish event at an expensive hotel and anyone who attended had to pay $100. He also said attendees were to all bring a monetary donation for his wife and not to purchase gifts.I realized that my then pastor was modeling his ministry after IV Hilliard and indeed more was to come. A few Sundays later I arrived at church to see that the sanctuary was decorated with balloons and streamers. There was no prayer, and no scripture was read. A praise team from a neighboring church was there and they sang not for the glory of God but for the first lady because it was her birthday. There was no sermon that day, no altar prayer and no call for salvation. The entire service was about the birthday of the pastor's wife. I was shocked because what if someone had come that Sunday who needed prayer or salvation, they did not get it. The purpose of a church service for all of my life was to encourage believers and lead sinners to Jesus. On that day nothing was said about the Savior in the building that was supposed to represent his church. The excess for first ladies is the shiny new coin and yet another way the prosperity preachers get money from congregants so they can say look what the Lord has done. On Brigette Hilliard's 60th birthday her husband actually gave a list of expensive items that attendees were supposed to choose from. Whatever happened to giving from your heart what you can afford? Please click the above highlighted links for further understanding.
There is nothing wrong with a church expressing appreciation for the pastor and his wife, if they choose. What we have today is pastors setting these things in motion for their wives and demanding that the church comply. A local community newspaper now has almost monthly announcements of First Ladies night in neighboring churches.I am also hearing people complain in person and on social media that their pastor practically forced them to honor his wife. The Bible says to give honor not demand it. Scripture also says good shepherds look out for the sheep. What we are experiencing today is small church pastors lusting after the life of megachurch leaders and trying to force their parishioners to give it to them. I recall a church where a minister bowed in front of the first lady and screamed twice, "I honor you, I honor you." That particular pastor's wife did not participate in any church ministries and did not attend any prayer services. She only taught when her husband was out of town. She basically sat on the pulpit and the members did not see her light shinning within the ministry. I was puzzled by why the minister was bowing and screaming about honor?
Keep Christ first
It has not been my intention to offend but to bring to light a growing issue in the body of Christ. Jesus said to take care of the poor, the widows, strangers in the land and the needy. He did not tell anyone to give excess to pastors and first ladies who are greedy. The over the top emphasis on pastor's wives takes time, money, and attention from the weightier matters of the gospel that the Bible talks about. If church members or the women in the congregation get together and decide to do something nice for their pastor's wife that's a good thing. Pastors should not ask for specific dollar amounts for their wives. neither should they misuse the worship hour that was intended to save souls. Congregants are displeased and some have left churches because the focus is on raising money for the first family and no longer centered on Christ. Wake up sleeping church. Why would God want you to give money or expensive gifts to a woman who is a millionaire rather than helping the poor? Please stop being lambs led astray and ask the Holy Spirit.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Cheryl E Preston
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on July 18, 2021:
No it's not and thank you for reading.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2021:
That is certainly not the teachings of Jesus.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 16, 2021:
I can sure imagine people leaving the church with the type of behavior you described. I appreciate learning about what is happening in some church. It is really sad as that is not why we attend church. Thanks for writing this article, Cheryl.