When I was a young husband and father of two small children, I didn’t think seriously of the needs my family would have should I be taken home to be with the Lord.
After all, we are told the Lord would always provide. I think this gave me the excuse to avoid thinking of what would happen to my family if I was no longer here.
Before becoming a pastor, I served in teaching ministries for 20+ years, then 30+ years as a pastor. And now, I’ve been with Poimen Ministries for about 10 years.
One day as I read through 1 Timothy and several years had passed in my role as husband and father, the Holy Spirit grabbed me by the collar and said, “This is for you, pay attention!”
I’m sure many of you have experienced this from time to time. You read and teach certain passages over and over with the intent of helping someone but forget we also need help and guidance.
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)
I had always taught this message with an emphasis on dead-beat dads. It was my wake-up call to them. I worked hard to provide my family with a home, clothing, food, and other necessities.
But that day, I realized providing for them extended beyond our final breath.
Several questions flooded my mind—
For how long? Will our church help them? How will they have money for daily expenses? How will they pay the mortgage? What would their life look like if I was no longer here?
I certainly didn’t want to be, in the eyes of the Lord, "worse than an unbeliever." As tight as finances were, I knew I needed to do something to provide for my family’s future because I knew at that moment, I wasn’t.
It began with investing in life insurance. I knew this step would provide the monetary resources my family would need if I was called to be with the Lord.
However, years later, I had other concerns about providing for my household, especially my wife. Our children were grown and living on their own, so I now had different concerns if I died.
I began to wonder, what care would my wife have from the church when I am gone? If she’s actively involved in a leadership role, say with women’s ministry, what transitional process will take place when the new pastor and his wife come in?
There is no “one answer fits all” solution. Your wife may not be in a leadership role, or the new pastor’s wife may not be interested in such a role and would be happy to have someone else lead.
Whatever the particulars, I didn't want my grieving wife, who has been so involved and serving alongside me, feeling like, “now what?”
What's a pastor to do?
I would counsel you as a pastor to talk about this with your wife and for the two of you to meet with your board to create a clear transitional process to avoid confusion and frustration in a time of grief.
This would provide a way to help your wife grieve, continue to serve in ministry if she feels called to do so, and avoid feeling like she’s in competition with someone new.
Now, during your tenure as a pastor such a process may never be needed. But just like car insurance, you may never use it but should the need arise, you’ll be glad you have it.
Poimen Ministries endorses and recommends a ministry called Pastors Legacy Plan to help pastors develop a well-rounded plan.
I encourage you to visit Pastors Legacy Plan as the first step in creating the legacy you desire as a means of providing for your wife and family, as the Lord expects.
Click on the link to find out more about Pastors Legacy Plan
Poimen Ministries is committed to strengthening pastors to strengthen churches.
We have a team of pastors with many years of experience who can assist senior/lead pastors with assessments, transitions, coaching, mentoring, and assisting with other areas of ministry.
If you'd like to know more how we can serve you, send us an email– firstname.lastname@example.org