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In each episode of this 10-episode video series, hosts Kristen Wetherell and Kari Olson invite a pastor’s wife to discuss specific topics pertaining to this unique ministry calling.
If you are a pastor’s wife, an elder’s wife, a seminary student’s wife, or the wife of someone in full-time ministry, this series is for you. We want to encourage you to have a renewed sense of joy and assurance in who God is and what he is doing in your life.
Join us—we’ve saved you a front row seat.
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As wives of pastors, how do we walk through a spiritually dry season yet still pour into the people God has placed in our lives? What do we do when we forget that we are first and foremost a daughter of God before we are a pastor’s wife? And where can we go to find refreshment and joy when we become spiritually tired and in need of hope?
In this first episode of Front Row Seat, hosts Kristen Wetherell and Kari Olson talk with Joanna Kubiak about how to prioritize our own spiritual health and walk closely with God as we minister to our local church and run the race set before us.
Joanna Kubiak is a pastor’s wife who has served in a variety of women’s ministries roles for more than 37 years. Joanna has led spiritual formation groups, wives’ and moms’ groups, small group Bible studies, and mentoring partnerships. In 2016, she began her true ministry passion, 27 Pastors’ Wives Gatherings—a network of online and in-person support groups for pastors’ wives based on principles found in Psalm 27. Joanna loves the woods and grabs every opportunity she can to connect with nature. Joanna and her husband, Tom, have three married adult children and seven grandchildren.
Episode 2: Engaging God’s Calling
and People’s Expectations
with Jani Ortlund
“Rejoice that we have a Savior who gets us and will see us through.” —Jani Ortlund
If someone asked you how you were doing as a pastor’s wife, you most likely wouldn’t respond with all the ways you’re “acing it.” Most of the time, as a pastor’s wife (and just as a human), we feel inadequate, like we’re not living up to certain expectations—whether it’s other people’s or our own. Finding that all-illusive “balance” of ministry, marriage, motherhood, and personal devotion can be challenging and discouraging. So how do we fight discouragement and pursue holiness instead?
Engaging God’s calling on our lives and responding to people’s expectations starts with admitting our need for Jesus. Jesus isn’t surprised by the challenges we face as pastors’ wives. He wants to carry us through those challenges and lift that heavy burden of striving. He isn’t standing in judgment, asking us why we aren’t measuring up to the pressures and expectations of others. Jesus sees, he’s with us, and he reminds us we can rely on his power to accomplish what we cannot on our own.
In this episode of Front Row Seat, Kristen Wetherell and Kari Olson talk with Jani Ortlund about how pastors’ wives can respond with wisdom and Christlikeness to the expectations of others and our own. This conversation aims to remind us we can rest in the grace and strength of Jesus—the only One who can do and be all things to all people.
Jani Ortlund is executive vice president of Renewal Ministries and loves spending her energies connecting women with the Word of God. Serving Jesus Christ through writing, speaking, and discipling are her chief passions in life. Jani is the podcast host of He Restores My Soul and author of various books including His Loving Law, Our Lasting Legacy and Help! I’m Married to My Pastor. Jani and Ray—pastor of Immanuel Church—have four married children and fourteen grandchildren, and minister in Nashville, TN.
Episode 3: Supporting Our Husbands
with Susan Yates
Being a pastor’s wife (or ministry leader’s wife) is a unique joy and blessing, and it also comes with unique challenges. Your husband’s calling as a pastor is to shepherd his own family, the church staff, and those God has sovereignly placed in his congregation—this is a high calling.
With all our husbands walk through in their roles as pastors, sometimes it’s hard to know how we can provide a space of rest and reprieve from the work of ministry through our home, family, and marriage. We love our husbands and we want to support them, so how can we do this well, with the Lord’s help?
In this episode of Front Row Seat, Kristen Wetherell and Kari Olson invite Susan Yates—a pastor’s wife of more than 50 years—to discuss how pastors’ wives can support their husbands in ministry, marriage, and family life. You’ll be encouraged by this conversation, as it’s full of biblical and practical wisdom on loving your husband well and supporting him in ministry while prioritizing your own relationship with God.
As pastors’ wives, we have the privilege of serving alongside our husbands to care for our local church. While there are seasons when we feel confident about our role and where we serve, there are also times when we just don’t know how to answer the question, “So, what do you do here?”
Maybe we’ve had opportunities to serve our church in ways that are in line with our interests and spiritual giftings, and we might also find ourselves in a season where we don’t yet know exactly how to love our church in a tangible way. Or, maybe we’ve given everything we have for our local church and feel burnt out, unappreciated, or discouraged.
Amid all of these variables, one thing remains true about our calling as pastors’ wives and followers of Jesus—no matter where we serve or what we do, the love of Jesus propels us to love our local church body, and as we look to him, may we receive his strength and encouragement, knowing he has gone before us.
In this episode of Front Row Seat, Kristen Wetherell and Kari Olson talk with Megan Hill about how the love of Christ helps us love the local church with grace and humility. Megan is a pastor’s wife and managing editor for The Gospel Coalition who is passionate about helping pastors’ wives and believers learn to love the local church and experience one of our greatest privileges and highest joys.
As we raise pastors’ kids, how do we model faith, repentance, steadfastness, and obedience, without placing unnecessary or unrealistic pressures on our children? In our homes, how do we live out the message of the gospel beyond just Sunday mornings?
If you’re a pastor’s wife who has children of any age, you probably need to hear this truth louder than any pressure or expectation surrounding you: God is gracious to you as you raise your kids, he’s gracious toward your children, and his grace is sufficient for you as you journey through every season of raising your kids.
In this episode of Front Row Seat, Kristen Wetherell and Kari Olson talk with Karen Hodge—pastor’s wife and mom of two adult children—about how to extend the grace and love of Jesus to our children who hold the unique role of being a “pastor’s kid.” They discuss practical ways to teach our children how to take their hearts to their Heavenly Father, the importance of our family as our first ministry, and how to be consistent and intentional with our kids—especially during the teen and young adult years. Whatever season of parenting you find yourself in as a pastor’s wife, this conversation is for you.
Karen Hodge is the coordinator for women’s ministry for the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). She loves engaging women in the Scriptures through weekly Bible study, retreats, and conferences. Karen serves alongside her husband, Chris, at Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs. She is the host of the enCourage podcast and, along with Susan Hunt, authored Transformed: Life-Taker to Life-Giverand Life-Giving Leadership. Karen and Chris have two adult children.
Episode 6: Moving to a New Place
with Irene Sun
At first, moving to a new city or church home can feel overwhelming and lonely, especially if we previously felt strongly rooted, comfortable, and familiar with where God had us before. We might even question if we made the right decision or if things will ever feel “normal” again. It takes time.
As pastors’ wives in an unfamiliar season, may we remember that feeling “at home” again requires us to sink deep into God’s grace for us, our husbands, and our kids. He is the constant one amid all the big (and often scary) changes we might be experiencing.
In this episode of Front Row Seat, Kristen Wetherell and Kari Olson invite Irene Sun to discuss the challenges and joys of moving to a new place as a pastor’s wife. Irene shares her story of moving from Chicago to Pittsburg, how prayer was her lifeline through every transition, and the importance of giving thanks to the Lord when we are in a foreign land.
As pastors’ wives, we are acquainted with the scenarios—someone you have invested in and grown to love leaves the church. Maybe someone you thought you could trust suddenly speaks harshly about you behind your back, and now that trust is broken. Someone you’re called to honor is critical of your husband, and now you feel angry. Someone wants to spend time with you, which is wonderful, but you aren’t sure whether to invest in this relationship, because time is limited and there are so many people and needs in front of you. Amid all these scenarios, one thing is true of all of us: we all desire true friendship.
In this episode of Front Row Seat, Kristen Wetherell and Kari Olson talk with Christine Hoover about how to cultivate deep and meaningful friendships as a pastor’s wife. They discuss what friendship really means, the hope we have in Jesus as our truest friend and practical ways to pursue friendships without idealizing or idolizing people.
If you’re a pastor’s wife in a season of loneliness, change, or desire to cultivate deeper relationships with women around you, may this conversation be an encouragement to you!
In this episode of Front Row Seat, Kristen Wetherell and Kari Olson talk with Kristie Anyabwile—pastor’s wife to Thabiti Anyabwile for 31 years—about the importance of continuing to nourish your marriage through every high and every low of life, family, and ministry. Whether you’re newly married or a seasoned pastor’s wife of decades, this conversation is for you.
Is there a specific married couple that comes to your mind when you think of a “power couple”? They’re the couple who lights up a room with their presence and with their stories about life, ministry, and marriage. They’ve walked through everything together—from raising babies to suffering through a chronic illness to trusting God through grief and loss. They love each other fiercely, they show up for their marriage and their community, and they do it all with such grace. That couple—what’s their secret?
As pastor’s wives with marriages and ministries of our own, we know that “the secret” really isn’t a secret. The truth is, we all have the choice to build up or tear down. We have the choice to serve or to demand. We have the choice to pay attention or ignore each other. We have the choice to love or to hate. Left in our own strength, we would be powerless to continually make the right choice to nourish our marriage. But God, through Jesus and his Holy Spirit, infuses our relationship with His grace and His own transforming power. That is the only type of “power couple” we want to be!
Kristie Anyabwile is a pastor’s wife and the mother of Afiya, Eden, and Titus. She joyfully supports her husband of 24 years, Thabiti, as he pastors Anacostia River Church in Southeast Washington, D.C. Kristie enjoys spending time with family, cooking, and discipling women, as well as speaking and writing about marriage, motherhood, and ministry. You can follow her on Twitter at @KAnyabwile.
Episode 9: Navigating Sunday Mornings
with Jen Carter
As pastor’s wives, we get to live out our unique calling every day and in every situation, but one of the most impactful places we get to do this is on Sunday morning at church. Maybe you’re in a season with little kids who get sick often—are Sunday mornings at church few and far between right now? Are you a pastor’s wife in a difficult season where Sunday mornings feel more like work and less like a time of worship?
Wherever you find yourself today, it is sweet to remember that this front-row seat is the high calling of Christ—to serve his church in a particular way and sacrifice in a particular way. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sunday mornings can be difficult and stretching. And yet, we know that they’re a privilege from the Lord.
In this episode of Front Row Seat, Kristen Wetherell and Kari Olson talk with Jen Carter about the beauties and challenges of navigating Sunday mornings as a pastor’s wife. This conversation offers encouragement to keep our eyes fixed on Christ, clinging to him, as we aim to serve our churches and our husbands well.
Jennifer Carter has been involved in Christian ministry for more than 25 years and has a passion for caring for women in ministry, pastors’ wives, and women on the mission field. Jennifer holds a BS degree in applied mathematics from Texas A&M and worked in actuarial consulting before becoming a full-time pastor’s wife and mom of three. In 2002, Jennifer and her husband, Matt Carter, planted The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas. She currently serves as a certified coach at Sagemont Counseling Center in Houston, Texas.
Episode 10: Hearing from Pastors
with Tom Olson & Brad Wetherell
“Are you loved and kept by Jesus?” This was what ran through Tom Olson’s mind when he knew he was called to be a pastor and thought about the woman he would marry one day. He wasn’t looking for someone who felt called to be a “pastor’s wife”, he wanted to marry someone who was called to follow and be loved by Jesus. Brad Wetherell remembers his days in seminary when wise brothers would pray alongside him to find a wife that was called to love and follow Christ—a “partner in ministry.”
For the past nine episodes of Front Row Seat, we’ve heard encouragement and wisdom from pastors’ wives on topics like nourishing our marriages, raising pastors’ kids, cultivating deep relationships, and more. This time, we’ve invited the pastors themselves to join us for a conversation, and we encourage you to invite your husband along, too.
For the final episode of this season of Front Row Seat, Kristen Wetherell and Kari Olson are joined by their husbands, Brad Wetherell and Tom Olson, who serve as campus pastors at The Orchard. They discuss the importance of being partners in ministry as a couple, how seminary students can invite their wives into their learning, following God’s calling together, and how to prioritize each other amid the busyness of raising children and caring for those within the local church.
Brad Wetherell (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, DMin, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the campus pastor of The Orchard in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He also serves on The Gospel Coalition Chicago’s steering committee. Brad is married to Kristen, and they have three children.
Tom Olson (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is the campus pastor at The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Barrington, Illinois. He and his wife, Kari, have three children—Kettie, Tovie, and Tommy.