(Photo: Christian Post/ Stephanie Samuel)
SAN DIEGO – Renewal Ministries Executive Vice President Jani Ortlund urged wives at the Defined by God conference not to begrudge their biblical role as a helper to their husbands.
The title of helper is first bestowed to Eve in Genesis 2:18, which reads "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'"
While some shun the term as one of inferiority and weakness, Ortlund revealed that the "helper" title actually denotes power.
"God gave you to him as a helper. Don't cringe at that word, dear sisters," admonished Ortlund. "That word is a strong word. If you're looking for help, you don't go to someone who is weak."
As helpers, Ortlund said wives aid and support their husbands with all the strength, wisdom, experience and spiritual gifts they possess.
Additionally wives are a vital part of church ministry. Pastors' wives have a special mandate from God, she stated.
"It's as if God was thinking, 'Mmm, I've created this man, and I'm going to call him into ministry. Now how can I help him? How can I show him my love, support and care for him? Oh I know, I'm going to create this gorgeous woman and I'm going to cause her path to cross his and I'm going to ignite a flame in the two of their hearts, and then I'm going to show that man my favor through his woman," Ortlund explained.
Ortlund is also a pastor's wife. Her husband, Ray, is the pastor of Immanuel Church.
She told the pastors' wives gathered at the conference in San Diego, Calif., that encouraging and supporting their pastor husband is a key part of their calling.
"Your most important ministry in this whole world is to your husband. It's not to your church. It's not even to your children. It's to your husband first and foremost," she charged.
Ortlund encouraged wives to "embrace God's call" and be counselors and comforters to their spouses.
She acknowledged that being a helper to a pastor husband can be tough because of the unique difficulties facing church leaders. Some of these difficulties include fending off gossip, coping with busy work schedules and handling criticisms. However, she believes the reward is well worth the trouble.
"It's very hard to explain the unique strains that are on our men. But God will use those very strains in our lives to build a romance that not only fills you, but can be an example to your kids and a joy to your church," Ortlund stated.
Ortlund was one of nine guest speakers at Faithlife Women's Defined by God conference at Shadow Mountain Community Church in California.
The conference focused on "refreshing pastors' wives for ministry" with seminars discussing topics such as cultivating supportive friendships, dealing with the challenging home lives and praying for your husband and church. The conference began Thursday and ended Saturday afternoon.