Pastors' wives are attending a conference in California for a chance to escape the pressures of their position and find support and fellowship.
Pete Heiniger, the executive director of the Defined by God conference, said pastors' wives need a supportive network to help shoulder the tremendous responsibilities associated with their titles.
The conference website said of pastors' wives, "Your husband is a pastor and that means you're the woman that everyone in church looks to. You face conflict and gossip. You balance family and work life. You raise children and counsel adults. And that's not easy."
And yet "there's not a lot of support and help," Heiniger said.
"The one place you can go for help – the church – is where your husband works. It's not as though you can just go to church and talk about your hurts because it's like talking about your life at work," he explained.
Additionally, pastors' wives feel a lot of pressure to step into a leadership role and behave in certain way, said Heiniger, who was a pastor for nine years.
"I think there is just a lot of expectation that goes both ways – expectations from the husband and from the wife as well," he shared.
The Defined by God Conference, taking place in San Diego from Thursday to Saturday, is meant to give these first ladies a place to share their experiences and learn from each other.
The conference is a new endeavor from a relatively new online forum by Logos Bible Software called Faithlife Women. The Christian women's network is not even a year old.
However, Heiniger said Faithlife Women saw an opportunity because most pastors' wives conferences are simply add-ons to pastor conferences. "We kind of wanted to speak into this niche group," he said.
Faithlife Women also hopes the conference will jump start plans to create a network, tools and programs exclusively for pastors' wives.
Faithlife Women utilized Logos' relationship with pastors to find conference speakers.
Guest speakers will include Amy Groeschel, wife of LifeChurch.TV Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel; Lauren Chandler, wife of Village Church Elder Matt Chandler; and Lisa Chan, host of the True Beauty series and wife of church planter and Crazy Love author Francis Chan.
Conference topics will include "Community: Battling Isolation," "Praying for Your Husband and the Church" and "Refining Your Romance."
"We just want to have a nice broad cross-section," said Heiniger.
Registration is free online and at the door to off-set the costs of traveling to the conference's location, Shadow Mountain Community Church in San Deigo. So far, 690 have registered to attend.