By Gbenga Osinaike
Behind the glamorous pictures of pastors and their wives on bill boards, church posters and journals; there are strong indications that not all are enjoying sweet homes.
Investigations carried out by our correspondent show that wives of some pastors especially top pastors are suffering in silence while their husbands on the other hand are also finding it difficult to flow with them.
The consequence is that some pastors now even wish their wives death while some have conveniently perfected ways of having extra-marital relationship while abandoning their wives. Unfortunately, many of the women going through turbulent times prefer to keep their woes out of public glare while their husbands too have perfected ways of equaling the deceptive game. They would rather paint an “all is well” picture to the outside world.
What is however worrisome is that there are prayer meetings where pastors invoke death on their wives.
An evangelist, Wale Olugbenro told our correspondent that he was shocked to his bones when he participated in prayer meeting at the Ikoyi prayer mountain when a popular televangelist called a prayer point asking men who wanted their wives dead in a matter of days to raise their hands.
“I was shocked when more than half of the men at the prayer meeting who were more of pastors raised their hands. I could not continue in that meeting. The men were called out and the televangelist prayed asking that God will heed their request.”
Olugbenro who runs an independent evangelistic ministry said in his 20 years of ministry he had not experienced anything like that. “The implication of what happened in that prayer meeting is that all is not well in many homes. I think sometimes the untimely death of some pastors’ wives could be traced to these evil prophetic prayers rendered in some prayer mountains.” He said.
Beyond the satanic prayers being prayed against this class of women is the glaring cases of loneliness that many of them are going through and the threat some of them face from strange women who are eyeing their position as the first lady of the church.
A particular General Overseer (names withheld) who lost his wife a few years ago was thrown off balance when some women in the church were literally fighting to marry him after his wife’s demise. The G.O had to settle for a woman who had been helping his family before the wife died to fence off the competition and clampdown on the agitation of the ambitious women.
The undue lust for the position of the first lady in churches perhaps informed the decision of many General Overseers who lost their wives to look for women outside their assemblies.
The new wife of the General Overseer of Revival Assembly, Apostle Anselm Madubko is from Kenya; that of Pastor Odukoya is from South Africa. The General Overseer of Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor Williams Kumuyi had to marry a sister who had been living in the UK when his former wife died while the recently wedded Prophet Kayode Abiara married from the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry when he wanted to remarry after his former wife’s demise.
The issue of marriage and remarriage however is just one of the many issues in the homes of church leaders. But our findings reveal that many of the women suffer because they do not understand the full spiritual implication of the call of their husbands. And their husbands too are to blame. Also, many of them think being the wife of a pastor confers the title of a pastor on them automatically. This is worrisome and perhaps the reason many of them face spiritual attacks and sometimes untimely death.
For those who have earned the call to ministry over the years through their activities and being able to stay under the mentorship of their husbands it has been a smooth sail. But that still has not shielded them from being victims of church politics, satanic attack and the indiscretion of many church members.
A prophetess, Margaret Mayaki noted in an interview that many pastors who have challenges with their husbands are pastors who feel threatened by the progress of their wives while in some other cases their wives seem not to fit into the billing of a pastor’s wife. “I think the challenge arise because some pastors married before being pastors. Their wives did not bargain for their new status so there are bound to be challenges especially when such women are not spiritually equipped for the role they are expected to play. I think it’s one area the church has to look into.”
The President of Grace Missions International, Pastor Tokunbo Emmanuel expressed great dismay at the situation in the homes of many pastors noting that it is not exaggeration to say many leaders and pastors are going through trying and challenging times in their homes. “It is true many pastors’ homes are challenged and this is due to multiple factors. One of such reasons is because some women in church see their pastors’ wives as not being qualified to occupy that position so they scheme for the position. I think the role of the wife of a pastor is an endangered one. She is the one who bears the consequences of all the decisions carried out in the church. She makes sacrifices and suffer a lot of things silently. The husband on the other is busy taking care of the flock and sometimes gives little attention to the home. So when the wife now wants to assert herself she becomes a bad person in the eyes of the people her husband is pastoring”
Emmanuel who has been in ministry for over 30 years however notes that some women are also responsible for the problem they encounter in their homes. “There are cases of women, like the case of Jim Baker’s wife in the US who was the one putting undue pressure on her husband, who create the template for trouble in their homes. But he however noted that no matter the trouble, pastors should not result to praying death for their wives. “If it is getting to that I think the pastor should rather seek for counsel and take a break from the marriage rather than wishing death for his wife.”
The cleric observes further that not every woman can be a pastor’s wife. “That is why it is important for any servant of God who wants to marry to take time to seek the face of God while every woman who wants to marry a pastor should also be ready for the attendant challenges which I think are not insurmountable. But for those who have already married before they get into ministry, I will suggest they take time to get counsel when things are going awry. The church should begin to have a system of conflict management to help pastors who have challenges. As it is many pastors are lonely. They don’t know where to go and sometimes pride would not allow them open up on the pains they are going through in their homes”
Citing a case he is currently handling, he said, “That some pastors pray death for their wives is shocking but the truth is that the situation we find ourselves these days is worrisome. There is a particular case of a couple I know very well. The husband runs a church but yet the husband packed out of the matrimonial home to live with another woman. He abandoned his wife and his only child. So cases like this indeed calls for prayers and the church should begin to build mechanisms that would help pastors out of problems.”
In his book, “The mature pastor’s wife and female minister,” Dr. Francis Akin John provides an exegesis on the challenges faced by women in ministry painting a graphic image of the depth of the problem.
He narrated another example of a meeting where some pastors indicated publicly that they would want their wives dead pointing out that “though not justified, yet it appeared that those pastors see the death of their wives as the only thing that can give them freedom to marry ‘better’ wives.
He explained in the book which runs through about 135 pages that many women are failing in their homes because they do not understand the full implication of being the wives of pastors noting as well that some women set out to frustrate the ministry of their husbands.
Dr. John who is the president of International Church Growth Ministries explained in the book that the genesis of crisis in many homes of pastors can be traced to inability of both the pastor and his wife to define roles and the lack of preparedness on the part of the wife to absorb the shock that comes from being a pastor’s wife.
While sharing several instances of immaturity displayed by pastors’ wives he devotes ample space to explore the qualities of a pastor’s wife, how the wife can impact the ministry of her husband, pitfalls to avoid as a minister’s wife and how the woman can make the ministry of her husband enjoyable among many other things.
He noted in the book that many of the challenges in homes are outcomes of the woman’s pride, rebellion, disobedience and stubbornness to her husbands.” In a later interview with our correspondent, Akin John noted that the pastor also contribute a lot to the problems in the homes but that God has built in the woman the capacity to keep the home.
To paraphrase his position in the book: “There are cases of those who are over-committed to their career. There are those who are seized by the spirit of comparison. They compare their husbands with others. Some pastor’s wives are also bitter against their husbands and complain of lack of care and love. They forget that being a pastor does not go with prosperity and unending flow of money. There are pastors’ wives that are also being oppressed by demons. Some have amorous relationship with male church members while many listen to wrong counsels and also deny their husbands of sex.”
To avoid the usual troubles faced in such homes Akin John counsels that the pastor’s wife should relate well with church members noting that there are all kinds of church members: There are the proud members, the green snake who want to manipulate you, the user, the backslider, the killer and the well-meaning members.
Going by these kinds of members he suggests in the book that the pastor’s wife should not be too familiar with church members, should not have skeleton in her cupboard, should not borrow money from them, should not be a talkative, should not be slave of food and should not allow members to play her role in the family.
He counseled further that the pastor’s wife should comport herself well in the church and show support for her husband’s ministry. “The pastor’s wife should never say she has not been called. She should believe in her husband’s ministry, encourage him when things are going bad, support him financially and help raise the children. He should regularly pray for him and create a conducive home for him and also should not give him room to look elsewhere for sex. It is the duty of the wife to make her husband happy and give him pleasure in the bedroom.”
Giving a clinical perspective to the issue, Dr. Mrs. Nike Akindayo observes that in many cases the wife of the pastor is the focal point in the church. “The pastor’s wife is sometimes at the receiving end of the annoyance of people with God. There are members of the church who also think the wife of the pastor does not deserve to be his wife. They believe the pastor is their pastor and as such his wife should not monopolize his attention. That is why the pastor’s wife has to seek to develop herself because she is the thermostat by which people will measure the success of the church. The expectations from the pastor’s wife and her children is high. So she has to keep improving on her life and relationship with people.”
Akindayo who is also a counsellor however described praying death for one’s wife as witchcraft. “That some pastors pray death for their wives is abnormal. It is even ungodly to pray death for anybody not to talk of somebody who is your wife. That is one area that the church in its entirety has to be concerned about. Our seminaries and churches should begin to look into the area of professional counselling for church leaders to purge them of this evil tendencies. That your wife is not good or giving you trouble is not enough ground to pray death for her.”