Divorce due to Ministry


Greetings friends in Christ,

I just learned that a good friend and his wife are getting divorced. He is an Assembly of God minister that runs a homeless halfway house. His wife and two kids live in the house with 20+ homeless people, who spend their time looking for work, in bible study and visiting with counselors. The house has been successful with very little trouble. However, his wife does not want to be part of the ministy 100% of the time as they are now. Husband cannot leave it as he feels it is his calling from God, and knows quite well that Scripture says, Jesus did not come to bring peace and that no one can love even family before God.

Would it be proper to recommend to him to back off his ministerial work to save his family, even though he knows he is in this ministry at the prompting of the Holy Spirit?

Or should he be commended for putting Jesus first, in serving the poor despite the rejection from his wife?

Thank you for your opinions!

Sincerely in Christ,



Even a bishop must “look to the ways of his household”. It is unscionable that a married man require his wife to share a home with that many people. The Holy Spirit isn’t prompting this, his pride is.


He’s neglecting his family’s needs. That is a grave failure as a man.

This is part of why Catholics don’t have married priests… it interferes.


to answer:

Would it be proper to recommend to him to back off his ministerial work to save his family, even though he knows he is in this ministry at the prompting of the Holy Spirit?


No, the Holy Spirit is NOT the author of contradiction. Making a vow before God and his bride to love honor and cherish his bride as Christ loved the Church is a higher imperative than his perception or trying to justify abandoning his obligations as a Christian to his wife and his children with his personal “vision” of ministry. The first duty of a father and husband is to the wife and children and this is by Divine design.

To allow his marriage to crumble in the face of his perception of “What the Spirit is calling” effectively calls the Holy Spirit an authof of contradiction, to put it nicely.


What everybody else said. I know of several married sheltered directors, and while their spouses and children do go to there to work, they have a home, away from everybody else. Even the Jesus People in Chicago, who live in community and give a good deal of their lives to the poor and disenfranchised, have their own apartment for the married couple and their children, even if it is small. They also strive to ensure balance in their lives, and work on rotating shifts.


He can’t quote those lines from scripture about Jesus separating family in this case. Nowhere does Jesus say He’s come to separate husband from wife. Children from parents, brothers & sisters etc, but never spouses.


:amen: This is the exact reason why priests should not marry. You cannot serve 2 masters. A priest is espoused to the Christ and the Church the same as a man to his wife.
This man needs to live up to the vows he made on his wedding day. Doesn’t he also realize the danger he is he putting his family in making them live with so many strangers.


The Assemblies of God have ministers and over those ministers are Presbyters. Advise your friend to go to his Presbyter. The A/G is a very pro-marriage group.

Prayers for this marriage, and that this man may do the right thing.


I agree with everyone else.

The Holy Spirit won’t call ANYONE to minister to the point of divorce.

He’s got a calling for a certain ministry, he’s got a wife and kids. He has to make that all work together.


Hey, how about calling the Wife to fulfill her obligations as well? She is married to a minister and knows the duties he might face. It seems like he’s getting the full brunt of the anger here. She is breaking a covenant, not him. He is doing what he feels God has called him to do. She is supposed to be his help mate and partner. Sorry, I see her as the big-wrong in this.

Just because you don’t like your spouse’s job doesn’t give you the right to divorce him or demand he get a new job.


Husband cannot leave it as he feels it is his calling from God

Nope. It is a calling of Vanity, Pride.
He likes the fact that people follow him, admire him, listen to him.

To be a true apostle of our Lord, we each have to be the best version of ourselves in our everyday life, in the state we are in.
If he is a husband and a father, it is inexcusable for him to neglect his family in order to preach.
What is the point of preaching to someone else if his own life is disordered?


Sounds to me like he isn’t loving his wife as Christ loved the Church. If he got married, marriage is his vocation - FIRST.

Tell him to read more St. Paul on what HUSBANDS are supposed to do.


Sorry, like usual, the woman gets a pass here and the man is all in the wrong.

So, when does a calling from God count? When converting? When the Church demands it? This is subjective in nature and each of us is responsible to God for our obedience.

In this case, as a pastor’s wife, she knows what she is getting into. She is wishing to destroy a sacremental union for her own selfishness, at least according to the information we’ve been given.

She’s the one who needs to get herself right with God here.


When does the calling count?

When it does not directly contravene scripture!


I was beginning to think everyone was in lock step here, declaring that the HS could not be responsible for His calling.
Should we also forget that St Peter was married? Jesus demanded a lot from that married man.

Folks we have been given only the barest of details here. Certainly not enough to know the will of the Holy Spirit in this.

Some of what we don’t know:
Have they sought counciling?
How long has this ministry been going on this way?
Was he a minister/called to ministry before they were married?
Plus we no nothing of their particular personalities.

Why must they divorce. Couldn’t they seperate for a time? For prayer, and reflection on their marriage and calling in God’s work.

It just seems that a lot of folks are rushing to a conclusion here.



One of my best friends, who is a Presbyterian Minister, and his first wife got divorced for similar reasons - in a sense. He is a fantastic Minister but his Church didn’t provide for adequate staff so he was always working crazy hours to build up the ministry.

There were other things but I know that was a major part of it. After the divorce he was eventually lead to a wonderful women who’s needs were different but there is still the divorce.

Paul tells us that it would be better to not be married, hence our Priests - if we can make that committment. However someone who is already married has taken an Oath before God to Love His wife as Christ loved the Church.

I believe he needs to find a way to continue his ministry but get the family into another living arrangement.



James it isn’t that we are all in lock step, that the wife is always blameless, or that we aren’t pro ministry.

Those are all red herrings.

What we will not and cannot affirm is that God would be the author of contradiction and would call a man “by the Spirit” to dedicated himself more to his personal vision of ministry to the point where the wife (whom he vowed “till death do us part”) and his two children shoul feel compelled to have to leave as he does not do what is every married (even lay!) man and father’s first pastoral duty as a husband and father: to take care of one’s family.

God is not going to say “Break those vows of a sacred bond to do more ministry” Such a contradiction - that what God has set apart this man may choose to rent asunder - would, on the face of it, be calling God a bit of a liar. He simply is not.

Again, not that she could or should be construed as blameless. I am really not speaking to this situation particularly (we don’t know 10% of what is going on there!) but when it comes to the question “Should a man divorce his wife and leave his children to be a better full time minister” I just cannot say yes.

As to Saint Peter - we know he was married, but not if his wife was still alive. Tradition generally tells us no, she was not.


So you are saying here that the wife “feels compelled” to leave due to “his personal vision of ministry”. But it is equally possible that the wife is rejecting God’s call for her to follow her husband because God has called them BOTH to this ministry. Thus God has not contradicted himself, but rather the wife has rejected God’s call.

Some swords have two edges you see.



Surely it isn’t all or nothing. There must be a way to compromise.


GhostMan and JRKH,

Normally I am right with ya on not being soft on women. But, this family has no home of their own, no privacy, no time or space away from the ministry. If the wife has expressed her need for some distance, and some family time and space away from the shelter, but her husband refuses to take her needs into consideration and uses his calling as a trumping tactic, then just how long is she supposed to put up with that?

Call me a bad Christian, but I could not live that way. I would want and need time away and space of my own from the ministry, just for my family. And I sure would not feel very loved or cherished by a man who ignored my request for those reasonable things.

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