Pastors Wives Who Play the Piano

pianoThere are a few rules for those women who would be the wife of a fundamentalist pastor. They must look good in jean jumpers; they must have an aptitude for teaching children’s Sunday School; and they must play the piano.

One cannot over-emphasize how important that last requirement is. Not only does it give a church the chance to grab a two-for-one deal on church staff, but the church can also press the pastor’s wife into service as the music teacher at the ubiquitous Fundamentalist Christian School. Not to mention the many command performances at weddings, funerals, and church picnics as well. Free ministry labor is priceless.

On the other side of things, a pastor with a piano-playing wife can always be assured that his personal music standards will always be upheld in the services. “Honey, you need to tone down that left hand in Honey in the Rock. It’s getting a little carried away.”

Until fundamentalists break down and start using pre-recorded music or (horrors!) a band, there will always be a need for pianists. Until then, pastors wives will indubitably be asked to stand in the gap — or at least sit in it on a piano bench.

19 thoughts on “Pastors Wives Who Play the Piano”

  1. If a woman enrolls at Ambassador Baptist College, she will learn to play the piano. This assures that every young lady is qualified to become a pastor’s wife.

  2. “If a woman enrolls at Ambassador Baptist College, she will learn to play the piano. This assures that every young lady is qualified to become a pastor’s wife.”

    Actually, she won’t. At least, not while the current piano teacher is there. You can’t call that banging “music.”

    1. I also do have an aptitude for teaching children’s Sunday School, but I’m not sure how good I look in jean jumpers.

      In some revival meetings, I was SOOO glad I could play the piano and not be under the full manipulative cajoling of the evangelist. I didn’t have to feel pressured into coming forward; after all, SOMEONE had to provide the soft, soothing strains of “All on the Altar”. When I was in high school, I always felt funny when everyone else had their heads bowed for the prayer at the end of the sermon while I was getting up and walking up to the bench and arranging my music. It always seemed vaguely “wrong.”

  3. i have a friend who once was praying for the gift of “piano playing” because she felt like she was being called to be a pastor’s wife. i thought she was nuts. not sure what her husband does now, though i wouldn’t be surprised if he was a pastor.

  4. LOL Yes, I think PKs count. I am one – and play the piano – and oh dear, but this post made me laugh, so thanks! 😀

  5. This is a riot. Spot-on. When my hubby decided he might be interested in me in a permanent way (this was fifteen years ago, mind you, and we’ve had quite a theological journey), he asked . . . “But do you play the piano?” I told him yes, I do. I think that sealed the deal. I didn’t understand at the time why he asked, but after we were engaged for about a year I had traveled to umpteen revivals, meetings, and whatevers and realized that everyone assumed—though we were only engaged at the time—that I was the piano player. And frequently, that was a self-fulfilling assumption.

  6. Don’t forget the corollary to this: awkward dating questions. He: “So, are you active in your home church?” She:”Yes, I like helping out in Sunday School sometimes.” He: (check, check!) “Sunday School, really? That’s great. Do you play piano?” She:”Why yes, I do.” He: (getting excited now, check-check!)”What’s your major, anyway?” She: “Elementary education.” At this point, any decent aspiring preacher boy has just found his life partner.

  7. Another PK here. My MOM has talked about writing a book about being a pastor’s wife called “Prayers, Pies or Piano”. No movement on it yet, but we’re all still pestering her about it.

  8. If the pastor is a woman, is it mandatory that her husband be the piano player?

    1. Not very familiar with the fundamentalist church policies towards women are you? 🙂

  9. Of all the pastors and pastor’s wives we’ve had only one played the piano, but she played it all the time. It gave a welcome break to our usual pianist who was such an awesome pianist that she usually wasn’t able to sing in the choir as she wished to do, but was always stuck playing the piano!

    The one thing I’ve noticed about pastor’s wives (and why I could never be one in ten billion years) is that they have to be a jill of all trades, always ready to serve in any capacity. She unlike the lay people in the church, can NEVER say no. So she gets stuck with the most unpleasant tasks. And she has to be “on” all the time, she’s not allowed the luxury of a bad day. Most of the time it’s the wife, not the pastor who is the real hero, yet if there are unsung heroes in the church, it’s the pastor’s wife.

    1. The wife of the pastor at the church I married in was roped into being a pastor’s wife and I don’t think she really wanted to be one. He came home one day and said ‘honey, we gotta talk. God has called me to be a pastor.’

      I’ll bet she couldn’t say no. She can’t play the piano but she is worn out because she is on the run ALL the time. She is bitter and takes it out on everybody. She also liked to gossip and criticize church/family members to other church members.

      I actually feel sorry for her in a way. That smile on her face is forced b/c deep down inside, she’s ticked off. I remember one time, her husband came to my house to drop something off and she was in the car laying down with a migraine which she suffered from all the time.

      I could never be a pastor’s wife either and thank God He gave me the husband he did. 😀

  10. Ah, yes. Indy Fundies and their horror of pre-recorded music.

    The church I attend (there are no other churches here) will NOT use pre-recorded music. Unless the pianist records the song on the Clavinova so that she can sing in a trio. Then, pre-recorded music is godly in every way.

  11. Herb Fitzpatrick, my former Liberty U-styled pastor (I mistakenly called that ministry a Tennesse Temple ministry. I was mistaken. A girl I dated there graduated from TTU. my bad), bemoaned what he called “canned music.” I’m sorry to say that since his passing canned music has taken over his ministry…the horror.



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