THE CHURCH PLANTER’S WIFE – ASSISTANT OR ASSISTING?

Cultivating a healthy working relationship with your wife during a church plant
 

One of the greatest blessings of church planting is for a church planter to be able to serve together with his wife. Although this should be very rewarding, because of the demands of church planting, this relationship can be filled with frustration and lead to an overall strain on the marriage. The mistake that most church planters make is to expect their wife to take on the role of the “Assistant Pastor” instead of “assisting” her husband, the pastor. There are several points to realize that will help avoid costly, and sometimes, disastrous mistakes.

 

1. Realize the Proper View of the Calling
  • The gift of the “pastor” and “evangelist” is a gift to a called man
  • The wife’s role is not a calling but is a commitment to be a helpmeet
    • There are no requirements found in the Bible for the pastor’s wife
    • Your wife should not be pressured into a non-biblical role

 

II. Realize the Value of Your Wife
  • She is your helpmeet and completer (Gen. 2:18) = “To surround, to protect, aid, to gird, to defend”
  • She has a natural desire to see you and the ministry succeed
  • She will stick with you when no one else will
  • She is designed to nurse you when you are injured and hurt

 

III. Realize She is to Assist but not be the Assistant
Church planters often feel pressure to have several ministries prematurely without the proper leadership and, because she wants                    to help her husband, the wife gets “pulled in” to taking over those ministries
  • This will lead to undue stress, fatigue, and burn out
  • This will lead to resentment and disdain for the ministry
  • This will ultimately lead to severe marital problems
  • Your wife should have the freedom to find her spiritual gifts
  • She should have the time to find where the Lord would have her serve
  • She will serve with joy because she is using her gifts
  • She will have a long-term commitment to the ministry

 

IV. Realize the Need to Cultivate the Marital Relationship
  • Spend time listening and giving full attention to your wife. (1 Pt. 3:7)    Don’t rush your wife. Listen and wait for her to end a conversation
  • Pray together
  • Communicate clearly. Look and listen to each other and be understood     
  • Date and get away often
  • Retire at night together. Unwind and relax together.
  • Don’t share emotional problems from the ministry with your wife. Emotional issues are normally short-lived and there is no need to stir the emotions of your wife
  • Encourage your wife to make and protect her nest (Titus 2:5)
    • She should not need to work outside the home if it interrupts the nest
    • The home should be a sanctuary, a retreat – especially the bedroom
    • The husband should enjoy, and look forward to, retreating at home
    • Have boundaries – times when it is “no church”
    • Give your wife time to keep the home. Protect her time alone
  • Listen to your wife’s alarm clock as she has intuition
  • Your wife should reflect ministry questions from church members to you as people will try to get info from you and sometimes use it      against you
  • Your wife should be in the services to be fed as much as possible. She should be encouraged to listen to sermons, godly music, etc…
  • Your wife should have time to be alone, go shopping, rest, or hobby
  • Guard against other women becoming emotionally dependent on you
  • Your wife should have free access to your phone, computer, etc…

 

V. Realize the Need to Protect Against Burnout as your wife can become depleted of energy, stamina, focus, and emotions.
  • Stay healthy and exercise – walk out issues
  • Take a day off – have a hobby, etc…
  • Take a full or mini vacation – change midweek service if needed
  • Be flexible – take care of needs as they arise
  • Don’t let people exhaust your wife, they will suck the life out of her. Work with faithful people, baby churches attract baby Christians
  • Do a weekly assessment with each other. Look over the schedule, analyze time, communication, and needs
  • Laugh together!
  • Don’t compare or compete with other ministries or marriages
  • Encourage each other to stay close to the Lord
  • Watch phone usage
    • The pastor’s phone is for his convenience, not the church’s, Delay callbacks and texts
    • Have times to turn it off or put it away
    • Teach church members not to call during family time or date nights

 

VI. Recognize and address your wife’s needs.
Remember, your wife is a “weaker vessel” (1 Pt. 3:7). Her needs must be met or there will be a breakdown.
  • Spiritually – she needs to be growing while she is serving. She needs to be in the services as much as possible.
  • Physically – a need to diet, exercise, and rest
  • Mentally – a need to be motivated and creative. Having a hobby such as gardening can help with this
  • Emotionally – a need to be supportive and understanding, watch hormones, postpartum and menopause
  • Socially – a need to have healthy relationships with friends outside the church
  • Financially – a need to have financial needs met and not always feel the pressure to be tight

            

 


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