“No.”

Few people like to say the word. For some reason, especially in the setting of church planting, saying, “No,” can feel like the wrong thing to do. It can feel like a curse word, even.

After all, there is a lot to be done. Here is a partial list of all the things you might be asked to do for your church plant…

  • Shop for necessary supplies
  • Set-up before church
  • Greet people before and after services
  • Serve during the service
  • Organize or serve at a community event
  • Host an event in your home
  • Teach classes or Sunday School
  • Participate in worship band
  • Make phone calls to communicate for a million different reasons
  • the list goes on…

These tasks are all necessary and wonderful actions to help a church get up and running. There is one issue, however. Some church planter wives find themselves doing a huge portion of the above list on their own. They shop for supplies during the week, set them up before church, serve in several ways during the service, take down after the service, and host one or more events at their home during the week. It makes me exhausted just writing the previous sentence!

I remember the days when I was guilty of acting in this way. I enjoyed the shopping, felt like I was the one who could set up the greeting tables properly (the corners of the table cloths should hang, just so), was busy during and after the service, and committed to cleaning my home and preparing food for at least one event during the week. I remember vacuuming my floor and then mopping at 11:00 p.m. because I hated the feeling of smooshed brownies between my toes in the morning. I fell into bed exhausted, and at times, a bit hopeless. How can things go on this way? I would wonder. I don’t know if I can keep up this pace.

So what happens when we say, “No?” I will tell you what I think happens when you say, “No.”

Something miraculous.

When you say, “No,” you are really saying, “Yes.” Here is what you are saying, “Yes,” to…

  • Yes, somebody else is just as capable as me.
  • Yes, God will provide for our church in every way.
  • Yes, I have time for my husband and kids.
  • Yes, I am allowed to have a life outside of church planting.
  • Yes, to me and my health, and the one body Jesus gave me to nurture.
  • Yes, yes, yes! The tasks will get done, even if I am not the one doing them – or not, and Earth will keep spinning, and Jesus is still on His throne.
  • Yes, it’s okay to not be perfect.
  • Yes, I can live lighter, and worry less. It’s not all up to me.

Remember, dear church planter wife, you have complete freedom in Christ. Don’t allow the idol of ministry to enslave you and distract you from the gospel. Here is a scripture from Galatians to remind you of this very idea…

Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. (Galatians 2:4-5 ESV)

By sharing this scripture, I am not saying that there are spies in your church waiting to put you in chains. I shared it because saying, “Yes,” to everything can enslave you and make you forget the beautiful truth of the gospel. Jesus is enough! You don’t have to save the world. Jesus already did.

Never say, “Yes,” because you want to look good, or you feel you are the only one up for the task. Say, “Yes,” when it fits with Christ’s calling in your life, and when you are still able to say, “Yes,” to all of the other good things in life. Limit yourself, and see God work in the lives of everyone else, too.

Thank you for all of the work you do. Jesus sees every effort, every dish scrubbed, every chair set up in straight rows, every devotional planned during the dark hours of the night, everything, everything!

Let me end with a prayer…

Jesus, thank you for all of the work done by the incredible women who are busy helping plant churches. Help our serving to be for your glory, not our own. Help our serving be reasonable and humble, allowing others to serve, too. Help our serving to never be our idol. You are enough, Jesus.

Amen!

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