Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an intercom which connected us directly to the voice of God? He could beep in and say, “Hey, I’ve got a job for you.”
You’d never have to question what you were supposed to do. You’d never second guess your role or calling ever again. You could beep in, too, and say, “Hey, God, am I supposed to ___?”
If only things worked that way. Here’s the good news, however. God will make things clear over time. Through prayer, wise council, and God’s word, we will figure out what God is calling us to do.
When it comes to church planting, a wife’s calling often begins with the husband saying, “Hey, I’ve got to talk to you about something.” What follows is typically a combination of shock, anticipation, and sometimes enthusiasm.
Church planting is challenging business.
Not everyone is cut out for it. If your husband comes home and tells you he has a burning desire to plant a church, how do you react? Is there something you’re supposed to say when you get this life changing news? Definitely not! Every person reacts differently. There are mixed feelings involved in finding out this big change is coming.
Our first church plant was in our home town and we didn’t have to move to get it started, but it still rocked my world. We had to leave the church we loved, the friends we trusted, and set out on this new and uncertain journey. During our second church plant we moved from Washington State to Californi and left even more than we did the first time. We packed up our two young daughters and moved away from all of our family. No matter where you plant, it’s probably true to say a lot is going to change.
Is it possible to come to terms with this new calling in your life? Yes, definitely. It may take time, but coming to terms with your new calling as a church planter’s wife is a critical step in the success of your soon-to-be baby church.
Consider the following three points related to your calling as a church planter’s wife.
- This calling is from the Lord. It is a privilege.
While it may not seem like a privilege—you may still be in shock at the news—you are being asked to embark on a unique and special ministry journey. The act of planting new churches stems back to the very beginning of the church, right after Jesus ascended into heaven and told his disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit, then bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. While pastoring a church is just as much a privilege, there’s something incredible about being a part of a new work in the name of the gospel. As the wife of a church planter, you’ll be in a position to see what’s going on in the church like never before. You will be blessed and stretched in new ways, but God will walk with you the entire way. So, if your husband comes home and tells you he wants to plant a church, take a moment to be in awe of what God is going to do in your lives and in the people’s lives you’ll touch.
2. This is not a calling to be Superwoman.
Don’t worry! If God is calling you and your husband to start a new church, he isn’t asking you to get every single ministry of the church up and running. He isn’t saying you have to take on the complicated workings of the entire church. It will take time and careful prayer and planning to figure out exactly where you’ll end up serving in the new church.
For me, when we embark on a new church planting journey, I always focus first on taking care of my husband and kids, first. If I don’t, who else will? Once we’re settled I begin to assess where I can best serve given my passions and gifting. I also like to find at least one area where the church just needs my help, even if it isn’t my favorite thing to do. If every person who joins you in leading this church does this a lot can be accomplished. Everything does not need to fall on your shoulders.
3. This calling is between you and God, and it will look different for each planter’s wife.
How freeing is it to consider the only person you need to answer to is God? It’s humbling, but it’s also freeing. God will never ask you to be someone he never intended when he created you. He already knows your gifts, talents and passions. He has seen what your path holds, and he will be with you every step of the way.
When you first get your calling take the time to sit with God, read the Bible, and meditate on what it means to be called into church planting. Ask God questions. Ask God to show you the next steps. Pray for your husband along this journey, too. Don’t expect yourself to get lots of ministries up and running right away. Things will unfold slowly, and usually one new person or event at a time.
The truth is, we’ve already received our calling. Jesus’ final words on earth told us what to do. He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 ESV).
We’re all called to spread the gospel and further the building of the church, which is Christ’s bride. You can have confidence in this. You can look forward to how God will use you.
Please be with these women who have just realized they are called to be church planter’s wives. Be with them as changes interrupt their lives. Be with them as they experience loss and also a sense of anticipation of what is to come. Strengthen them to walk the path you have set out for them. Help them to find friends and helpers along the way, Lord Jesus.
We ask this in your precious name,