I love opportunities to gain wisdom and advice from other church planter wives. Although we are growing in number as God continues to plant new churches, sometimes it can seem as though we’re by ourselves trying to figure out what this role looks like on our own. As I’ve been on this journey of church planting as the wife of a church planter, I’ve discovered some things church planter wives should never do, and I’d like to share them with you in case you ever find yourself doing them.
1. Never try to be like other pastor’s wives you know.
Your journey is unique, your church’s vision is unique, your people are unique, and you’re unique! We are each called to support our husband in his role of church planter/pastor, but that support role looks different for each of us. In the very early stage of our planting journey, I was told by another church planter wife that my main role would be to stay home, care for children, and provide a safe haven for my husband to come home to.
Later, I was told by another church planter wife that my main role would be to lead whichever ministry needed a leader or fill in ministry gaps until they were filled by someone else. Talk about confusing advice! The best advice I can give you is to be you. Do you. Like you. God will lead you to do what He wants you to do. Follow Him, not others.
2. Never accept the lie that you have to have all the spiritual gifts.
1 Corinthians 12 says that God gives different gifts to each of us as He determines. You might assume that a church planter’s wife would automatically have the gift of hospitality since the early days most likely require hosting meals and meetings in your home, but I do not. It’s a struggle for me to prepare a meal for others, or to host people in my home. But that’s okay! God gives us the gifts He wants us to have to serve Him, but He did not intend for us to have them all. (or to do it all!)
3. Never be afraid to say, “No, I can’t do that.”
Church planter wives have a tendency to feel the weight and burden to be everything to everyone. God taught me this lesson early on when a friend had surgery, but they didn’t tell a lot of people about it. I knew about it because of my role as the pastor’s wife, and I knew it would be a loving gesture to take a meal to their family. The problem was, my week was slammed. I carried an immense amount of guilt for telling my husband that I just couldn’t do it. I thought, “She won’t feel like anyone in the church cares about her. She’ll probably get mad and leave the church,” and on and on.
The next week I found out that God had put it on several people’s hearts to care for this lady and her family during the week of her surgery. God did not need me to carry out His plan. He doesn’t need us to do everything or be everything to everyone. He just needs us to do what He asks us to do.
4. Never make your husband choose between fulfilling his calling as a church planter or you.
It’s not just his calling, it’s yours too. Find a way to work together and be involved as much as you both agree you should be, and you’ll discover one of the greatest things you can do for your marriage is serve God together. Perhaps the issue you have with your spouse has more to do with something going on in your heart, and only God can help you with that.
5. Never find your identity in the church you plant or in your husband’s role as pastor.
I see this happen all too often, and it’s so easy to do! You are not first a pastor’s wife or a church planter. You are first a child of God. We must follow God’s calling on our life, but constantly guard against letting what we do become who we are. A good heart-check is to ask yourself, “If our church or ministry were to shut down tomorrow, would we still be okay? Would we be mad at God, or would we trust His sovereignty and follow Him in what is next?
And here’s a bonus to add to the list that I learned the hard way.
Never critique your husband’s sermons the day of.
You know you’re the most likely person to point out the extra “um’s” and “likes” as well as those things he says that he should never, EVER say again! Just wait a couple of days before you bring that up, and you may want to have prepared a delicious, hot meal for him right before : )
Have you discovered other things church planter wives should never do? Comment below and add to the list! - Heather
Heather is I a disciple of Jesus Christ, disciple-maker, pastor’s wife, mom, sister, church planter, creative thinker, writer, choreographer, tennis player, sour candy fanatic, and procrastinator being transformed into the image of Christ through the chaos of life.
She and her husband, Bryant, planted The Exchange in Pearl, MS. Check it out!