When I was a teenager, I dreamed of ministry together with my future husband. I knew exactly what it would look like. I would have kid in tow. I would be the ideal pastor’s wife and everyone would love me. That’s how it works right?
Horribly, horribly wrong and naive. We just passed our 3 year anniversary in June and just about to hit 3 full years in ministry together, and I can see how horribly wrong I was about ministry and being a pastor’s wife. It’s hard, it’s messy, it’s stressful, it’s never about me, it’s full of criticism, it’s filled with uncertainty, it’s ministry at it’s finest–and it’s all about love.
A blog I follow, Grace Covers Me, posted this a while back and I felt it was good for any church, not just a church plant. While some topics are more geared towards church planting, I’ve always liked lists, so this was helpful and insightful for any church.
- Hospitality is essential.
- For the church planter, church planting teaches two things more than any other: that God is faithful and how to depend on that faithful God.
- Programs matter a lot to some people, especially families with small children. It takes special families who can grasp the vision of church planting to invest in a church plant on the ground level.
- On the other hand, some people love the early stages of church planting but grow uncomfortable when the church grows to a size where they cannot know everyone.
- Church planting happens one relationship at a time.
- Sometimes church planting feels like you’re pretending to be a church. And then one day (after back breaking work and lots of prayer) you realize you have an honest-to-goodness church.
- You cannot church plant without support and encouragement from others.
- The Word is living and active. When we let God speak through His Word, He changes people. Every church plant must gather around the Word.
- The church plant often takes on the personality and the passions of the church planter and his wife. This is why it’s important to have biblical vision.
- A lot of people, especially outsiders, don’t know what it means when you say you’re church planting.
- One of the greatest assets and resources a church planter has: other church planters and pastors in the same city. These relationships should be cultivated.
- One of the hardest relationships a church planter may have: other church planters and pastors in the same city. Sadly.
- The calling to church plant must be sure because it will have to be returned to again and again.
- The gospel is everything: it sustains when discouragement comes (and it always does), it keeps a church planter and his wife in their city (because they will want to give up and leave), it compels its ministers forward (and sometimes it’s the only motivation left), and it changes lives (which makes it all worth it).
- A church planter cannot drive by an established church without appreciating what it took to make it that. And he will first think about the secretaries, nursery workers, and janitors.
- As much as possible, a church plant should be structured how it wants to look a year in the future.
- It is unhealthy for the church planter, the church, and especially the church planting wife if she is doing childcare during church each week.
- A failed church plant is not failure. Lack of faith is failure.
- Slow and steady growth is healthy growth. Explosive growth is often fragile growth.
- A good worship leader is essential.
- Spiritual warfare is real.
- Church plants should never be started by a pastor who was disgruntled or unable to sit under authority at their former church. Church plants cannot be rebuttals to another pastor’s way of pastoring. They must be built upon a clear call from God.
- A church planter and his wife must pray for and develop a love for their city, and not just their city and all its coolness, but for the people of their city.
- The church planting wife’s main role in helping her husband is, like Aaron holding Moses’ arms up in battle, praying for and encouraging him to keep on.
- There is joy and reward in sacrifice and service.
Christine Hoover is the author of The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart (Moody, 2013). She is a church planting wife and the mom of three boys. She also encourages ministry-minded women to live and lead from grace on her blog, Grace Covers Me. Original Post: 25 Things I’ve Learned about Church Planting