For Pastor/Planter's Wives: What is my role in all of this?

Friends, it is my privilege to introduce my favorite blogger in the whole world…my wife. Please share this with your wife as it may help you both. – Dustin

By: Laurie Ann Neeley

Every time I speak with a church planting wife, she always asks the same question:

“What is my role in this?”

It’s a good question we have to consider, but I wonder if it's also one that is sometimes given too much consideration because its focus may be unwittingly misplaced.

As women, we always want to have a plan and know what we are to do. The good news is that there are some clear Scriptures that can help us get some immediate answers! Genesis 2:18-25 says God created woman to be a “helper fit for him.”  This “helper” does not mean that we are necessarily to be the co-planter of our church, though most wives play a significant role. We are to be the helper to our husbands who are planting the church — loving, supportive, safe, encouraging, etc.

So, in my view, the better question may actually be:

“So, what does it look like, practically, to be my husband’s helper?”

Every home is different and every man is different in what help he needs. Let me also say that there are also seasons in the life of a church, so the needs may change. And, if you have children, then there is a whole other slew of things to consider before you sign-up to be the new plant’s de-facto Children’s Minister.  But here’s some quick counsel on how to answer this question:

1.Ask your husband, “Honey, what would you like from me as you helper?”

Cut straight to the chase. What does your husband need from you as his wife so that he can plant the church to the glory of God and to the best of his abilities? Sometimes we think they should ask us that question as soon as they hit the door, but not necessarily. They’ve got a lot going on. It is a great help when we ask first and every husband is wired a little differently. Some cook, some do not. Some clean, some do not. Some can take the kids and run around the city. Others have a hard time leaving the driveway. These questions might help as well:

Am I  caring for him and our union intimately?
Does he love to come home to me?
Is our home a place where he gets re-fueled?
After Jesus, am I making him my priority?

If you find yourself unsure or upset by these questions, I’d encourage you to talk to your husband about these things and consider seeking help from a mentor. I can help with that if you need me to assist. 

2. If you are also a Mama (as most planter wives are), dig into the Word for what the Bible has to say about parenting. 

Proverbs is wonderful for this. As you read along, think and pray about how your “mothering,” which comes just after your “wifing,” will impact your participation in the plant. Your kids are only little once and being a mother is a life-long contract. It’s the best job you’ll ever have! Work at it to the glory of God and as a blessing to your husband and children.

When we planted our first church, we had very small children and it was easy to help with ministries that involved reaching-out to other moms at the park and having play dates. Years later and planting again, my children are in school and my responsibilities are very different. It’s just a different season and every family has a different “plate size" for what they can take on. 

Perhaps instead of asking what your role is, first, look at what is already on your plate and what your husband needs from you.

It is also possible that your biggest ministry to the church will be hospitality through meals, counseling and encouragement. Then, if you have some margin, then you can focus on helping with the church plant as the children’s minister ; ).

Church planting is tough.

Being a church planting wife is tough too.

But God is good.

And through much prayer and conversation with our husbands, we can, in fact, determine “what our role is.”

*If you need a mentor or help finding one, reach out to Dustin through the Connect page. We can help.