April 11, 2011

Church Planting Wives: The Niche

Welcome to Ministry Monday, a weekly post for ministry wives. Today's topic is specifically for church planting wives.

As we prepared to church plant, my consistent prayer was, “Lord, show me my role in this.” Being a teensy-weensy bit Type-A, I preferred He give me a job description of sorts, neatly typed in bullet points under the heading “How to Be a Perfect Church Planter’s Wife.”

I wanted some idea of what I’d be doing and what would be required of me, but He only spoke in generalities: Follow Me. Serve your family. Love people.

Yes, Lord, but what do I do?

I looked for clues as I tried picturing well-known church planters’ wives, but in my mind they just sat serenely in the front row of the warehouse/renovated grocery store/church, attentive to their husbands as they preached to large, hipster crowds. In my imagination, they appeared quiet. Adored. Perfect.

The Lord brought our first years in ministry to mind--the years when I desperately tried to please people (fail) and tried to squeeze myself into the ministry wife mold (fail)--as a reminder of how He'd released me from all that nonsense. But as I prayerfully prepared for church planting, I still felt an overwhelming need to clarify my role in it all. 

He simply whispered grace and freedom over me: Follow Me. Serve your family. Love people. Practice hospitality.

Yes, Lord, but what do I do?

The hardest part of being a church planting wife has been finding my niche. Because here's the deal: I know what I'm passionate about and I know what my gifts are, but I can't ever settle into anything because the church is constantly growing, changing, and evolving. It's kind of like a funnel. The start of the church plant was the wide opening, where I was called upon to do all kinds of things that I didn't love and wasn't good at. As we grew, I moved closer to the middle of the funnel where I was doing more of what I enjoyed but still alot of what I didn't. Now, close to three years into the plant, we're less of a church plant and more of a honest-to-goodness church. I'm closer to the narrow part of the funnel (thank you, Lord!) but I find that the ever-evolving nature of the church is difficult for me. 

I still find myself struggling with thoughts like Am I doing enough? Am I doing this right? What do I do now? 

And there He is again, whispering. Follow Me. Love your husband. Serve your kids. Love the people that I bring in your path. Practice hospitality. Pour grace and love on people. I'm not concerned with perfection. I just want your faithfulness and from that, I will produce fruit.