June 26, 2011

You Know You're A Church Planting Wife If..

I'm a Texas A&M Aggie, proudly so.

Before my freshman year started, I was whisked away for Fish Camp where I was indoctrinated in the ways of Aggieland. We were taught our wildcats, how to yell at football games, about Muster, the 12th Man, Silver Taps, Elephant Walk, Yell Practice, saying “Howdy” and “Gig’Em”, and the profound privilege to whoop. If you have no idea what I’m talking about- exactly. An Aggies’s favorite saying is, “From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.”

Being an Aggie enters you into a fraternity that gives you instant connection with all other Aggies worldwide. You know Former Students (as they are called) by their Aggie Rings, accessories for which we are unofficially trained to spot. And when we find each other, we immediately have so much in common, whether its weed out biology classes in Heldenfels or getting yelled at by a Corp guy for walking on the grass.

Before that, I was a band nerd.

I spent innumerable hours with my fellow band nerds practicing, traveling to games, and doing weird things like seeing how many people we could fit in the bathroom on a chartered bus. (I think we got up to 12 before the band director started yelling at us). We were a segregated society in the larger culture of our high school, rarely dating or mixing socially with the outside world. Now, when I find out someone I know was in band, we have an instant kinship as we giddily guess what instrument the other played. My husband, who was the star quarterback at his high school, always rolls his eyes and mutters something about band people being in their own world. He just doesn’t get it.

When I get together with other church planting wives, it's just like being a band nerd or an Aggie. No matter if we are in a city or a small town, if our churches are now large or small, if we are Presbyterian or Non-Denomination, we understand each other immediately.

Probably, we've had very similar experiences:
  • We have had the whole church over for dinner....at once.
  • In one Sunday, we've printed the bulletins, set up the hospitality table, taught in the children's ministry, helped with take down with a child attached to our legs, attended a meeting, and hosted a small group.
  • We are used to the blank stares. We got them before we actually planted when we told people what we were doing. We got them when we told people why we had just moved into their town. We got them when we invited people to church...in our home. We get them when we tell people what our husbands do. 
  • We know what to do with the blank stares. We either change the subject to ease the awkwardness or we go through the script about what, why, and how we are doing what we're doing.
  • We are sugar mamas.
  • Like when you met a guy in college and you immediately wondered if he was "the one", every person we meet is a prospective church visitor/member. 
  • We helped name the church.
  • We have wondered if we're crazy or being punished for something.
  • We drive by an established church with a building and think about the people who started it way back when. And we think about how lucky they are to have a janitor who sets up chairs. 
  • Half the church is stored in our garage.
  • We have folded laundry within ear shot of the church staff meeting.
  • We can plan a baby shower on one day's notice.
  • We can make balloon animals with the best of them.
  • We've been a part of every ministry in the church at some point.
  • We have watched our husbands try to be the hipster church planter with their plaid shirts, goatees, and spiky hair.
  • We can spot a visitor at church from a mile away and know how to pounce without appearing to pounce. We have secret hand signals and eye movements with our husbands so we know who will greet them first, when the other is needed to join the conversation, and when the other needs to get out of a conversation.
  • We are conversation killers.
  • Our kids are often confused when we pull into church at the local school: "Are we going to school today or church?"
Surely we have more in common! What would you add to the list?