June 30, 2011

Jenn Atwell's Advice for New Church Planting Wives

Yesterday, Jenn Atwell shared how she battles discouragement and helps her husband battle discouragement in church planting. Today, she offers advice for wives in the early stages of church planting:

What has been your greatest personal struggle(s) in church planting and what have you learned that might benefit another church planting wife?
During this season of early church planting, I really wrestled with God.  The question I kept thinking about is God really enough?  If you take everything else away, would I really choose God over all the comforts the world has to offer? My husband was diagnosed with cancer the year before we moved across the country, back to our hometown to plant a church. Within a few months of planting a church, his cancer came back. Not only were we struggling with the church plant but we were also fighting cancer. Through the surgeries and radiation it was hard to pray.  But I could feel the power of prayer and had a peace that could only come from God. We were so dependent on God. He used the people in our young church to support, care for, and feed us. I am thankful that my husband has been cancer free for four years. God has made this part of our story, reminding us that He is always there.  While we were out of commission dealing with cancer, God grew our church. He provided for our every need and in each stage of this journey He continues to be faithful in providing for us.  

What advice would you give to a church planting wife that is just starting out?
Develop mentor relationships. I am thankful that I have a few godly women that know and love me that I can call for encouragement. I have one friend in particular who is a few years ahead of me in church planting that gives me wonderful advice and encouragement.  She told me that there would come a day that people would keep coming to church even though I had not had them over for dinner.  I laughed when she told me that but she knew that stage of church planting.  It helps to have someone that can share your perspective, to have a mentor or coach, someone in the ministry that understands the struggles, joy, and love of ministry. I have good friends in our church, but I am not going to share personal issues about my husband or anything with women who my husband pastors.

Another piece of advice is to be comfortable just being the pastor's wife. I sometimes feel like I need to serve in a ministry every Sunday, but I have to always remind myself that I have a ministry that nobody else can do: caring for my husband, children, and our home. 

Thank you, Jenn, for sharing with us!