Living your calling as a replanter wife (Pt. 1)
Eight years ago, Calvary Church in Englewood, Colorado, numbered 30 people, had a little money in the bank, and was ready to close the doors forever. My husband, Mark, and I were in suburban Denver (just down the street!), doing youth ministry, feeling very comfortable, and sensing God was calling us to something new.
Here’s a one-paragraph summation of how the whole crazy thing happened: Mark had lunch with a friend from his seminary days, who just happened to be on the search committee for a new pastor at Calvary. They go take a look at the building together. Mark hears the story of this wonderful old church. The Spirit speaks to Mark … and the rest is history. My problem was, I didn’t hear God’s voice that day.
My first reaction was not one of enthusiasm. I was skeptical. I was being a realist: We couldn’t do that. How would we afford to live? Were we ready to leave our comfortable church? Why would we take on such a difficult task?
Because God calls.
Let’s look to Ephesians 4:1-6 for some guidance about calling. We’ll look at verses 1-2 this time and save 3-6 for another day.
"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."
Paul begins by telling the believers, “live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
Every believer has a common calling.
Biblically, God calls us to Himself. When He called you, you became a daughter of the King, saved by grace to do good works that He prepared in advance for you to do. Paul writes earlier, in chapter 2 of Ephesians: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Those “good works,” you might say, are how you live out your calling.
For many years, I tried to make this more complicated than it needed to be (and I didn’t have to try that hard, believe me!). I so badly wanted to find “a calling” when I’d already been called to be a servant of Christ, to love my husband, and do ministry with him — in our home and in whatever context God would choose to use us.
So first, my dear replanter’s wife, you are called to Christ. Eighteen years ago, God called Mark and I to be married. I still believe today that my primary calling after my call to be a Christ-follower is to be Mark’s helpmate. And when I became a mother, my call was to parent my children, to love them, and raise them to know, love, and follow Jesus. (If you’re a mother, that’s part your calling as well.)
You’re reading this today because God has put it on your husband’s heart to replant a church. Maybe you’re in an exploration phase or farther on your journey, but logically, if Christ has called you to Himself, and He called you to marry your husband and do ministry together, then it follows that you’ve been called to replant a church with your husband.
God has not given your husband a call exclusive of you. You are deeply and purposefully engrained in that calling.
Paul elaborates on what living a life worthy of the calling looks like: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
As a believer, you are given these guiding characteristics to help you discern if you are walking in the Spirit.
One of my biggest issues when Mark and I started replanting was that he heard a very clear word from the Lord to replant and — to be painfully, brutally honest — in my lack of humility, patience, and love I didn’t see what God was up to.
Why hadn’t I gotten the same heavenly memo he did? It was through that very difficult season of discerning that I realized a couple of things:
(1) I needed to do some heart work. As a daughter of the King, I need to humbly submit to my husband and trust God’s calling on our life.
(2) By being obedient to that calling, my life and marriage could be marked by love. It could be a picture of what it means to follow Christ, even when I don’t completely understand what He is doing, and then choosing to trust Him by stepping out in faith.
If you’re in a place where your heart isn’t fully submitted, or if you’re struggling with obedience, ask God — beg God — to give you humility, gentleness, patience, and love for your husband, for the idea of replanting, and for the church you will replant.