For church planting families, challenges come with the territory. We are familiar with doing more with less, being creative about where to gather and working diligently to meet the needs of many with little or no help.
During this fragile, over-challenged and under-supported backdrop, a global pandemic is underway. Planting wives find themselves facing abundant, unexpected challenges living and ministering during the COVID-19 crisis.
Here are five challenges many church planting wives are experiencing during these difficult days:
- She is juggling more responsibilities than ever before.
A meme went around on the web this week that got a hearty “amen” and a smile from many. It said, “And just like that, pastors’ wives all around the world became sound, tech and media experts.” Many pastors’ and church planters’ wives also work outside of the home, and now with fear and tension of possible financial strain, this income is even more needed. Most are caring for children, who now need more attention as many of us are adjusting to virtual school at home.
The list of roles and responsibilities seem as endless as our days in quarantine.
Her challenge is to rest in the truth that the Lord longs for us to be with Him more than we long for Him. We must not neglect to care for our souls before we seek to fill a role.
- She feels the weight of responsibility to check on and care for many people.
As this crisis unfolds and fear increases in our communities, our desire to contact our people grows. In response, we text, set up virtual Zoom calls, make phone calls, reach out on social media and send handwritten cards. I feel the loneliness creeping in with each day that passes in quarantine. As we look ahead to another month of sheltering in place, we long for our people to know Christ loves them and they can turn to Him.
So, we check on and reach out to them in all the ways we are able, understanding our human limitations.
Her challenge is to serve faithfully while understanding her limits and entrusting these dear ones to the Father who loves them deeply.
- She is experiencing loss and disappointment.
Spring and Easter often bring opportunities for backyard egg hunts and BBQs with neighbors, but sadly not this year. Launch services have been postponed. Our children will forgo school ceremonies and graduations. Trips to refreshing places have been canceled. Women’s retreats have been put off until further notice. Birthday celebrations are not happening. Many of these special gatherings held a spot on the calendar that gave her something to look forward to.
Her challenge is to give herself permission to grieve these losses and turn to the Lord with her disappointments and pain.
- She is attacked by comparison.
Godly emulation is a good thing, but comparison that leads to discouragement is dangerous. Social media posts and online consumption have skyrocketed in the last several weeks. The digital tools we use to connect with and minister to one another have also opened the door to view what others are doing. We rarely take into account that others are in different seasons of life or that our contexts are entirely different.
We tend to jump straight to comparisons, like “They’re serving hundreds of meals,” or “They’ve gotten so many likes, views and comments.” Every post about virtual schooling or homeschooling makes her question if she did enough crafts or science experiments with her children. This dangerous game leads straight to discouragement.
Her challenge is to run to Jesus, to seek His direction for her days and to rest in the finished work of the cross. In Christ, her standing is secure.
- She longs to encourage and support her husband.
These are immensely overwhelming days for pastors, too. No one knows that more than she does. She sees his weary face at the end of each day as he crawls into bed. She sees the weight of the world on his shoulders as he navigates the complexity of such unprecedented times and vast needs. She hears him rise at the wee hours of the morning because he can no longer sleep. She desires to love and serve him well and to hold his arms up.
Her challenge is to put her hope in God and to trust the Father so that she can pour words of courage into his heart.
Would you join me in praying for our planting wives?
Learn more about the challenges and opportunities for church planting wives in this season of COVID-19 at this episode of the We are Send Network podcast.
Published April 9, 2020