I will never forget the day that my husband sat me down and said the words, “I believe that God is calling me to be a church planter.” I stared big-eyed as the words sunk in and then surprised myself when I said, “Then God must be calling me to be a church planter as well!”
As our conversation continued, I began to see how God had been personally preparing me for the journey ahead for our family and how I could support my husband. The Lord had promised to establish a home for us and to do a new thing in me. He had encouraged me to not be afraid and to trust him. Just as God was speaking to my husband, He was speaking to me. We were so encouraged to discover together what God was doing in both of our hearts. As I went to bed that night, I knew that my life would never be the same, and I knew that my soul mate would need me by his side.
We read in Genesis 2:18, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” God gave me different gifts than He gave Kelly. In His perfect plan, He put us together and we compliment each other. We didn’t start our lives together serving in full-time ministry, but all along the way He was planting seeds and producing fruit that we would need for this life. He grew, groomed and prepared me to do things in church planting that He knew Kelly wasn’t wired for or would not have time to do.
Have you considered how valuable your wife is to your church plant? God may have called you to plant a church, but if you are married, then He called your wife as well. He hasn’t called you to abandon your role of husband to become a planter. His desire is for you to be a husband who plants a church with his wife at his side. Have you included her in your vision and planning? There is a good chance she will see things differently than you and could offer you valuable advice. It takes a team to plant a church, and for the longest time, I thought that would look like a lot of people. It turned out that our team was our family. That’s it. There were no others moving with us. We were the “called.” After God shut the door on all those who we thought would join us, we gave ourselves the name “Team Parrish,” and we jumped in.
Do you recognize your bride’s unique gifting from the Lord? Are you doing all that you can to foster growth in those areas? Early in the church planting process, my husband took me on a date and told me the ways he believed God would use me as his partner. He empowered me to make decisions. He made me feel like this was an adventure we were taking together. I didn’t feel like I was being pulled or even dragged into something that felt unsafe. I was told that I was needed and valued. I was encouraged to lead, teach, create, reach out and to use my God-given gifts. Your wife’s involvement may look different than others depending on her calling, but there is no doubt that God has a place for her. From the beginning, Kelly found ways to make me feel loved and like I was an important partner in this endeavor.
Our marriage has stayed strong because my man has never made me doubt his dedication to the commitment he made to me long before he was called to plant a church. I don’t feel like I am fighting his calling for his attention. He has embraced who God made me to be and recognizes that I am called to these people as well. He isn’t on an adventure alone to win the souls of people in our community. He trusts my instincts and supports me. He finds ways to build me up and creates time in his days to help with our four children, so I can serve and follow God in the things He is calling me to do. This journey is tough, and there have been many times when we have wanted to throw in the towel. We consider it a gift from the Lord that we have never both doubted our calling on the same day. We are both certain that God fashioned us for this life and that we need each other to be our best. We are better together and so are you and your wife!
Take her on a date, and invite her into what you are doing; pour into her heart and water the seeds that God has planted in her. God will honor you, your wife will bless you and together you will make a difference in the community God has set aside for you to love.
“For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” Ruth 1:16.
Published May 11, 2017