Seven Tips to Help You Thrive as a Church Planter’s Wife – California Southern Baptist Convention

Seven Tips to Help You Thrive as a Church Planter’s Wife

Published Aug 08, 2023

As a Church Planter’s wife, who grew up in a major metropolitan area in Southern California and who also Co-Founded and co-planted a Gospel-centered Church in the San Francisco Bay Area, we believed early on that when God sends, He sends entirely. And with that, we have discovered a great need to discern and protect the health of not just the Pastor, but the whole Sent family. My husband and I are firm believers that ministry longevity cannot happen apart from the complete dependency and power of the Holy Spirit for both the Pastor and the Pastor’s wife as they raise their family.

Upon reflection over twenty years of ministry and five years of church planting, there are several truths I constantly need to rest in as I co-labor with my husband. A labor that can often be difficult and lonely. The following seven tips have been instrumental in helping me (and my marriage and family) thrive in ministry, and I want to share them with you, woman of God.

  1. Identity Secures – You are a Daughter of God and loved unconditionally. Jesus is the foundation on which we stand and from which our very identity and calling comes. Our identity is not based on what others think of us – inside or outside of the Church/Church plant. What we need to remember here is, with all the demands of ministry tugging at us, performance becomes the trap. However, identity in Christ becomes the security that protects us from the traps of empty performance.
  2. Faith Over Facts – Sarah had to trust in God just as much as Abraham did. The fact is – there are seasons throughout the church planting journey when you won’t have all the facts, yet you’ll need to move forward in faith. It has been commonly said that most wives seem to care more about security than they do journeying into the unknown, though personality may play a greater role than previously thought. Whether this is personality or gender-based, faith is something that Jesus requires from all who follow him – husband and wife.
  3. Connection – Intentionally find ways to stay intimately connected to your husband, e.g., encourage him, and show interest in who he is and how the LORD is working in his heart, his life, and through him. The reality is, not only does he want this encouragement from you, he needs it from you (whether he admits it or not). Shielding our men from loneliness is one of our adamic callings as daughters of Eve. When possible, prioritize getting time away together, where you can focus on things that cultivate your friendship. Some ideas that have been helpful for us include conversation-starter games, board games, reading through a great marriage book, or listening to a fun audiobook together.
  4. Cultivate Children– Intentionally find ways to stay connected as a family and with your children – family mealtime, board games, asking light-hearted as well as deeper questions and taking a one-day sabbath of rest as often as possible (preferably weekly where you all connect with God, nature, and each other). This has been very helpful for us, though we don’t always do it perfectly. It’s a command from God.
  5. Comparisons Kill – Remember that every Church Plant has a life cycle and its own ups and downs (as did the Churches in the Bible). Unhealthy comparisons are a trick of the enemy to keep us from doing the unique work that God has called us to do in our unique locations. You are uniquely gifted as a woman, wife (and as a mother for those who have children), and there are people who God has put in your immediate sphere who are in desperate need of your warm greeting, hospitality, and the love and the Gospel hope that you inhabit daily. Comparisons only cultivate competition, which kills Christian fellowship, Kingdom collaboration, and ultimately much needed joy in the ministry.
  6. Closed Mouths Don’t Get Heard – Sometimes we can be tempted to believe that our words of wisdom and caution aren’t necessary nor valued (and thus, best left unsaid), especially if it seems inconvenient or like it might not be received by our husbands and/or the church plant team. However, I (and my husband encourages this too) believe that God has provided a much-needed helpmate in you, and your husband needs the wisdom that God has provided through you – even when it might go against something he might want to do. Fear of potential conflict and/or the fear of being rejected by our husbands might try to keep us from sharing our thoughts and cautious suggestions but please don’t let that stop you from prayerfully and wisely speaking into what you are seeing regarding the church plant. This should be done after prayer and in a spirit of humility, gentleness, and respect.
  7. Accept Help – It can seem taboo to seek out help or accountability, especially if we’re struggling as leaders and Pastor’s wives. However, God did not create us to struggle alone. He created us as relational beings who need others to help encourage us in this Christian journey – whether that be from healthy Christian community inside or outside of our church plant with other godly women who are in similar circumstances, from discipleship and mentorship from an older godly woman, or through means of Biblical or Christian counseling.

The church planting journey can be a hard yet beautifully rewarding road if we lean into these tips as well as into healthy Christian community. May God be with you as you continue in partnership with your husband as missionaries in California.