My wife and I are in a unique situation. We both work at our church. I am the middle school pastor and she works for our communications department. This presents us with some blessings (I get to see her during the day) and some challenges (her busy season is often my down season). One of the things I love about her working at the church is that I get to experience what it’s like to be married to someone in ministry. It helps me appreciate how much she has sacrificed for my ministry over the years.
Last Saturday she had a big project that required her to be up at the church all day, on her day off, painting and building some cool display pieces. Coincidently, I had taken the weekend off and was looking forward to some time away from the church. At some point in the morning I realized that the project was going to take longer than she expected and she would be needing my help to get the job done. We spent a good 7 hours to finish the project and in the end It looked awesome. I am so proud of her department’s creativity and hard work. Even though it was my day off, I am so glad I got to help her out.
It got me thinking about the three things my wife did that made it easy for me to help her out. These are three things that we can all do to help our spouses as they serve alongside us in our ministry.
First, she gave me a purpose. Because it was important to her and her department, she took the time to make sure I knew why we were working so hard. She talked about how important the project was to get people excited about our big fall teaching series. When I was tempted to daydream about watching the Texas Rangers game on my couch, I remembered how my work was going to bless her and the church. In the same way, we need to help our spouses see that their service to you and the church has a purpose.
Second, she gave me permission. At several points during the day she told me that it would be ok if I went home. I didn’t take her up on the offer but it was nice to know that I had freedom to leave if it wanted to. Often our spouses feel obligated to serve or to be up at the church with us. This can lead to bitterness and frustration. If we simply give them permission to take a break then they feel that they have a choice to be there. When your spouse is there by choice they will be more present and have more passion for the ministry. I encourage you to regularly make it clear to your spouse that they are NOT obligated to be up at the church 24/7 with you.
Third, she gave me appreciation. What ultimately kept me going was that I knew my wife appreciated my hard work. I am surprised how many pastors fail to acknowledge how much their spouses sacrifice for the sake of the ministry. We can take for granted that they are going to show up and support us every week. We will go out of our way to make a volunteer feel loved and supported, but do we do that for our spouses? Many spouses suffer from neglect for our ministry without so much as a word of thanks. Make sure you regularly communicate appreciation and gratitude for their sacrifice and support. A small gift or note can mean the world to an under appreciated spouse.
I am so thankful that my wife models to me how to be a better ministry spouse. So, what about you? Does your spouse need purpose, permission or appreciation? If so, go do that today!
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/LibickHawaiiChristmasPhoto.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]Kevin Libick is a Middle School Pastor living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Kara and her two cats. He is a novice banjo picker and expert Hawaiian food eater. Kevin loves to connect with other youth workers and equip them to live out their calling in God’s Kingdom. Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @kevinlibick[/author_info] [/author]