This post was written by Dave Harvey’s wife, Kim.
If you’re reading this, chances are, you’ve already had “the conversation”. You know, the one where he casually attempts to bring up the mind-numbing news of his nudge from God. Or, maybe he just cooly threw out an “idea-in passing” that he’s been praying about, and asked if you think he might be called to ministry. I don’t care how prepared you are, but that question tends to make a wife feel like she’s suddenly stuck in a flight simulator, unable to find a place to land her brain.
I can relate. When my husband told me he felt called to ministry, I thought, “You, yes…I see it. Me? Umm, I don’t think so! After all, I don’t know the first thing about being a pastor’s wife. And by the way, how can you be called to ministry with my personality attached to you? I don’t wear jumpers (…it was in the mid-80s), I’m overly opinionated, and I’m certainly not a cheap date!”
Needless to say, we started a couple of steps back.
My husband says about 50% of the wives of potential church planters or pastors don’t immediately see what their husbands are sensing. Maybe you’re in that group right now. If so, here are some thoughts a few very wise girlfriends shared with me back in the day.
Ministry: It’s His Call, Not Yours
I have good news. There’s no office of pastor’s wife or church planter’s helpmate in Scripture. This means it’s your husband who may be called to lead the church, not you. This doesn’t spring you completely (see the next point), but it does put his call into perspective. I know I needed that. Early on, I fought against the idea of whether I could really be a pastor’s wife because of the stereotyped images of what I thought a good pastor’s wife looked like. Understanding the distinction between his role and my own was not only a huge relief, but it freed me to think more clearly about the things I could do to help and serve.
But His Call Makes A Claim Upon You
Sorry, you’re not completely sprung. God’s word makes a claim upon you, and I’m sure it’s one you will gladly embrace since it comes from our Lord. Ladies, your guy’s leadership in your marriage and home will be examined (1 Tim. 3:4-5; Titus 1:6, 8). He is also called to be “hospitable” (1 Tim 3:2, Titus 1:8) and to have believers and unbelievers in his home – that’s hard to do without his wife. I think we can also infer that if a deacon’s wife is accountable to certain requirements (1 Tim 3:11), we will be too.
But I look at it all this way: If you love your husband, want to care for your kids, don’t mind using your home as a place for some ministry, and don’t chafe under a little accountability, then you’re already most of the way there. You go girl!
Trust God for the Process
It seems to me this whole thing is pretty much about faith. God wants to lead you in a wonderful journey of teaming up with your husband to discover God’s will. The path you walk may both frustrate and exhilarate, but our gracious God has issued the invitation.
Ask hard questions of yourself; ask them about your husband too. Don’t be afraid to face hard answers. This is about more than simply defining a call. God will transform you through the process. Yes, God will make His will known. But it will come through times of transparent talk together as you trust your Father who “rewards those who seek him” (Heb 11:6).
More good news! If your husband ends up planting or pastoring a church, the challenges will be hard, but the experience will be more glorious that you can ever imagine. This will be the case for both of you! So it’s time to pray, because for this adventure you’re gonna need it!