My husband, Kyle, and I planted a church in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2008. Prior to planting, he served on the staff of an established church in Texas.
When God called us into church planting, Kyle approached the senior pastor at this church and explained what was happening in our hearts. The pastor said, “We’re on board with you and will help you in whatever way we can.” And they did. They became our primary sending church, providing financial and people support that enabled us to carry out our calling.
This support was not only directed toward my husband, but also toward me. As a church planting wife, I needed that support. I needed to know that, although we felt alone and that we were carrying a huge burden on our own, we weren’t by ourselves at all. I craved biblical encouragement that would help me persevere, and not just persevere, but persevere with faith and joy. Our sending church’s support made all the difference for me and for our marriage and family.
All church planting wives need support and encouragement. As pastors and leaders of existing churches, here’s how you can come alongside them and help them fulfill their calling:
1. Send but Keep Church Planters and Their Wives
It’s not enough to be a sending church that faithfully sends planters out or supports planters financially. In order for church planters and their families to thrive, they must be both sent and kept. Provide what they need to go, but don’t send and forget. Send and remember. Talk about the church plant with your church and provide prayer points so that the church can pray for the planter and his family. Invite the church planter and his family back regularly to share about what they’re doing, but don’t focus on results and numbers. Focus instead on the faithfulness of the sent and the faithfulness of God.
As a staff or group of elders, check in with both the church planter and his wife to gauge how they’re doing personally, spiritually and in their marriage, and, if they need help, provide it. This especially hits to the heart of what the church planting wife needs from a sending church.
2. Provide Adequate Financial Support
Don’t be stingy with your financial support. Providing abundantly gives the church planting wife the freedom to not work outside the home, thus alleviating a main source of her stress in church planting. It also alleviates the stress of bivocational church planting, which is extremely difficult and puts pressure on the marriage and family unit most of all.