married to the ministry

David and I have been married for 13 years, and of those 13 years, all of them have been spent in ministry of one kind or another.

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We’ve been on staff at brand new churches, growing churches, and even failing ones. We’ve been a part of churches the size of a small town and churches where everyone can fit in one living room. We have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of ministry.

Make no mistake, I use the word “we” to describe our 13 year trek intentionally. Because in a lot of ways, that’s the way that both great marriages and ministries are made to work. In marriage, it’s natural and healthy to take interest in the other person’s interests. It’s important to be a helper. A supporter. A partner. An encourager. The “we’re in this together” thing keeps you close. It makes you stronger. I’ve found that ministry functions in very much the same way. Ministry isn’t just what we do, it’s who we are. It’s the life we live. So – as a result, I take interest in his area of ministry. I encourage him. I support him. Because of this blurry area,  a lot of churches see Ministers and their wives as a kind of a “package deal”. It’s not entirely fair, but it’s the way it works. I’ve often thought that it is interesting that no one asks a Firefighter’s wife to gather a team of volunteers to wash the trucks. Lawyer’s wives aren’t expected to help prosecute criminals.  Minister’s wives, however, are expected to be active participants in their husband’s area of ministry.

Being married to a Worship Pastor means that the first question that I usually get asked after meeting someone at church for the first time is, “Do you sing too?”. To which I almost always respond, “Oh no. NO body wants that to happen.” And then David almost always looks at me and says, “Oh Jennifer…you aren’t that bad” (which is exactly the kind of blinded-by-love lie that smart husbands are obliged to tell). And then I say, “Actually, I like to call myself ‘The Best of the Worst’. I’m not good, but I’m not the worst.” Obligatory laughter ensues. It’s good times. And after 13 years, it seems a little scripted. I’ve got to come up with some new material. I don’t sing. I don’t play the piano. I don’t set up sound equipment and stage lighting. I just don’t.

I do, however, love my husband. I support him. I listen to him. That’s what I think is the most important way that I can be an effective worship pastor’s wife. Because honestly, no one wants me to sing. For reals.

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