The Church Planter’s Wife
In honor of my church planting wife on our 16th Anniversary
Sunday’s have been abnormal for my wife for the entirety of our marriage. They’ve included:
- never having her husbands help getting the kids ready for church because he’s setting up for church.
- very seldom sitting by her husband in a worship service because of preaching/sound/nursery/etc.
- going to church in weird places like apartment complex clubhouses, fire stations, former bars, & gymnasiums
- not having Sunday lunch till 2pm most weeks because he’s doing teardown & cleanup
Why? Because her husbands a church planter. I’ve never heard her complain about any of this as she has accepted this role as who she is. It’s OUR calling, she says. A calling that’s led her to:
- Lead worship for a new church’s first worship service in an un air conditioned fire station in August, WHILE 9 MONTHS PREGNANT.
- She cooked for & hosted the first new members class for a church plant, JUST BEFORE checking in to the hospital to deliver one of our children.
- She’s started worship teams, children’s teams, Bible Studies, Book Club’s, women’s ministries. She’s painted faces, painted buildings, scrubbed floors, scrubbed toilets, changed diapers, etc., etc., etc.
- She’s prepared the home for meetings probably a thousand times by now! Many times 2 or 3 times a week. Sometimes twice in one day.
- She’s never complained about short vacations & creatively inexpensive date nights or about having to work outside the home because the church planters salary was, to say it nicely, below the average income for the area.
- She’s cooked & cleaned for thousands of volunteers that have served through our ministries. Many of them in the emotional aftermath of Hurricanes that had damaged our property & the property of most of our friends.
- She’s faced the emotional ups & downs of having a type A church planting husband who has faced criticism, made bad decisions, said yes to too much, & wanted to quit every Monday.
- And during all this, did I mention WE’VE GOT KIDS! Yep, she’s also an incredible mom, sister, friend, coworker, etc.
Dr. Reggie Ogea, who recruited me to plant our first church tells me every time I see him – “You know we only hired you because of your wife. We thought you were the real deal, but we knew Heather was the real deal.” And she’s proven him right over & over again.
Sometimes as I think about all of this I want to say “I’m sorry.” But she wouldn’t get it. So I just have to keep saying THANK YOU! & giving her the praise she deserves (Proverbs 31:28, 31).
Last year I talked her into telling her story to a group of church planting wives. I told her she should write it up, but she didn’t. However, I hijacked her notes (after 16 years of marriage, we can usually guess each others passwords). Here’s her outline – the commitments of a Church Planting Wife:
- I will love my husband well.
- I will not allow chaos, conflict, & criticism to completely freak me out.
- I will be who I am created to be & not compare myself to other women.
- I will take a posture of love to the lost in my community.
Grateful that she’s fulfilled & lived these commitments out. And looking forward to many more years of planting, ministry, & life with my good thing (Proverbs 18:22) Heather Corley!