A Man Feels Called to Plant a Church but His Wife Does Not. Should He Plant?

plant a church

From time to time I’ll meet a couple. He feels like God has called him to plant a church, but she isn’t so sure. Sometimes, it is just fear on her part.

What will it look like? What will being a pastor’s wife feel like? Will my friendships change? How will this affect my kids? Where will money come from?

Many guys, because they are visionary, excitable, wanting to serve God with their whole lives either ignore these questions or simply give answers akin to, “We’ll figure it out.”

When I meet a couple, if she does not feel called to plant a church, I tell them to wait.

If a couple is truly one and if God is calling one of them to plant a church, he will make it clear to the other one that they are both called to plant. If they plant while one is still on the fence or opposed to it, disaster for them and the church awaits them.

When I say this, I get a stunned look from many guys and they reply with, “If I do that, I won’t plant. What am I supposed to do then? I’m sinning if I don’t do what God has called me to.”

Here are a few thoughts on that question that you may have right now:

  1. If God has called you to plant, you’ll plant. It may not be on your timetable or how you would picture it, but it will happen. Maybe you’ll be part of a church plant, maybe you’ll actually be the planter. You may want to do it at 20, but it will happen at 40. Revolution got planted a full decade after God birthed the vision in my head. Why? I needed to grow up and get beat up in ministry so my pride was sanded down for God to properly use me. 
  2. Just because you feel called to ministry doesn’t mean you are. Lots of guys want to be a pastor. They see what a pastor does on stage. Everyone is looking at them, they are in front of people, they spend time at Starbucks, have lunch meetings, read books and blogs and work one day a week. What they don’t see are the angry emails, the stress that can come from leading volunteers and staff, budget meetings, counseling sessions that go awry, and the stress and spiritual warfare that comes to a pastors’ wife and kids. You may be called to ministry, you may want to be called to ministry. That is why it is important to have a church affirm your calling.
  3. Being called to ministry is something every Christian is called to. Every Christian is in ministry. Some are freed up to be pastors, some are in ministry in government, in companies or other non-profits. All Christians have spiritual gifts that they are to use. Planting and leading a church may be yours, it may not be. If it isn’t, you are not a second rate Christian.
  4. Lead your wife first. If a guy wants to plant but his wife doesn’t he’ll ask me what to do. My response? Lead your wife first. She is your first disciple. If you want to know what kind of followers or disciples a man will develop, look at his wife and kids. If you can’t lead them well, if they don’t feel called to follow you into a church plant, why will others?
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