|Our first day of planting a church, Easter 1992. We met in a nearby school for services and our home for small group.|
It’s the proverbial chicken or the egg conundrum—which comes first?
Messy marriage, therefore, messy ministry?
Messy ministry, therefore, messy marriage?
Well, in my household, it’s been both/and. There were times when the messiness of my marriage made our ministry messier. And there were times when the messiness of our ministry made our marriage messier.
First, let me recount how our marriage made the ministry messier …
- I can remember on more than one or two occasions when my husband and I got into an argument in the middle of a small group Bible study. Talk about making everyone feel awk-WARD! Yikes!
- I can remember having to be ON and smiling bright when the doors of our house were opened, even if we had just gotten into an argument before the group meeting was to begin. Maybe that’s why we got into those arguments in the “middle” of Bible study. Ya think?!
- I can remember how difficult it was for my husband to conduct any ministry business in his basement office since it just happened to be below the kitchen where our toddlers shouted, ran and rode happily above. You guessed it—more angles for arguments! UGH!
Now for how the ministry may have made the marriage messier …
- I can remember the stresses of barely scraping by on an uncertain and meager church planter’s salary. Naturally, that gave us plenty of exciting, new topics to
arguediscuss when bill paying time came around.
- I can remember the long and on-call hours that the fledgling church required. Boundaries, shm-oundries!
- I can remember the resistance and generally bad attitudes that the church members often brought, and appeared to have bought, with their membership.
- I can remember the pressures from those same church members expecting us to know how to do something God-sized with our little bit of
seminary knowledgeyouthful hopefulness.
- I can remember the back-biting and gossip that stung like a dagger in our hearts when our little church was rocked by difficult times and difficult attitudes.
Of course, I was reminded of those hard times (that, thankfully, are much better now in the ministries we enjoy today) when the anonymous writer spoke of her own messy marriage and ministry difficulties last week.
Ministry requires a lot of a couple—especially a young couple that’s just trying to figure out marriage much less ministry.
And let’s not forget that Satan wants to destroy anything of any power in the kingdom of God. (Eph. 6:12)
I say all this just so that those of you who are on the front lines and in the trenches of ministry—know that you are not crazy or weird or failures. And most importantly, you’re … not alone.
Would all of you join me today in thanking your ministers and their wives for all that they put up with and do? And also please make a point to pray for them as they battle the unceasing demands of being in a messy ministry and/or messy marriage.