The husband of one wife continued
Are you praying together for God to lead the two of you? Because like it or not, she’s stuck on you, and she doesn’t just want to be along for the ride. She was called to your side to watch your back. A church planter’s wife does a huge amount of the work, feels all the same elation’s and fears, and yet carries an even bigger burden. She carries the church planter himself, and trust me, that’s often 200 pounds of insecure, nervous, faith- infused, spirit-filled sinner! Like Ginger Rogers said, “I did everything that Fred did except I did it backwards and in high heels!” The bottom line is that your wife needs to be included in the process. You’ve got to simultaneously lead from the front, and yet take up the rear of the line. Wives need to be needed. They need to be given the respect of marching in cadence to the drum roll that we’re hearing from God. More importantly, they need to be able to hear it. This can only be accomplished by praying together through the issues of your church plant.
Paul’s main point of “faithful to one wife” is that the leader needs to be a one woman man. There is an old mantra that veteran ministers used to bark at young recruits, “Don’t touch the women. Don’t touch the money. And don’t touch the glory.” Don’t touch the women. Wouldn’t it be great if just saying “No to Drugs” and women was enough? We focus on the act of adultery in books and sermons by cleverly finding different ways to say “DON’T!” Perhaps a more effective approach is to instruct what to DO. If you spend more time doing the “do’s” you won’t have time or desire for the don’ts. A good marriage always serves as a protective helmet to the bullet of infidelity, but if you still need me to spell it out, remember what George Luz told the 562nd division of the 101st airborne “Just remember boys, flies carry disease. So keep yours closed.”
Paul doesn’t stop at the leader’s wife however. He also says that your kids need to be respectful of your leadership. After all, they get more of your leadership than anyone else does. For that reason they are a good litmus test of your ability to lead a church. Perhaps they demonstrate more abdication of leadership at your hands. How long does this last? I believe that as long as your kids are living under your roof, you are taking responsibility for them. Adult children who have left home do not prevent the leader from leading if they are not following after Christ. Should they go off the rails in teenage years, it’s usually indicative of something that’s broken in the family. Perhaps more than ever, they need the leader to back away from all distractions and focus all of his gifts and love on what’s going on at home. When a man’s own family is not his priority something is drastically wrong.
Taking a break is one of the secret weapons every soldier should be kitted with to ensure ministerial longevity. One of the reasons guys take a nose dive to the mat is because they don’t have the freedom to throttle off, lock the breaks, and skid themselves to a halt.
Team leadership affords the leader that kind of freedom. All too often in our current incarnation of church, people become too dependent upon the pastor, so that he can’t breathe. Instead of being able to take a trip with his wife, and rekindle the fire, he burns the candle at both ends, giving her the neck of the chicken. Eventually, he burns out, and/or self-destructs his ministry with sexual sabotage. Jesus knew when to get into a boat and push off from the crowds lining the shore. He also knew when to retreat to a mountain top and recharge. Every leader should be equipped with a flare gun that he can discharge as he looks his team members in the eye and levels with them. He needs to have the guts to say, “Hey guys, I need to take a break, so that I can still salvage my walk with Christ and my family”. When ministry becomes a job, and starts being about the perks, everything begins to change for the worse. No wonder ministers are dropping like flies. When it becomes about maintaining that lifestyle by grubbing after people and their tithe checks, it no longer allows them to take a break when they need to because people might leave if they don’t show their face in the pulpit.
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.