FLINT, MI – During the first few months of ONElife Church, the question kept booming in my head….what is my role? Being part of an inaugural church plant is a little different from being new to a pre-existing body of believers. My husband had a vision of planting a church as he calls it a “pioneer work”. We didn’t have a band of other church members along with us from a previous church so we were basically a church of 6. Eric was the preacher. Dan (Dan Dameron) was the Worship pastor. The kids were the kids, but where did I fit? My past experience led me to believe I should fill in the gaps wherever my husband needs me, or be whatever the church needs me to be.
So I did just that. The biggest hole was in our children's ministry so I naturally snuck back into the classroom area to help where I could. Thankfully, we invited our mentors to come to the church early on to help us evaluate and offer suggestions. They were very encouraging, but wanted to share one word of advice: “As the pastor’s wife, you add 50% of the effectiveness when it comes to connecting with people, particularly this early on in the church planting process.” Fifty percent! My husband and I discussed what this meant and prayed over my role for several days. We identified 3 things that would keep me effective in the church, which could relate to anyone, not just a pastor’s wife:
My main role is to be Spirit filled
In Galatians 5:22 Paul describes the fruit of the spirit which is addressing our heart and, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). The condition of the heart is vital when it comes to fulfilling the role as a pastor’s wife. For without the Spirit everything is vanities of vanities...as the preacher says. We can get so focused that we lose sight of the purpose and as a result the fruit of our lives start to rot. My husband often reminds our volunteers how their spiritual walk is more important than the task that they are completing.
Be a faithful church member
A pastor’s wife is not an ordained position in the church. One of my roles as a member of the church is to identify how I best serve the flock just like all other church members. To help identify my God-given strengths, I used the acrostic SHAPE, by Rick Warren.
Every pastor’s wife will be different. That is why we need to remove the title of pastor’s wife and simply focus on being a faithful church member. I attend Sunday services, small groups and leadership conferences to grow and learn just as everyone else. Sometimes the elders ask me to specifically serve in the church based on my SHAPE, so I do, just like other leaders in our church lead in their unique areas.
Be a Wife and Mother
Are we the thermostat or the thermometers in our homes? If we are tired, limited on time and stressed out, our homes can go from warm to cold in seconds. We are the thermometer reacting to our environment, and everyone can feel it. In contrast, the thermostat sets the desired temperature and works to maintain it. Such requires constant awareness, of myself, and the rest of my family. My husband depends on me for that.
What an important task we have. Nothing compares to it. To be faithful, my heart needs to be ready above all to serve His people. Press on my friends for the Kingdom of God is not yet complete, and He wants to use US no matter what SHAPE we are!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lori Stewart is a member at ONElife Church in Flint, MI and is married to pastor Eric Stewart. She is a mother of three, former BIG 10 college athlete, 1/2 marathon runner, conference speaker, and an avid reader.