Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ministry in Marriage: When your Calling isn't the Same as Your Spouse

Before Aaron and I got married, I could not wait for us to serve in the church together.

I had seen so many examples of wonderful Christian couples who did ministry together as husband and wife. They were counsellors, missionaries, pastors and their wives ministering to their flock as a united team.

There were couples working together in small groups, children and youth ministries or church planting. In big ways and small, couples were serving and blessing the church together.

I looked at those examples and just assumed that would be us. I figured that once we became one flesh as husband and wife, my ministry desires would become his, his ministry desires would become mine and we would be a Ministry Super Team, joyfully doing God's work together.

I also assumed the ministry we would take on would be in youth or college - places I felt most called (you see where this is going, don't you?).

How could you look at us and not think "Super Team"?? I know. Pretty easily.
While my husband was willing to serve wherever I wanted to serve, he never felt  particularly passionate about where we were serving. It actually kind of really bothered me. I thought we would have the same passions when it came to serving in the church.

I had built up this ideal of serving as a couple. I thought however we served, it would be huge and amazing. We would be serving God passionately together, like only Ministry Super Teams could.

Except Aaron never had big, huge, ministry passions. He served out of a desire to be obedient to God. While God hadn't placed a particular ministry area on Aaron's heart, He had given him a desire to serve wherever he was needed, with a joyful heart. I wanted my husband to serve with me, and my husband wanted to serve where he was needed.

Looking back, I realize my expectations were not only stupid unrealistic, they weren't exactly demonstrating a real desire to serve, either.  (doh!)

The church spends so much time talking about "calling" and "giftedness". Some people are teachers, counsellors, pastors. They work with adults, women, kids, homeless.  Some people are called to serve in specific ways, but all of us, regardless of gifting, are called to be servants. 
Romans 12:10-13 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Romans 12 (and especially verses 10-13), really describes my husband's heart. From the moment he gave his life to Christ, he has demonstrated what it means to be a living sacrifice to God and to others.

While I thought we needed to be called to one particular ministry, Aaron knew that as a believer we are all called to serve. He had a heart and passion for service in general, even while he wasn't exactly as excited about leading junior high bible studies as I was.

For a season early on in our marriage Aaron made it possible for me to go on countless youth group trips while he cared for our babies at home. Right now I am called to support him while he takes on the responsibilities that come with being an elder in our church.

I have learned that rather than trying to force serving together in one ministry, that because we are members of the same body of Christ and as husband and wife, regardless of what our ministry interests are, we are serving together. There is unity in the body when we serve, even though we do so in different ways.

As husband and wife we support each other in ways only spouses can, making sure that we are both available to do what God is calling us to do in ministry.

PS Aaron helped me write this. See? TEAMWORK!
PPS He says "Go Ministry Super Team!" Not at all ironically.
PPPS He wanted me to take out the part about how awesome he was, "Because it isn't true." But I left it, because obviously it is true.
PPPPS This post was a test to see if I know how to spell marriage. I didn't (marraige) before. Now I do. "I" before "A", Claire,"I" before "A".


  1. Love this post! My husband and I are so the same way -- he lives out his faith very differently than I do (case in point: He sometimes wants to skip worship at the start of a service whereas that's the best part for me, and where he could study the Bible with others for hours and hours and hours, I'd rather skip to the fellowship :)). So when it comes to finding a similar ministry, we couldn't be farther apart.

    For us, we seem better suited to going to church together, being actively involved in a small group together, but serving in separate ministries that fit our personal gifts/talents. At the end of the day, though, we're still serving the same church body; we're just using our personal gifts in the best ways we can. Make sense? It's still a work in progress, but I think God has given us these differences so we can share our experiences and learn from each other through the unique ways we serve.

    And now I've just written a novel. Oopsies. :)

    (Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough)

    1. I like novels! You guys sound very much like us. Definitely a work in progress!

  2. You both are awesome. Ministry Super Team, super kick in the hiney here. I needed to hear this. Thanks. Off to read more of your archives and smile while my dinner is cooling. PS. We need to get together soon. PSS. Sorry, I forgot you're a bajillion miles away from me. PSSS. Hi Aaron, I'm Gabreial. The "i" before "e" except after "c" rule didn't matter to my mom when I was born, she wanted me to be different and clearly... well I'll leave that up to you all.

    1. Gabreial, I laughed so hard at your i before e! Yay for being different! Every time I see your name I think that you are an elf from Lord of the Rings, clearly with a name like that and your pretty pretty hair and pretty pretty eyes you are related to Arwen and Galadriel.

  3. This post is spot-on. I love that you can make such insightful observations while also being really funny. You know you're funny, right? You definitely are. :)

    1. Thank you, friend! I love that you think I'm funny, but it is probably dangerous knowledge because funny people always think they are 100 times funnier than they really are. I have children who, thankfully, assure me daily that I am definitely NOT funny. (which is code for "mom is embarrassing")


Comments are moderated, it will be approved after I make sure you aren't a cylon. I have tests for that.