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Does My Wife Have to Share My Sense of Calling?

Bruce and Susan Wesley planted Clear Creek Community Church in Houston, Texas, nearly two decades ago, and love being a church-planting church. Two years ago, they joined the Acts 29 Network and have been a tremendous blessing to Acts 29 church planters in the Houston region, the Texas region, and the Network as a whole. We are so thankful for this seasoned couple and their love for each other, and their love and ministry to our Acts 29 family.

The following is adapted and excerpted from Bruce's message at the recent Dallas boot camp, where he spoke about The Church Planter's Marriage.

I had a guy ask me one time, “does my wife have to share my calling to plant a church?”

Seriously?

I live among rocket scientists and engineers these days, but I used to live in Cut and Shoot, Texas. It’s a very different world.

In Cut and Shoot, if a man wanted to have a house and was trying to live financially free or couldn’t get a loan, typically he would buy some land, and he would take his wife and children out onto that land. They’d live in a tent until he dug a well and a septic tank. And then he would build a garage and they would live in the garage and build (by hand) their own house and pay as they went.

Think about the leadership challenge that is. How are you going to help your wife understand what life you’re going to have when you go through this long, hard process and you finally have your own home? You have to convince her of that future while it’s 25 degrees in February or the third week that it’s 100 degrees in August, and she’s going to live in tent with the kids.

That’s going to take some leadership. And there are some challenges along the way with that. 

So when guys ask me ‘does my wife have to share my calling?’ I think:

Do you understand that if you plant a church, that along with the planting of a church comes the greatest challenges in a marriage?

For heaven's sake don’t do this: don’t say, “well the church is my thing, and the home is my wife’s thing.” If you say that, don’t plant a church! No matter what, you’re going to struggle with the church being your husband’s mistress, and your children being your wife’s lover, and that’s going to separate the two of you. So you have to have 100% commitment by both parties for the church and for the home. Because the challenges will come.

Like when some lady has her finger poked in my wife’s chest, all mad about not being a part of a decision in the early days. Or when the rich snooty lady is in my living room telling my wife how with just a few calls she can get us run out of town. Or when we’re having that discussion about how we’re not making enough money and we’re not going to get paid, so we’re maybe going to lose the house.

Those conversations are challenges for the marriage.

You’d better bet that she needs to be on the team, and be clear that this sense of calling is a shared sense of calling.

You’ve got to lead her first. I’m not talking command and control lead. I’m talking the shepherd and vision and pray kind of lead. The kind of lead where she looks in your eyes and she is confident that God has spoken to you and you’re following God’s leading. 

Listen to Bruce's full message on The Church Planter's Marriage.

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Bruce is the founding and Senior Pastor of Clear Creek Community Church. Bruce and Susan married in 1983.  After serving two churches in the Houston area, he and Susan moved to League City in 1993 to start CCCC with nine area families. The Wesleys have three adult daughters. Sarahbeth is married to Tim Dikun, they live in Orlando, FL. Rebekah and her husband Pablo Madrid live in Houston. Micah, their youngest daughter, lives in Houston as well. Bruce holds a BA in Practical Theology from Howard Payne University (1983), a Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the founder of the Houston Church Planting Network and a Board Member of Acts 29, a network of more than 500 churches who cooperate as a global catalyst for church planting.  Bruce is a group Navigator.  He loves the mountains, where he enjoys fly fishing and hiking trails.