There are many opinions on whether husbands and wives should work together in ministry, and there are many facets to what this looks like.
I do believe if a man is called to full-time ministry, his wife can be a part of that. Her involvement can be what she feels it needs to be. Or if a woman is called, her husband is still a part. I have followed many individuals in ministry and I have seen spouses play different roles, such as:
- Joyce Meyer: Her husband, Dave, is very supportive and a vital part of her ministry.
- Anne Graham Lotz: Her husband, Daniel, had his own business but was very supportive of his wife until his death in 2015.
- Billy Graham: His wife Ruth supported him and played a vital role in raising their children and being there for Billy.
- John and Lisa Bevere: They work together in ministry and have made a great impact in God's kingdom.
- Steve and Kathy Gray: Together they are carriers of revival and continue to minister strong together.
These men and women of God have encouraged me so much throughout the years. I am encouraged to be a good wife, a good mother and then a good minister of gospel. I see how they all had to have faith and commitment to one another to stay in the race together. I know it is not easy, it's challenging, and like any married couple, you have to work hard to keep your marriage strong.
My husband and I pioneered our ministry 19 years ago, and it's been quite the journey building a ministry together. We have found there are many things we do well together and many things we do not do well together. I would never say that married couples should not work together in ministry—I am not God. However, like anything else, there must be prayer, and you must count the cost.
Your marriage is a ministry in itself—it is supposed to bring glory to God. My heart goes out to the many couples in ministry whose marriages ended in divorce. You can try to do good for others, yet your marriage can fall apart. We are all susceptible to this, whether you are in ministry or not.
I don't have all the answers as to why some marriages make it and some don't, but I will share five keys that can help in working with your spouse in ministry:
- Be sure you are both called to full-time ministry together. It is so easy for the spouse to get pulled in due to zeal, support, a need to fill a gap or because it's expected.
- Find out what your specific gifts are individually. In 20 years of ministry, I helped in every area but didn't start utilizing my gifts until after 15 years. If your spouse is called to work with you, the best support they can give you is functioning in their gift. It lessens the frustration and conflict.
- Lessen your expectations. The greatest way to have conflict working together is when you have a lot of expectations working together. Lower the expectations so you are not left with frustration of unmet expectations.
- Don't take conflict personally. Sometimes the spouse is in the "boss" role and getting offended can be easy. Always remember you both have the same goal at the end of the day; working in ministry is about reaching people. Be quick to say you're sorry and be quick to forgive. Humility is a must in working together in ministry—you need God's grace.
- God wants the glory in your marriage and in your ministry. At the end of the day, if you and spouse have to work together in ministry you must encourage, affirm, support, be slow to anger and quick to say sorry. You are not each other's enemy; Satan is. God needs you and your spouse to agree and ask anything in His name, and it shall be done.
Working together in ministry can be like walking a thin line. With God's grace and mercy, however, you can do it. Learn to celebrate each other and each other's gifts, God would have never brought you together for it to crumble in the ministry.
I encourage couples to pray together, don't talk about each other to other ministry staff, encourage each other in the Lord and, when you go home, be the husband and wife God created you both to be.
Along with her husband, Pastor Luis Reyes, Tricia Reyes is the co-founder of The New Church Of Joy in Waukegan, Illinois. She is a blogger and author and helps manage her daughter Madison's (Maddie Rey) Music Ministry. She is a devoted wife as well as mother to Madison and Matthew and loves the Lord with all her heart! To learn more about Tricia's ministry or to book her for a Women's Event/Conference visit her website at triciareyes.com or thenewchurchofjoy.com.
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