Monday, May 16, 2011

Husband and Wife Team in Ministry

One year ago today, Trent was hired as youth minister at our church. It has been one crazy adventure of a year that really threw us for a loop at first. Youth ministry ain't no regular 8-5 job and is a whole different ball game from what we were used to before. Suddenly what Trent was volunteering to do in his free time became his job and what I started doing in my free time on top of my job was helping Trent with his ministry. That was a wee bit tricky for me to figure out at first and I really was a pouty partner for a while. See, I like to know what I'm supposed to do and what is expected of me, and neither of us really knew what either of us was supposed to do or what was expected of us for a little while there. What the heck does it mean to be a youth minister's wife...while being a CPA? I didn't know. And I started out in the wrong direction. But with time, trial and error, some of our polar opposite traits rubbing off on each other some more, and some good conversations, we finally got on the same page, started to figure this crazy thing out and began rockin' and rollin' as a team.

So, in honor of Trent's first anniversary of being a youth minister, I thought I'd share some of our "secrets"...that should not be kept secrets at all! Please spread them around to any and all new youth ministry couples you know!

What are some tricks and tips for being a husband and wife team in ministry?

~ Be exactly that: a team
It's just like the rest of a marriage should be. Should be a team, not two individuals. Share goals, troubles, effort, down time. Simply be in it together.

~ Patience
Patience with the youth, patience with the youth parents, patience with other church members, patience with volunteers, patience with each other. Just gotta be able to take a deep breath sometimes, tell ourselves that such and such is really not that big of a deal, that this and that will blow over. It's all gonna be ooookaaaaay.

~ Communicate...everything
Talk about expectations, hopes, dreams, frustrations, successes, failures, tricky scriptures, obvious mistakes, faith questions, specific youth, the group as a whole, etc, etc. Run stuff by each other, ask each others' opinions, share doubts and hesitations. Keep things out in the open.

~ Don't rely on assumptions
This mostly means that the spouse that is the minister should not just assume that their non-minister spouse who has a real world job otherwise can or will be there at every single event and service. Run stuff by them to make sure it will fit into their schedule or plan and that they even want to help with that particular item! Treat them like you would another volunteer, make sure stuff works for them and that they have the chance to say no if you need to. Trent is very good about this now. I have an "I don't work for the church, you do" card, to put it bluntly, and he reminds me that I can play that card when I need to, and I appreciate that.

~ Capitalize on differing strengths and capabilities
No two people are the same and therefore no two people can offer the same strengths and capabilities in ministry. Trent can put together a cool Songshow Plus slideshow, talk baseball and football with the boys, set up a projector...I can write thank you notes to snack supper providers, go jogging with the girls and talk about chick flicks. He goes paint balling while I have slumber parties. One youth mom told me this past January, "Anna, you are just so calm and so nice and that is just what these girls need." Calm and nice? I can do that. Deep theological discussions? Not so much. That's all Trent. We both can offer different things to different people and between the two of us we can do a lot of good.

~ Grow in faith together
This is pretty important. Being in a position of spiritual leadership is a crazy ride for your own spiritual journey. People revere you as some kind of guru when really you are realizing more and more that you don't know all the answers, not even close. God is big and it's impossible to know everything about Him or know answers for everyone's questions. You just have to humble yourself and say "I don't know" sometimes. But it's always good to keep learning and growing in Him, praying for His strength and guidance. Pray together, study the Bible together, read books together. Not only does it strengthen your own relationship with God, but it also strengthens your relationship with each other.

Here's to our first year as a husband and wife team in ministry. Let the adventures continue!

March 2011, Spring Break Skate

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