When we look at Christian couples today, we find there are many husband-wife ministry teams. They are made up of strong people with a vision and a heart for those who need the love of God. Long-admired Bill and Ruth Graham: he is the evangelist while she plays a more supportive role. Another couple is renowned Dr. James and his equally visible wife, Shirley Dobson. While he is an outspoken and plain spoken Christian psychologist, she founded the National Day of Prayer. Mark and Melanie Hall might not be known by name, but most of us have heard of their Christian music group Casting Crowns. While Mark is the composer, lyricist and lead singer, his wife is busy in the background making things work: family life on the road, details of their travels, and more. We can think of many other examples of husbands and wives who choose to minister together.
While there are many ways couples make ministering together flow seamlessly, there are some foundational elements we can observe and emulate, making it practical to our daily lives.
First, there will usually be one leader and the other supportive. And in different settings the roles can reverse. The same person doesn’t always have to lead. However, recognizing the gifts and abilities of each marriage partner will give you some idea on their role in the partnership.
In our lives, when I ministered in song, leading worship and singing solos, Spouse learned how to run the sound system. He was the technical go-to guy for all of my sound needs. He could add reverb at certain points, boost the volume when I was singing low, or do a myriad of other tricks to help me sound good and our ministry minister. We were both in the lead in our specific tasks; I was just the public persona.
Other times we have shared the task. When we have taught Bible Studies in our home, I might do a lot of the research, planning the logical sequence of teaching. Finding the applicable verses. Bringing in other resources to support the point. Then Spouse brings his infinite wisdom and solidity. So we share the teaching.
When I teach Bible Studies to women, Spouse really doesn’t want to be part of it, so his job is praying. And he does. We join together to invite God in, to bind the hands of the enemy, and for God to open the minds of those in attendance. And he prays while I’m teaching: short bursts of requests heaven bound – for God to work in their hearts, to open their eyes, to help and to heal.
And I support him the same way. Sunday School classes for teens had him up front, and me praying. I would help with research and planning, but he delivered. He taught the lessons and answered questions. And the teens loved him.
Speaking at churches or conventions, I am typically the one up front. Again Mark’s role is technical: is the battery new for the headset? Is the volume high enough? Are these the correct hand-outs for this talk? Where do we need to be next? And all of the other behind-the-scenes things he does.
Writing and publishing The Mother’s Heart, our magazine for moms at home, there are so many things we both do, and there are some items only one of us does. I connect with writers; he listens as I talk out the situations, ideas and articles – and gives his opinion. I do the graphic layout, but he advises. We both write – he does when he can; I do all the time!
On another front, he is the one who connects with people outside the home. We call it domestic and foreign affairs. I take care of domestic: what’s in the home, what we need to do, the things pertaining to our family and our house. He takes care of foreign – things outside the family and home: His work, our home businesses, insurance, etc. This delegation works well for us, and doesn’t have us micro-managing each other’s responsibilities – just trusting we’ll get it all finished.
Each of these ministry avenues have seen us working together to present a unified front, whoever was up front for the task. Neither of us begrudges the other’s ministry. Both of us, in prayer, agree on the things we become involved in, the ministry we take on. And we separate the tasks according to the time: who has the ability and the situation, and who has the passion?
Over the years, we have learned that ministry isn’t always in a church – it’s in our daily lives, in our neighborhoods, in the parking lot, at work, to our own family. And our roles are not always the same. But, when we have an attitude of putting God first, and our egos are out of the way, then we can have a uniting of hearts in true ministry. And God can bless.
Mark and Kym Wright have been ministering together for nearly 38 years. Their first ministry is to their eight children, then to the readers of The Mother’s Heart magazine. You can visit her website here!
Publication date: June 25, 2012