I met my wife over ten years ago. We were both volunteers in Baltimore City with dreams of changing the world. She was with me through my interview process at my current church. My wife has been there through my ups and downs and is one of the reasons I’m still in ministry today.
Over the years my wife has been involved. For some married youth ministers it’s natural to have your spouse involved, especially when they feel called to ministry. But, what happens when the spouse doesn’t feel called or has a full-time (or part-time) job of their own? It can be a challenge; however, if your spouse is involved they can be your biggest ally. If you want to involve them be sure you:
- Don’t Assume: Do not assume that they get it. Do not assume that they are as fire about teens and their faith as you are. See them as someone who loves you and cares about what you do, just not at the same level. It’s not fair to get frustrated at your spouse if he or she is just not that into youth ministry. Realize that they can support you in other ways.
- Show Them The Bigger Picture: Again, don’t assume that they get it. If you want your spouse invested into the world of youth ministry invite them to a training or conference. Ask them to read a book that’s shaped you in your ministry. Invite them to attend a youth night to give you feedback on what you are doing. Communicate what is going on in your world.
- Invite Them Like You Would Anyone Else: While your spouse is different from all of your other volunteers, you need to treat them like one. Invite them to get involved and maybe as a one time thing at first. Make sure you feed, guide and lead them like you would your other volunteers. Help them feel like they are a part of the team. When they feel included, they’ll feel invested.
- Guard Their Boundaries: Just like other volunteers understand that they have limits. This might be difficult because your relationship is intimate. Do not take it personal when they say they can not help out or no longer serve. Understand that they are going to be under a spotlight just like you.
- Return The Favor: You want them involved in your world, get involved in theirs. It might not seem as attractive as what you do, but that should not matter. If there are events with their work make sure you attend when you can. If they have an interest invest in it. Being married to a youth minister is not a one sided agreement.
When your spouse is involved in youth ministry they could serve you twice. Once as your volunteer and once as your husband and or wife. Recognize the situation is unique. Communicate with them clearly, respect their boundaries and they’ll be with you through the journey.
How do you involve your spouse in ministry?