2.6 Partnership in Marriage and Ministry


Church planting and marriage health

Problems in the church planter’s marriage and family are amongst the major reasons why church plants fail.

In church planting, both husband and wife need to affirm their calling to the task. However, within that shared sense of calling, there are a variety of roles, or ‘profiles’, which are equally legitimate and acceptable.

In the study of leadership, there are six common ‘profiles’ that describe how couples work out their partnership in marriage and vocational ministry.

It is important that couples understand and identify their respective roles and which profile they embrace together. This choice will determine how they are assessed as prospective church planters and greatly enhance their partnership in marriage and ministry. Below are the profiles. Please click on each and read through the overview and implications for church planters before completing a short reflection on the profiles.

1. Internal-External

One spouse concentrates primarily on external ministry as a career (in this case church planting) and is the chief source of economic support. The other spouse concentrates on the home ministry environment. Both participate as much as possible in each other’s sphere and needs.

Implications for church planters:

The couple personally determines the degree to which the spouse focusing on family needs is involved in external ministry. The spouse is not held accountable for external ministry responsibilities. However, the spouse is expected to participate in the life of the church and support the other’s ministry as the church planter.

2. Co-ministry partnership profile

Both engaged full-time in the same external ministry together (in this case church planting). Both share equally in meeting the internal family needs.

Implications for church planters:

In applying to become church planters both spouses are individually assessed in their ministry skills, experience and external ministry capabilities. Both spouses have job descriptions that describe this external ministry.

3. Independent ministry profile

Both spouses give themselves to full time external ministry (career) in different settings, which are relatively independent of each other, one as a church planter. The other independent setting may not be directly related to the church plant. A variation of this profile is when a spouse has a non-ministry career.

Implications for church planters:

As with option one, the spouse is expected to participate fully in the life of the church without necessarily taking on formal responsibilities.

When this choice is made couples need to ensure the choice is not detrimental to the marriage, the family, or the ability of the other spouse to effectively carry out their church planting responsibilities.

4. Alternative ministry profile

The spouses alternate the release profile, internal ministry for varying portions of time. Each releases and helps the other develop the external ministry or career or education for significant portions of time. It’s a planned swap.

Implications for church planters:

This profile may not be effective for a church planting couple until after the church is established.

5. Delayed ministry profile

This is a variation of the internal/external profile. Both spouses had ministries before marriage. One spouse drops most external ministry and concentrates on meeting the needs of the family. Eventually that spouse re-enters external ministry that is independent or co-ministry.

Implications for church planters:

This often happens when couples begin to have children. The major implication is that changing roles and expectations are clearly articulated and agreed upon by all parties.

6. Non-Harmonious profile

One or the other spouses opposes the other’s role in or some significant way hinders fulfillment of potential. Needs are not met whether economic, strategic or social.

Implications for church planters:

This profile would be damaging to both the marriage and the ministry of the church planter. We do not recommend that a couple with this profile plant a church.

Reflection on the Profiles

2.2 Online Guided Self-Reflection

It is not appropriate statistically, nor is it wise spiritually, to say if a person can or cannot plant a church. The purpose of the Online Guided Self-Reflection that includes the Lifeway Church Planter Assessment (CPCA) is to help the potential church planter take...

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2.3 Baptist Association Values

Core values are the building blocks on which we build our lives, our relationships and our actions. Every person has core values that define who they are and without realising it, control who they become. As the Baptist Churches of NSW and ACT, we have defined what...

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2.7 Church Planter Assessment

The Church Planter Assessment (CPA) is a key element of the Discernment Cycle. It consists of an in-situ observation and behavioural interview designed to identify the necessary character, calling, competencies and connections of a potential church planter. The...

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