When I was a senior in high school, many years ago, I went to a leadership conference at the college I would later attend. During that conference, I remember learning about leading. I do not remember all the things that were taught but I do remember God placed in my heart the call to ministry. I knew at some point, God wanted me to be in ministry either alone or with a future spouse.
In past churches, and even at one of the somewhat recent churches, when I mention that I was “called” to ministry (specifically to lead beside my husband) I would have many look at me like I was weird, crazy. It would be considered odd to think I was called to ministry as a wife.
Let me give you some of my perspective…
No, you are not crazy to be called to serve with your husband. One of the greatest benefits to your husband’s ministry is serving beside him. With you serving in the ministry, you can serve the girls and female leaders meeting their needs better sometimes than your husband can.
You might be gifted with talents like hospitality or creativeness that makes up for a weakness of your husband, that benefits his ministry. If your husband understands you well he will see the talents you bring and find places that will help you flourish in the ministry. Not only are you not crazy, but you also might help keep your busy husband sane?
2 Corinthian 3:4-5, “Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”
Be confident in your calling that God has gifted to you. He will use it for his glory. There will be days when people want to make you doubt that you can really be called but God has placed you where He wants you, in order to use your talents along beside your husband. There will be seasons of life (*like when you have babies) that this is not as easy but just know this is just a season with continued confidence you are still called.
As I mentioned above, we have faced some in leadership in the past that couldn’t understand how or why I could consider myself called into ministry. We have even faced outright opposition, but we continued on doing ministry the way we felt God was leading us. Every time we did God blessed us. We knew that because we were both on board and serving it would all work out for us and God’s glory, and it has. We did continue on a few years ago from a place where my calling was not embraced, to now be in places where this is championed. We have seen that continuing on in my calling in confidence has brought us a new closeness!
Lastly, we have learned that serving together brings closeness. My husband and I were on a missions trip co-leading teens when we both realized that our friendship was more than friendship and that we truly loved each other…the rest is history!
All my life in the church, the people that influenced me most were couples serving side-by-side. My husband and I often see youth ministry guys serving without there wives. We realize it makes a huge difference! Why wouldn’t you serve together? We share every other part of life. Why not serving at church together? Our students benefit when they see married love with God’s love pouring into their lives. They may not be seeing it anywhere else.
SO, my fellow youth ministry wives…Are you called? If so you are NOT crazy so be confident, continue on and seek the closeness with your husband that doing life together in ministry can bring!
Melissa Istvanik has been married to her husband, Dan for 18 years. They have served in youth ministry together for 20 years, around the country serving a wide range of students, from military kids to farm kids. Currently, they are in the process of moving just outside of Philadelphia to take on their next ministry position at Keystone Fellowship Church. She will be serving beside her husband in the student ministry- counseling students and moms, leading a small group, and more.
God has additionally worked in our heart and called her to help and mentor other youth pastors’ wives through her leadership with Leading and Loving It and as a ministry council for National Network of Youth Ministry.