I recently read Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp, where he pulls back the curtain on pastoral ministry. In his book, he confronts the notion that pastors have their lives perfectly put together, never fail, and have different needs from every other Christian. Many books have been written for church planters and for pastors, but few have been so directly applicable to the hearts and lifestyle of pastors.
What Dangerous Calling is to pastors, The Church Planting Wife is to every pastor or church planter’s wife.
It is a breath of fresh air, reviving the soul with truth while sympathizing with the challenges that church planter’s wives face, but rarely feel the freedom to discuss. It is written to the woman who has the difficult task of ministering to the man who ministers to everyone else.
Christine Hoover is married to Kyle Hoover and in 2008 they moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to start a new church to bless the people of Charlottesville and the students at the University of Virginia. Her new book is candid, transparent, and direct in teaching to church planter’s wives about the joys and struggles, trials and triumphs of church planting. It combines storytelling, teaching, and counseling to care for the heart and life of the church planter’s wife.
The book begins with her recounting the difficulties of the first year and how they brought her to question God’s plan as they lost their meeting place one year into their efforts. While every person in ministry I know has come to this crossroads, Christine highlights God’s purposes so well as she unpacks God’s work in her life.
“God allowed the difficulty of church planting to sift me, to bring the issues of my heart to the surface. I realized that if I didn’t address these things, my marriage, my family, and my own heart were in danger. God was refining me, cleaning me out, and teaching me dependence rather than self-reliance. I could continue my attempts at controlling and relying on myself, or I could submit myself in dependence on Him…I chose to trust Him with my heart and let Him do – through church planting – the work He needed to do in me.” The Church Planting Wife, p. 19-20
Christine goes on to expose her heart and the lessons she has learned along the way. From wrestling with the role of the church planter’s wife as she hears God remind her “Follow Me. Serve your family. Love people.” to dealing with the sacrifices every church planter and pastor’s family face along the way.
She takes us along her journey to understand friendships in this new world of church planting, how she has learned to stay encouraged amidst discouragement and criticism, and provides practical wisdom connected with powerful truth to guide wives through their own challenges.
Impactful for Any Believer
I found myself incredibly encouraged and challenged simply by being reminded to be dependent on God, trusting Him, and letting faithfulness be my banner of success. This book is refreshing for any believer, but certainly powerful for every church planter’s wife. I would also recommend it to any pastor and his wife as well. The insights are spot on for what every pastor and his wife that I know have and are facing.
She includes interviews from other church planter’s wives, such as Lauren Chandler, Yvette Mason, Ginger Vassar, and Jennifer Carter. Women, who like her, have learned through joy and challenge the blessings of dependence on God in church planting.
A Book for Every Man’s Wife
As I read this book and heard Christine describe all she has learned while supporting her husband and family in church planting, I couldn’t help but see it as beneficial for every man’s wife. Church leadership and church planting have a unique way of reminding those involved that they are on God’s mission, but the call for every Christian is no different, we just don’t always see ourselves as sent by God to that new job in a new location.
I’ve seen many wives follow their husbands to new cities and new careers face some of the same struggles and challenges, and they would all benefit from Christine’s wisdom as she learned to trust God, support her husband, care for her family, and love her neighbors.
I’ve known the Hoovers for over a decade, they did our premarital counseling, and Kyle officiated my wedding. It is no surprise to me to see their faithfulness to God being used to start a church that loves people and serves their city well. It is also no surprise to see such a fantastic book filled with truth, grace, and wisdom be written and published to bless God’s church.