January 16, 2014

(Before) Married in Ministry: Season 1

Okay y'all, remember there are a handful of hard topics to write about that I think He's leading me to. For you and for me and most definitely I hope for His glory. So here we go, today I'm beginning to write about something I've never written about: marriage and youth ministry. I've seen the controversy that can come from these posts. I've seen bloggers stop writing. And it broke my heart when it happened to the most inspiring youth ministry wife blogger I knew, to the woman who kept me going in season 3.

But I also know we need to share our stories, as I was reminded by this inspiring (in)courage video. I'm not writing to complain, I'm not writing for accolades, I'm writing just to be really honest about a ministry career/family path. Maybe it'll bless you if you're on it or bring perspective for how to support others in it.

All I can share is my limited story from the perspective of a youth pastor's wife (now para-church youth ministry's wife). It's the only path we've ever really known, as our dating story began in an internship year focused on community development via primarily youth development. From there Nate held youth pastor/para-church youth ministry roles. So for us, this has always been our normal.

Even though in 6th grade I spoke such "wise" words against such a reality when I said, "I never want to be a pastor's wife or a missionary". Ha and yet this is where I find my twenties to be.

See I knew then that those were HARD callings, to be a pastor's wife or a missionary. I don't know how I knew, I was 12 years old. God must have been preparing me. I could see the burden of those who led the church, of those who daily made many sacrifices. And I didn't want anything to do with such a life.

Through God-ordained influences including the youth group that sheltered me during my teens, the invaluable hands-on ministry experiences and education received at Bethel University and influential friendships, I came to be ministry/mission minded and had a type aka "the ministry guy".

At 22, I met Nate via our internship. Within days of meeting him, I was in awe of his faith. I loved the way he served others. I admired his carefree nature. I loved his heart for fighting sex trafficking. I knew he had majored in Youth Ministry, Missions, and the Bible. I loved the way he cared for people. I loved the way he listened. I eventually fell in love with Nate. I knew little about what ministry life might look in the long run.

Our first year together as friends and then as a couple was really beautiful for the chance to do everyday life ministry alongside the guy you're totally crushin' on. We had a small, sweet group of youth to do girl's/guy's ministry with, along with youth group & Sunday School. It was a natural fit and calling for Nate and easy for me to love the girls & guys in our everyday community.


This is was a season where it was sweet & relatively easy to be in {dating} relationship with a youth ministry guy. Our internship put us in a place of shared ministry goals & expectations along with a high level of community support. We were doing ministry with close teammates, community friends and were almost always celebrated for our efforts. This year felt like an adventure of sorts, had a time plan of ministry commitments/specific sacrifices, and became sort of an orientation of how our life would by led by Him.

(to-be-continued soon)

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  1. Hi, Rachel, it's Jen from the #fmfparty. :) I decided just to leave my info. for you here since it seems we have much in common. Being a ministry wife can be very rewarding, but is also really challenging. I'd love to chat more sometime! stultsmamaof4(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Hi Jen! Yes I'm so glad we connected a few days ago. Can't wait to chat more soon!

  2. I'm looking forward to reading your journey Rachel. My husband and I met as youth leaders. We ministered to that age as leaders for about 4 years. I can't wait to hear more! Thankful you are stepping out to write your heart!

    1. Ooh I love the connection that we have for marriage + ministry. Would love to hear about your experiences more too. And thanks also for the continued encouragement!

  3. I enjoyed reading your story!! I can't wait to hear more.

    1. Thanks Hannah! Yes, I'm excited to share more too, just mulling the story over more:)