Benefits of a Husband-Wife Ministry Team

The challenges and rewards of a husband-wife ministry team

by Thor Johnson / November 10, 2017

During the summer of 1977, while I was attending Bible college, my pastor asked my wife and me to lead a kids’ crusade. We were a couple of former hippies who got saved in 1974. We had only seen one kids’ crusade, and I was part of a Sidewalk Sunday School ministry at Central Bible College. We had no idea what we were doing, so we struck out blindly.
Thus, we launched our first effort at doing ministry as a husband and wife team. The benefits we discovered as we plunged headlong into that kids’ crusade carried us through our 40 years of ministry.

One of the benefits of a husband-wife team is that the couple gets to work on projects as a team. The first obstacle we had to conquer was knowing the components of a kids’ crusade. All we had to go by was the one crusade we attended at the church in which we were saved. Basically, our list consisted of songs, puppet shows, and clowns. Together, we set out to the nearest Christian magic store in Springfield to search for material. We browsed through the small aisles, looking at gospel magic tricks and clown skits.

Another asset of being a husband-wife team is having two people involved in decision making and the benefit of combined talents. During this kids’ crusade, we had to make our first major decision. We both knew we could do clowning because we did a little in the church in which we were saved. The decision came down to whether we would focus on gospel magic or puppetry. Neither of us felt comfortable with the dexterity it takes to do gospel magic well. By focusing on what we learned was our strength, we launched a very successful puppet ministry that saw its beginning at that small church kids’ crusade.

Utilizing each other’s strengths is critical for a husband-wife team. Once we had decided to go with puppetry in the kids’ crusade, we needed to acquire some puppets. We got some patterns for puppets from the pastor at our home church, and my wife made our first puppets. Since my strength wasn’t sewing, I began working on the clown skits.
A good husband-wife team will realize they need volunteers. Since I couldn’t lead the crusade and clown at the same time, I set about to recruit some volunteers. I recruited a man and a teenager to play the clowns from the skit book we bought. It was at that crusade I learned that one of my strengths was recruiting good volunteers. Those volunteers have helped us succeed over the years.

As you can see, there were many challenges for us as we began putting together the kids’ crusade. But the challenges we worked on together fostered creativity and learning. One of the first things we had to create was a puppet stage. Who knew that a 4-foot by 8-foot piece of paneling could become a puppet stage? That simple start resulted in an evolution of stages until we finally created a stage with wings that could fold around the back for privacy when doing puppetry in the outdoors.

A husband-wife team also gains the benefit of learning conflict resolution skills. This came about as we had group discussions with our volunteers who helped put on the kids’ crusades. Mastering these conflict resolution skills can help in many parts of your ministry. For one thing, they will help you if you are convincing the lead pastor that eating a gold fish did not offend the vegan members of the church. At least that was our experience!

One of the best outcomes of learning conflict resolution happens when one of you in the husband-wife team submits to the wishes of the other. More times than I can count, when one of us submitted to the idea the other one had, the outcome worked amazingly.

One last benefit my wife and I enjoyed as a ministry team was the ability to travel in ministry together. Whether we were lead pastors or children’s pastors, we would travel each summer doing kids’ ministry. We held kids’ crusades, Sidewalk Sunday School types of events, and puppetry seminars in 10 different states, and in Mexico. In addition to traveling together, we had the privilege of taking our three daughters with us. Once they could hold a puppet up straight for at least one minute, they became puppeteers!

Anyone in ministry has challenges and rewards. However, when the challenges and rewards are shared with a spouse, not only is the ministry strengthened, but the marriage is enriched as well.