Communicating in Marriage… While Church Planting

Melissa and I are speaking at an Exponential Workshop this morning.  The talk is called Communicating in Marriage… While Church Planting.  If you’re in the seminar this morning, or are just reading about it here, this is our Handout for Communicating in Church Planting, and additional notes are below to fill in the blanks…

Every marriage has a common set of issues, and every church plant has a common set of issues.  Combine those together and there are some specific hot buttons that the church planting marriage needs to communicate over.  

The Packaging of Communication

You’ve got five forms of communication at your discretion, according to your situation.

  1. Compete – I Win/You Lose.  Competition is used when the task is more important than the relationship.
  2. Collaborate – I Win/You Win.  Collaboration is when the best of two people need to come together in relationship, and task.
  3. Compromise – I ½ Win, You ½ Win.  Compromise is for moderately important issues, where give and take is appropriate.
  4. Accommodate – I Lose, You Win.  Accommodation is used when the relationship is more important than the task/issue.
  5. Avoid – I Lose/You Lose.  Avoidance is great for anything that really isn’t of any consequence to the relationship or task.

Top Nine Hot Buttons for the Planting Marriage

  1. Preview/Launch Sundays… It’s a great time to practice avoidance in these high-strung opening weeks.
  2. Spouse as Volunteer Staff… It starts with accommodation those first three months when it’s all hands on deck, but you need to move to collaboration over time.  Don’t make the your spouse the free staff member… if you haven’t collaborated over what he/she is most designed to be!
  3. Church Planting Sex… When everyone is questioning your worth and leadership, nothing communicates value like accommodating each other’s sexual needs.
  4. Vision… The planting family is going to sacrifice together for the vision of this church.  There sure better be collaboration over a vision you both believe in!
  5. Family Commitment… If the planter has a heads-down, charge-ahead, forget to look back posture to this entrepreneurial effort, then the other spouse should be given the freedom to compete, while the planter is expected to accommodate.
  6. Schedules… The church isn’t more important than the family, and family not more important than the church, so look for compromises.
  7. Church Care & Counseling… Some avoidance is needed here, so that the planting spouse doesn’t have to carry every burden the pastor does.
  8. Friendships… Church planting is hard because it usually involves uprooting and replanting friendships.  Everyone has some adjusting to do, so compromise – respect the attachment to previous relationships, and also expect that new ones have to be made.
  9. Financial Support… Money is a big issue in any marriage at anytime, and particularly during startup efforts.  It’s big enough that you have to collaborate to find peace with each other and your approaches.

Failed marriages are the second biggest reason church plants fail.  But your story doesn’t have to be that, if you learn to communicate with grace and truth.


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