I had the opportunity to speak to a small group of developing female leaders on a hot Saturday here in Maryland. The reason I mention that it was hot is because I think the air conditioner had broken in the room and we were all glistening… that’s right, glistening. After what I thought was a solid word from the Scriptures on leadership lessons from 1 Peter chapters 4 & 5 I opened “the floor” for questions… about leadership. A beautiful, older African-American woman raised her hand and with a gigantic smile on her face asked, “How does your husband feel about you being his ministry leader?”
Believe it or not, this is one of the most frequently-asked questions I get regarding relationship and ministry. I lead the worship ministry at Bridgeway Community Church here in Maryland, and my husband David is a drummer in the band. So what are the real questions that are being asked?
- Do you lead him?
- Does he feel intimidated by you?
- Do you correct him when he needs it?
- Are YOU leading your home?
I know, I know… it’s all of these things. It’s human nature to be curious, right? So, how do I lead my husband in worship?
Differently. That is the real answer. Even though David is a musician in our worship band it does not negate the fact that he is my husband and my relationship with him is unlike any person that I will ever lead in ministry. I lead him both from a position of being his wife as well as his leader. It can be an interesting dance at times, I won’t lie. I find that I function best in the role of leader when I get to extend encouragement, gentleness, and kindness to him both as a man as well as a musician. In that regard, I do treat him like anyone else that I lead. My first goal as a leader is to steward the hearts of God’s people. However, if a strong word needs to come or he needs to be encouraged to make a change, I make use of the other leaders around me to get that message across. For me, personally, I don’t feel comfortable being in that role. I’m not called to that and it would put a strain on our relationship in general if I were to do that. Trust me. It’s different. And if you don’t embrace that and find a way to navigate this, your relationship may be strained.
There are 3 ways in which you can navigate this relationship if you find yourself becoming your husband’s ministry leader.
1. Speak with gentleness. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Be wise and know that how you communicate to your husband (as well as the men you lead) in the role of leader matters.
2. Submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ. This is a quote from Ephesians 5:21. Remember that as the leader you don’t always have to “assert” yourself. Learn how to ebb and flow with your husband in that environment where you develop respect for one another and you can work together effectively. You will not lose respect from the other people that you lead. Your submission to one another will actually help you gain respect and honor as a leader.
3. Ask Jesus for wisdom. As with anything else you face in your leadership role, ask Jesus to help you navigate this relationship. Ask him for help and ask him for a spirit of unity as you work together.
Having your husband as a part of the ministry that you lead could be one of the most strategic moves that the Lord has made in order to give you support in your role. Nobody knows you like he does – that can be totally scary or really freeing—either way, it’s good for your leadership. Whatever your situation, you will be challenged to poke your own leadership style and find ways to lead all types of people more effectively.