We’re all grown-ups here, right?
Let’s talk about sex. Steve Childers listed it as one of the 7 S’s that are imperative for church planters to get right.
It’s Not None of Their Business
Back when my wife and I first signed up to be assessed as potential church planters, we got a bracing warning from some of our best friends. They had been assessed by our denomination some years earlier to be church planting missionaries in Europe.
The warning? They had been asked how often she had a you-know-what.
At first I was appalled by this. How on earth is it anyone’s business to know such intimate, private, things about someone’s marriage? As far as I know, pulpit committees don’t ask for such steamy statistics when they’re vetting pastoral candidates for established congregations. So why church planters?
Why should anyone care if a church planter and his wife are having good sex?
Here’s 4 reasons why.
1. People are watching
In a church plant, the planter and his wife are hopefully much less sequestered from the rest of the church folk than in other churches. If you’re going to emphasize life-on-life discipleship and community-on-mission, people are going to know what your relationship with your wife is like. They’ll see the way you interact. The way you look at each other. The way you say goodbye to each other. They’ll see you smooch.
People will be able to tell if you have a good sex life simply because they’re around you a lot. And they’re watching. Not for sex, of course. But for love.
2. People want to hope
One of the reasons they’re watching—not eavesdropping or being creepy, but simply watching—is that they want to be able to dare to hope for a good sex life themselves. Perhaps it goes something like this: “Pastors are all spiritual and stuff. If the spiritual leader-guy and his wife have a good sex life, then maybe I, a normal person, can hope for a good sex life.”
It’s risky to hope. To hope that things can be better someday. But both single folks and married folks can get a lot of solid hope for sexual fulfillment in their future or current marriages by knowing that their pastor and church planter and his wife have, by God’s grace, learned to flourish in romance and intimacy.
3. Ladies in the church need to be comfortable around you
Wait. Won’t it make the ladies in the church super uncomfortable to be around you if they ever even think about the fact that you, the pastor-planter, are, in fact, a sexual being?
Nope. The opposite is actually the case.
When the ladies in the congregation have every reason in the world to believe that you are very happily married and have a thriving sex life with your wife, they can truly relate to you as a sister in Christ. On the other hand, a pastor with seemingly little interest in his wife will make ladies feel incredibly vulnerable.
4. Guys in the church need to learn from you
Pursuing a woman is a lifelong calling. If you’re married, it’s your most fundamental calling after your call to pursue Jesus. It will take an attentive, caring, servant-husband his entire lifetime to make his wife truly feel beautiful. Men who are younger and older than you need someone from whom they can learn the intensely spiritual art of romancing their wives.
Will you be available for the men who need to be equipped in this fundamental area of discipleship? Would it even occur to the men in your church that you might know something about romancing a woman? You ought to be one of the first people they turn to for help in this area.
You’re never not sexual
Our sexuality is not something that is turned off and turned on depending on the occasion. We were created with a sexuality that is always with us. It’s as much a fundamental, pervasive aspect of our humanity as our embodiment or our psychology. So the question is not whether we’re sexual or not, but what we do with the sexuality that we bring with us everywhere we turn.
My hope and prayer? That my sexuality is directed exclusively and passionately toward my wife to such a degree that this fact is obvious to others. That this inspires hope for better marital intimacy for others. That this makes women comfortable around me. That this makes the men know that I can help them learn to romance their own wives with this same exclusive passion.
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