Editor’s Note: This article comes from a Canadian church planter within Acts 29. Discover more at Acts 29 Canada.

Being a pastor isn’t just a vocation, it’s a life. They don’t clock out at five o’clock, and the impacts of pastoral ministry are not only felt by the pastor but his wife and kids as well. So when my husband felt called to church planting, I was scared. I wrestled with how much I trusted Jesus. Was I going to say, You can have this much of my life, but no more? I’m okay with you asking for what I’m willing to give, but I won’t go further?

I knew that wasn’t what submission, obedience, or Christian living looked like. If God called my husband into pastoral ministry, I wouldn’t be the one holding him back. If this was God’s will, I knew he would take care of our family and equip us for the journey. Our Father makes better plans than we could imagine. If we’re unwilling to entrust ourselves to him because we think we know better, to whom are we really submitting?

A New Vision 

So as a step of faith toward pastoral ministry, we moved to be part of a church with a vision for gospel centrality, developing leaders, and planting churches. As a mobile church, we had to transport, set up, and take down equipment every Sunday. My husband would leave before seven in the morning to help, and I got our three kids ready by myself. What was I supposed to do with my idyllic vision of Sunday mornings, where we all ate a hot breakfast together and daddy led the charge to take the family to church? Click To Tweet

During this time, I caught a vision of seeing my whole life as an opportunity to be on mission for Jesus. I was excited to be part of a church that clearly saw the biblical call to following Christ as a whole-life endeavour. We’re not just Christians on Sunday— it’s who we are, everywhere we go, in anything we do, at all times.

I had a new vision for the rest of the week, but Sundays needed an overhaul. I quickly grew weary. What was I supposed to do with my idyllic vision of Sunday mornings, where we all ate a hot breakfast together and daddy led the charge to take the family to church? I felt disappointed because Sunday was for family and rest. But here I was caring for our kids by myself while my husband worked.

A Difficult Ask

I wish I could say I eagerly threw myself into our new way of doing Sundays, but it was a slow process of God reorienting my affections. At one point, our pastor’s wife offered to help me with our kids on Sundays. The Lord used her servant heart to open my eyes and see what it means for the church to bear one another’s burdens. Her recognition that Sunday mornings were hard helped me realize that my heavenly Father saw me, too. It became a joy to do my part behind the scenes to serve my family. I could say goodbye to my husband on Sunday mornings so he was freed up to serve the church.

Eventually, my husband was sent out as a pastor with a church-planting team in a new city. The location changed but the rhythm was the same: he left early and I would get the kids to our meeting location in time for pre-service prayer. This was working fine but then my husband asked, “Why don’t you guys get ready a little earlier and come with me on Sundays?”

I balked at the idea. It’s hard enough getting four kids out the door—now he wanted me to do it an hour earlier? Why? What would we even do there that early? But I’m so thankful our God is patient and gentle with us. We started a new routine, even as I grumbled about what the point was. But Jesus isn’t limited by our grumbling obedience. He softens hearts despite our resistance.

A Better Family

I soon noticed a big shift in my thinking. I wasn’t just serving in the background while my husband did the work of ministry on Sunday. By showing up early on Sunday for setup, our kids started to pitch in, too. They found ways to help and took ownership of the mission. Sunday morning ministry wasn’t just Daddy’s calling, it was ours.

Now, with six kids in tow, we’re in the van by eight o’clock to set up for Sunday service. We serve together because we love the church and want people to know Jesus. Working shoulder-to-shoulder with others knits us together with the body of Christ in a way nothing else can. We’re not just Christians on Sunday— it’s who we are, everywhere we go, in anything we do, at all times. Click To Tweet

Remember my vision for Sunday being about rest and family? I thought I had to give that up, but Sundays are full of rest and family now. It just looks different from what I imagined. We work hard, but we do it from a place of rest in Jesus. It brings me so much joy to see my children loving Jesus, serving the church, using their gifts, and connecting with our church family.

As for hot breakfast together? We’ve traded that in for takeout burgers and donairs after our Sunday gathering. Sometimes our gospel community joins us and we extend our table and eat together. Praise God who has better plans than we do!

Kim Bitner
Written by: Kim Bitner on May 23, 2022

Kim Bitner is a wife and homeschooling mother of six. In 2014, Kim and her husband, Clay, moved to Warman, Saskatchewan to help plant Grace Warman. In addition to helping lead music on Sundays, Kim loves to see women in the church embrace the all-encompassing beauty of the gospel and live out their identities as servant-missionaries in their homes and beyond.