Kingdom Culture


Whenever two type-A personalities combine in a marriage, as well as in a ministry, the results can often be catastrophic. Most ministry couples will tell you it’s far too easy for a couple serving together in ministry to allow their passion and drive to blur the lines between building a church and raising a family.

As pastors of Celebration Church, a church we planted together nearly 13 years ago in Austin, Texas, there’s one thing my wife, Lori, and I know for sure: You cannot fake a great marriage!

Marriage requires consistent investment, cultivation, intentionality, selflessness and, of course, God’s intervention! This truth rang loud and clear in the early stages of planting our church. Because we couldn’t afford office space, we made the decision to office out of the only place we could: our master bedroom.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Big mistake, right? At first, it had its advantages. We never had to deal with Austin traffic! But as we soon discovered, the most intimate space in our home always reminded of us of our work instead of each other.

I’ll never forget one evening when, after putting our three boys to bed, I was, shall we say, “in the mood.” Thinking that Lori would be too, I simply said, “Come to bed, honey.”

Her response to me clearly indicated we needed to make some adjustments in our marriage and approach to ministry. “I’ve got to finish what I’m working on! We have a printing deadline, you know!” she answered back.

It wasn’t the first time one or both of us had allowed our marriage to be set aside, but this evening was the last straw for both of us. We had to acknowledge that our marriage demanded and deserved our best energy, passion and protection, both individually and as a couple.

The following are three simple truths that have helped our marriage thrive over the years, despite all the opposing forces that serving together can bring:

1) We have to commit to keep our connection. While serving in ministry together, we must make a commitment to always keep our romantic feelings for each other alive. You know, the ones we had before all of the church budgets and board meetings! Regular dates, whether day or night, must remain a necessity. Do not confuse eating, sleeping and working together as actually spending time together. Keep your connection as unified as possible.

2) We are co-laborers, not competitors. Learn to celebrate the complementary gifts God has given one. When our church first began, it was Lori who would knock on doors and invite neighbors (and strangers) to our house to share the vision God had given us. Not me. I never wanted to do it, but she kept pushing me. And through the years, as Lori became more of a behind-the-scenes organizer, it was then me who was pushing her to use her gifts as a communicator and worship leader. And although she never wanted to do it, she loves it now! We have become each other’s biggest cheerleaders, simply because we empower each other.

3) We are indivisible! As couples in ministry, we can have strong individual opinions about a variety of things. But it’s imperative that we have an even stronger resolve to always be quick to forgive. There’s no place for low blows. Fighting fair is when you can learn to love and respect each other, as God has demonstrated to us all.

Today, I challenge you and your spouse to pause and ask each other the following questions:

Are our priorities in order?

Are we spending too much time with church matters?

Is there still romance in our marriage?

How are we encouraging and supporting each other in our individual roles?

Joe Champion is the senior pastor and co-founder of Celebration Church in Texas—a multisite church in Austin. He constantly seeks ways to combine efforts to make a positive impact in the local church, in Austin and in the world. Visit his blog at to learn more.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders