From a Wife’s Perspective – Interview with Deb (NPL – Part 9)

CHUCK: So we are going back to the beginning when we first started movement stuff, and what it looked like to you as a wife and a teammate. Let’s talk about Steve Addison’s book, Movements that Change the World, and how that impacted you.

DEB: I think Steve’s book was one of the first non-fiction books I had read in a long time. Actually, that’s not completely true. I had read a couple of books on discipleship. You were pretty fired up about movements but I don’t think I really knew anything about movements. I mean maybe I did, but I didn’t really like know, know. 

CHUCK: When I started talking about these things and doing a little bit of experimenting what were you thinking?

DEB: Well, I think the biggest change for me was when you started sharing the gospel all the time. You were pretty bold talking to strangers before but actually sharing your faith was different. Now you weren’t just talking to strangers in random conversations. You were inserting the gospel. That made me a little uncomfortable, I mean we had been sharing the gospel when we would go to chapel and then invite people to lunch and share. But now you were sharing the gospel “out in the wild” so to speak. 

CHUCK: There was actually a point where I started dropping you and our son off at chapel and I would go and share the gospel. What was going through your head in that season?

DEB: I’m not a big “change” person. I always went to church on Sunday mornings. Even when we were on vacation we would do a family church service together on Sunday mornings. So just to throw that out the window didn’t feel super great to me.

CHUCK: How did I treat you during that period of time?

DEB: Oh, you were fine with whatever I wanted to do. You’ve always been very patient and not pushy. Even when we knew we were moving to San Antonio and you’d say, “Yeah, we’re going to go plant churches in San Antonio” my response was, “Don’t say that so loud, it sounds weird.” Because I was afraid that people in their minds were thinking that we were going to plant traditional churches. That wasn’t our intention but nobody had the framework for anything other than that so it just sounded weird. It sounds crazy.

CHUCK: So we started experimenting with storytelling and sharing the gospel up front with people. When did you start “liking” what we were doing?

DEB: I really liked the storytelling part, especially when we were going through head, heart, and hands. When we incorporated the heart, the emotions, it was a big big shift for us because most of our focus was always on the intellectual, logical, and knowledge. But when we started connecting to the heart it really changed things. We would ask the question, “How do you think Zacchaeus felt?” or “How do you think Jesus felt?” It was like, “Whoa, I’ve never thought about that before!” And “How does this story make you feel?” No one had ever asked me how a story in the Bible made me feel! I remember telling a gal the story of Zacchaeus and she was getting emotional about it. She teared up. So, it was like wow, talking to people about God’s Word and seeing that bring out emotions a lot of times.

CHUCK: There was a little bit of push back on talking about heart stuff. 

DEB: {Laugh} Yeah, that’s kind. There was a lot of push back from some believers and no push back from non-believers. 

CHUCK: How did we deal with that?

DEB: I think that was surprising to me. I remember we had a group and we were telling the story and were going through head, heart, and hands. And the guy that was leading the discussion was a believer. When it got to the part about heart and the emotions he literally lay down on the couch like he was in a psychotherapy session making fun of the fact that we were going to be talking about emotions. The ironic part of it was everyone else in the group were females. He just communicated to a room full of girls that it’s not cool to talk about your emotions. And number two, he obviously didn’t like this method. I remember thinking, “Why do we have to be that way? Even as believers. Why do we need to pushback when it’s not your thing. Why do we need to be so passive aggressive? We’re on the same team.”

CHUCK: You found yourself in an interesting tension at that time because people were scrutinizing me but you weren’t fully convinced yourself. How did you deal with that tension? 

DEB: I was uncomfortable with what you were doing but I wasn’t going to throw the baby out with the bath water. 

CHUCK: Did our experimentation ever cost you a friendship?

DEB: There was a time where I went to dinner with a friend. We had been friends for a long time. As we were wrapping up our conversation we got on the topic of church. She asked, “Why do you feel like you have to call what you’re doing church?” And all a sudden, I said to myself, “This is the end of this relationship. This is going to divide us.” My response was “I don’t know. I don’t even understand, myself. I just know the Bible calls it church so we’re just going to call it church and see what happens.” I was not defensive and I was almost empathetic to what she was saying. But to this day that person has never reengaged with me. I felt sad because she was a good friend.

CHUCK: Were you prepared for any of the experiences of those first days?

DEB: Jesus did tell you this was going to cost us. It was shocking and it was very very puzzling but because of the warning, because Jesus had given us a heads up, I understood, “Oh, this is what God was talking about.” 

CHUCK: So we’ve been doing “Crazy Church” for about ten years now. I think the thing I’ve liked the most is being able to hit the reset button and start over again with just the Scriptures. How about you, how are you feeling now?

DEB: Yeah, I feel a real sense of freedom. I mean like it was a lot of tradition that I felt bound to. Now we are free just to do what the Bible says and do it without the weight of culture and tradition. I love our church. It’s small but super simple. We even have the kids leading sometimes because it’s simple enough that they can do it. I really like the fact that we are majoring on actually trying to do what the Bible says rather than just talk about what it says. And I like the fact that everyone in our church is sharing the gospel.

CHUCK: What would you say to wives where their husband is kind of off the chain in this movement thing and they’re kind of going a little bit crazy?

DEB: Well you’re a team and you are the perfect helpmate for your husband. If your husband tends to be a little more apostolic, you’ve probably come to expect a little craziness from time to time. There are going to be some shifts and some of them may be major. And instead of getting a huge bucket of ice water and throwing it all over your husband and his ideas, listen and wait. Even if I thought it was a bad idea, I just had to watch and see what would happen. Pray and ask God about what He is doing. If it’s something that’s kind of weird, wait and see. Wisdom is vindicated by her children. And if it’s not something that God wants you to do, don’t start nagging your husband. I’ve learned that the Holy Spirit is a better nag than I will ever be. He’s the one that needs to change our hearts. If it is something we need to do as a team, than He needs to change my heart.  

CHUCK: What would you tell husbands?

DEB: Well definitely being patient and going slow, not being a bull in the china cabinet. Bring your wife along when you’re doing things. When we see families doing this together the wives really buy in, so to speak. We had some friends who recently did a training in their city and one of participants, a wife of a husband who was all fired up, came to the training but was very reluctant. She did not want to be there at all. But the first hours of the training each day was an hour of prayer and then they got into the Word. After a couple of days of that, she started to understand and became enthusiastic about what she was hearing. Even other people that knew her, were like, “Who are you and what have you done with our friend.” She had totally changed her mind and took on the identity of the Priesthood of the Believer. I feel like a lot of wives, especially if their husbands are crazy experimenters, feel left out or maybe left behind a lot. So when you show them in the Word that everybody is commanded to do these things, everybody can make disciples, everybody can baptize, everybody can be the priest, whatever the “priesthood” elements are, everyone can be engaged in all of this. That just allows so much freedom. I think because our Christian culture doesn’t allow women to practice the “Priesthood of the Believer”, they feel left out. In some ways, when you empower them, women get excited and get on board a lot faster. 

CHUCK: Let’s flip it around. What if the wife is the movement go-getter and a husband feels left out?

DEB: That one’s hard because I’ve seen it happen where the wife is the ministry person and the husband is more in the background. In most of those cases the husband is supporting and enabling the partnership. But if they’re against what you’re doing it’s a little more tricky. Now you have to trust God with changing his heart. That’s the biggest deal in my mind. And that could be the bigger miracle, watching God change his heart. Just do as much as God and he allows you to do under the circumstances and pray. When we see it as a partnership, regardless, husband and wife are doing this together, it makes a huge difference in the amount of multiplication that happens. In the same way, when the whole family is in it together. When you have your kids drawing their relational maps with their buddies at school and everybody’s thinking the same way, that creates a whole different dynamic than if just one person in the family is doing it. 

CHUCK: Hon, thanks for going on “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” with me. Thanks for being a woman of faith and a great teammate! I thank Jesus for you.

How Deb and I joined the NoPlaceLeft Vision (NPL – Part 1)

The Perfect Storm (NPL – Part 2)

Some Nagging Questions (NPL – Part 3)

The Most Important Question (NPL – Part 4)

It was a Set-Up (NPL – Part 5)

The Book that Changed My World (Again) (NPL – Part 6)

Change Happens When Enough is Enough (NPL – Part 7)

Drinking the Cup (NPL – Part 8)

From a Wife’s Perspective – Interview with Deb (NPL – Part 9)

Was it Worth it? (NPL – Part 10)

Author: Chuck & Deb

Chuck & Deb love Jesus!