Tag Team Partner or Cheerleader

Many years ago, I was asked to teach a Bible study with my dear friend (the now) Dr. Andrew Dyer entitled, “Am I Called?”  We were both young men in college having surrendered to the call of full-time vocational ministry.  We wanted to help others going through this process of discovery and examine biblically what God might be doing in their lives.  We developed a nice little study stealing from the best authors of that time.

One of the lessons from that study, which has now made it to my Spiritual Formation classroom, is called “The Tag Team Partner vs. the Cheerleader.” It asks a key question of those called by God, “What do you want in a spouse?”

Do you want a Tag Team Partner (like in wrestlin’) who is equally called, who senses God is leading them into ministry as well, who tags in and out with you over the period of your marriage?  Or do you want a Cheerleader who is not called vocationally to ministry, who will support, cheer, encourage and applaud you in what God has called you to do, and help you in this journey with Christ?

Over the years, I have developed this teaching and have taught it numerous times, mostly to single college students.  It is now complete with a pros and cons list which I would like to share.

Tag Team Partner PROS:
– Understands the demands of ministry.
– Completely supportive because their in it too.
– Has an active ministry of their own.
– Iron sharpens iron, so one spouse sharpens the other.
– Supports moving to follow God’s plan and call.

Cheerleader PROS:
– Encouraging and verbally supportive.
– Able to work outside of ministry which is better financially.
– Great listener without commentary or advice.
– Better connection with unbelieving family members.

Tag Team Partner CONS:
– Someone will often have to sacrifice to follow the other.
– High expectations placed on kids of two ministers/missionaries/pastors, etc.
– Can and will be financially strapped.
– Ministry can zap romantic relationship.
– Giving to others is emotionally draining, leaving little for the spouse.

Cheerleader CONS:
– When trouble hits, the spouse may want to escape or eject.
– Unable to understand the demands accurately because their not in it.
– Can become jealous of the ministry; the ministry becomes the mistress or the other man in their lives.
– Lacks the ability to be quiet and confidential about ministry matters.

So which is better? You’ll have to decide.

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