As Earl McClellan explains, marriage is more than a union between him and his wife, Oneka. The co-founders of Shoreline City Church, a member of the ARC (Association of Related Churches) network in Dallas, Texas, said it’s a partnership in which the husband and wife work to support each other, grow together, and draw out the best in one another.
Marriage, though, is also challenging, he says. Any married couple can tell you this. For the McClellans, this lesson hit home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but uniquely, with false eyelashes.
As members of the ARC church network, Earl and Oneka are accustomed to supporting others in partnership and ministry. But as the pastors tell it, marriage requires another level of communication and dedication.
How Fake Eyelashes Represent So Much More
During the pandemic, Earl thought he had picked up a new talent — applying his wife Oneka’s false lashes every morning. While Earl believed he was completing the task professionally, it turns out he really wasn’t.
Oneka’s false lashes would sometimes dangle from her eyes while she was in the middle of pastoral care meetings with people pouring their hearts out to her. It was an embarrassing experience, to say the least. Yet, Earl kept on trying.
Oneka became increasingly disappointed as time went out, and Earl said he felt more and more underappreciated—something as simple and benign as false eyelashes were causing tension in the McClellan household.
Communication Was the Key to Getting Through It
Because both Earl and Oneka could communicate their feelings, they could come to a mutual understanding. Earl affirmed Oneka for dealing with the dangling eyelashes — for more than one year — while Oneka was grateful that Earl tried his best.
This seemingly small example perfectly aligns with lessons that members of ARC (Association of Related Churches) talk about daily. Both in marriage and ministry, communication and sacrifice become highly important. It’s not just about communicating feelings, though. It’s also about affirmation.
Simple “thank yous” go a long way in relationships and help settle tensions before they can bubble up to the surface.
This combination of communication and sacrifice is important in any relationship, especially in a partnership of marriage and ministry. As Earl explains, the husband and wife in these situations need to be open and understanding of each other’s needs and sacrifice for the betterment of the relationship.
Marriage and ministry may seem like separate entities, but they’re not; they’re interconnected relationships. They both require hard work, a loving relationship between people, personal growth, dedication, and sacrifice.
Balancing marriage and ministry- like other work-life balances- can be challenging, especially as they can sometimes conflict. Earl says the key to finding the right balance is prioritizing both and finding the rhythm that works for you and your family.
In other words, what works for one ARC church family may not work for all members of ARC churches. The “balance,” like marriage and ministry itself, is unique to each couple and ministry.
ARC (Association of Related Churches) is a cooperative of independent churches from different denominations, networks, and backgrounds who strategically resource church planters and pastors to help them reach people with the message of Jesus. ARC exists to see a thriving church in every community, reaching people with the message of Jesus. Since its beginning in 2001, ARC has grown into a global organization and has helped plant more than 1,000 churches.