WOODSTOCK, Ga. – The more than 2,000 church planters, pastors and ministry leaders attending the Send North America Conference at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., brought with them what is often considered one of their greatest assets in ministry: their wives.
The North American Mission Board (NAMB) conference featured workshops tailored for the wives and other women in attendance.
Kathy Litton, consultant for ministry to pastors’ wives at NAMB and director of Flourish.me, an online community for ministry wives, designed the event to spiritually refresh women and encourage them in their unique ministerial roles.
“We recognize that being married to a man in ministry can be daunting at times, but we also recognize the position of influence God has called these women to as ministry wives,” Litton said.
Featuring leaders like Litton, Christian apologist and author Mary Jo Sharp, speaker and author Jaye Martin, blogger and church planting wife Tricia Lovejoy, breakout sessions promoted unity and purpose. Speakers encouraged women to recognize the power of influence they have in the lives of their husbands and the ministries to which God has called their families.
“The influence we have over our husbands is a gift, a true responsibility,” Litton told workshop attendees at the July event. “Our criticism and negativity can set him back in purpose, but our prayers and support can spur him on to all that God has for him.”
Best practices for wives of church planters was the subject of Tricia Lovejoy’s presentation at Send North America. The wife of Mountain Lake Church’s founding pastor Shawn Lovejoy also writes for Flourish.me.
Lovejoy echoed this sentiment while encouraging women to persevere, even when ministry begins to take its toll.
“We have such a level of influence as pastors’ wives,” Lovejoy said. “This is why we can’t let our disappointments drive us to defeat. If we do, we might miss out on God’s calling on our lives and for our ministries.”
Lovejoy emphasized the importance of these women finding their own unique role in the ministry of their church plant, using herself as an example.
“Over the years, God has really revealed to me just what role He has designed for me to play at our church and in our community,” Lovejoy said. This role includes starting Bible studies for other ministry wives, sending weekly emails and cards to encourage women in the church and hosting regular Girls’ Night Out events. “What I love about this stuff is that it’s stuff that God has specifically designed me to be able to do in our church and He’s using me to support our congregation in a different way than my husband.”
Words like these proved to be powerful in the lives of ministry wives in attendance.
Jana McGuire came to the conference from Ohio, where she and her husband Josh are planting Serve Church. The event gave her a renewed sense of purpose in her role as both Josh’s wife and a leader at Serve Church.
“My role as a church planting wife has more of an impact than I imagined,” McGuire shared. “I left feeling renewed, refreshed and challenged by truth.”
This is exactly what Litton and her team hoped to provide to all the women working tirelessly alongside their husbands.
“Pray for wisdom,” Litton encouraged the women. “Speak the truth in love. And carry on faithfully and joyfully by God’s power in the call He has given to your husband and your family.”
Access audio and video files from Send North America ministry wives sessions at namb.net/send_north_america_conference/.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Sara Shelton is a North American Mission Board writer. For more resources or to connect with other ministry wives, visit www.Flourish.me.)