One of the most surprising realities in much church planter/pastor training in North America is the lack of focus on the planter/pastor’s wife. While this is likely unintentional, it seems that the vital role wives play in church planting or pastoring can be forgotten—as if the very unique calling that is ministry doesn’t actually impact the minister’s spouse!
Occasionally church planters’ wives are encouraged on heart-level realities, like identity and preparing for loneliness as their husband plants. These are helpful topics, but not sufficient. Spouses of church planters and pastors are in the thick of ministry and mission alongside their spouse; they’re gifted for ministry and mission in unique and specific ways. God has formed them to be a team, for the sake of each other and for the sake of His Kingdom!
For years, our residencies have sought to remedy this oversight. We meaningfully include residents’ wives in many elements of our discernment and church planting residencies. Wives attend a few of the in-person Lab Weeks, learning and engaging alongside their husband. They are formed into a cohort of other resident wives for specific coaching from a seasoned ministry wife throughout the residency season. They have access to specific content just for them on head-level awareness of ministry realities, heart-level ways to thrive in their calling, and hands-on exercises in ministry and mission.
There is no one stereotype of a “pastor’s wife.” Resident wives are first and foremost daughters of God, with unique gifts for His Church and His Kingdom. Over our residency process, Saturate comes alongside sending churches and resident couples to help both spouses meaningfully discover their unique gifts as they pursue church planting or pastoring, together.
We spoke with Kendrick and Amelia Banks about their experience with our residency, and specifically the ways that Amelia was involved and equipped for the calling God placed on their family:
Amelia: For just over a year we’ve been in Dallas, Texas, working towards planting a church in the Oak Cliff neighborhood. Surviving the chaos of 2020 made us keenly aware of just how significant our time with the Saturate Regional Residencies was. The Lord used our residency to strengthen our relationship and prepare us in ways we didn’t even know we needed. The ways we were edified and resourced in the process has given us vitality in the work, even in the midst of a pandemic, with all the political tensions and the racial divisions within the church.
Kendrick: I agree one hundred percent. As I think back to a few years ago, we began to grow confident it was time to multiply out of our current church to plant another, so we began to prayerfully consider where we would go and who would encourage us and equip us along the way. There are a lot of options, but the Saturate Regional Residencies stood out for many reasons. One of the most refreshing and unique reasons is how, starting with the application process, they viewed my wife as a crucial part of the process. Along the way they affirmed her as a co-laborer, a gifted minister of reconciliation, and sought to equip her alongside me as a true partner in this process. I’m deeply blessed to see now how she has grown in confidence and awareness of who she is in Christ. Moreover, she’s built a meaningful sisterhood with the other wives in the process. Those relationships have continued to be crucial as we made the transition to Dallas.
Amelia: Yes, the emphasis placed on us as a unit in this work, as opposed to just Kendrick as a church planter, was key in my experience in the residency. We know and teach how the gospel affects all of life, we talk about how leadership is shared, but we got to witness this reality carried out with integrity. Seeing how wives, or women for that matter, have not been forgotten in the process is just a beautiful glimpse into what God is doing through the Saturate Regional Residencies. I feel seen, I feel heard, I feel loved, and I feel I have a meaningful role in this work. We’re so grateful the Lord led us to choose this residency. Given the option to go back and try again, we’d have it no other way.
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