Parakaleo recently hosted an evening reception for women in the New York City metro area to learn about the resources and connection points it offers. Parakaleo, a ministry of Mission to North America (MNA) provides coaching, caring, and connecting to help women navigate the challenges of starting new churches.
Kathleen Whitehead, a Parakaleo network leader in New York City, was one of the event’s organizers. She says Shari Thomas, Parakaleo’s founder and director, created a relaxed, supportive environment for the nearly 30 women who attended. While most of the women live in the metro area, several hailed from other nations and were in town for a different training event.
“There was a sense of real comradery among women from different church plants, backgrounds, and seasons of life. Parakaleo really resonated with them.”
She points out that church planting spouses tend to be isolated and lack supportive, safe relationships with other women in ministry. “There’s a need for support whether they’ve been in ministry a long time or not. I don’t know of anything else that offers this kind of opportunity.”
Whitehead and her husband David have been in ministry for 27 years, and now serve Grace NYC, a new church plant. She decided to become a network leader in part because she has benefited so much from Parakaleo.
“I’ve never felt healthier and this is due in large part to Parakaleo. I would have burned out otherwise. It’s so important to see people who have the same ministry struggles you have—and this is different from people in the church who are not in ministry. Parakaleo has helped me really apply the gospel to my life.”
As part of the presentation, Whitehead shared about the financial aspects of being part of Parakaleo. “That was easy for me because I feel I’ve gained so much. I can imagine how much I’d have to spend in counseling and not even come close! I’m so happy they’ve developed an avenue for funding to keep the ministry going.”
Parakaleo will be hosting similar events in other cities, and Whitehead sees these as a wonderful opportunity. “This would be refreshing for any woman in ministry.”