Why Coach the Church Planting Spouse?
“Wrestling with God can be a very lonely struggle for a ministry wife… my coach pointed me to truth. Coaching continues to restore my hope [in Christ].” ~ Florida church planting spouse
“The wife is a key ministry partner with her church-planting husband for a role in which she has received little or no training,” notes Tami Resch, Parakaleo’s associate director. “She also is the ‘go-to gal’ for many women in the church. She is the primary emotional support for her husband—especially before an official session of elders is established.”
Parakaleo recognizes the importance of coming alongside the ministry spouse during the intense season of church planting. “When you start a business or ministry, the exhaustion factor is very high, and this impacts the marriage,” Resch points out. “The church planting couple expend a great deal of energy pouring into the lives of their leaders and the congregation. It’s a time of great giving out and little putting in or restoring.”
Multiple research studies highlight the difficulty of ministry in general, and church planting in particular. Eighty percent of pastors’ wives report they have struggled with depression, are discouraged in their role, and believe their spouse is overworked. Every year, 48,000 people leave the ministry in North America. Closer to home, 84 % of PCA church planting wives surveyed reported a lack of denominational care and support in their role. At the same time, 59% of these wives report heavy involvement in church ministry. The premature departure or burnout of the pastor or spouse can have a disastrous effect on a fledgling church.
Parakaleo’s retreats, materials, and one-on-one coaching supports these ministry spouses. “Coaching is coming alongside with the gospel and our lives as well,” says Resch, who planted with her husband Steve. “It imparts skills and tools for life and ministry, and helps her take the hope of the gospel to her own heart and to the hearts of others, with creativity for God’s glory.”
Coaching also helps the spouse navigate her ever-changing role on the church planting team and stay spiritually anchored. “We often look to find our value in our role, or how our husband is doing his job, or how many people are attending the church. Parakaleo helps her hold fast to her identity in Christ apart from the success or failure of the plant or her husband’s latest sermon,” Resch says.
By helping the spouse stand firm in Christ whatever the battle—whether the struggle is in the church, marriage, family, or her own heart—Parakaleo provides essential support that often is unavailable anywhere else. The benefits of this support flow not only to the wife, but ultimately to the entire church plant as well.