Vital Role of Parakaleo

Doubling Your Church Planting Efforts:

The Vital Role of Parakaleo

When starting new churches, does training and support for the planter’s spouse make a difference? Statistics have already proven the wife is the key factor in the longevity of a church planting project. Anecdotal evidence is pointing to even more.

“We wouldn’t still be here planting a church if it wasn’t for Parakaleo,” says one wife of a church planter.

“I don’t know how other couples have lasted in church planting without Parakaleo… It’s made all the difference for me,” another spouse adds.

To partner with MNA’s aggressive plans to launch new churches, Parakaleo is committing to launch a dozen new networks over the next five years. Parakaleo offers coaching, connecting, and training for church planting spouses.

The benefit of training and supporting church planting spouses far outweighs the modest initial investment. The availability of a local network has proven to be a vital element in starting new churches, notes Shari Thomas, Parakaleo’s founder and director.

“We are hearing from church planters that one of the deciding factors for choosing a planting site is the availability of a support network for the spouse,” notes Thomas. “Spouses have reported that they chose a city that had a Parakaleo network because they knew they would be able to we’d stay for the long haul with the support and training Parakaleo offers.”

Wives in church planting often find themselves facing a host of challenges: isolation and loneliness, overextended husbands, role ambiguity, and congregational expectations. Their pastor-husbands often struggle over a lack of volunteers and money for the plant and the constant pressure to boost “nickels and noses” (income and attendance). Gospel-based training that continually points her to Christ in the midst of these challenges both frees and empowers her to serve.

“In the high-pressure season of starting a new church, it’s really hard it is to apply the gospel DNA to every area of your life so it really becomes your default mode, or part of your story,” Thomas says. “It’s so easy to be lured into thinking that the success of the church depends on how hard we work. We know that theologically, that isn’t true—God is sovereign, and doesn’t need us to accomplish his work. But on a practical, day-to-day level, it’s easy to lose sight of that.” Parakaleo’s targeted training and support addresses these complex issues faced by ministry couples.

“If a church or a planting network can pay for a potential leader to attend a week-long training event, Parakaleo will train her and provide a year of follow-up coaching,” says Shari Thomas, Parakaleo’s founder and director. “So for approximately $1,000, we can train and launch a new network that will then be self-supporting.” Each network can impact multiple church plants. Parakaleo is actively seeking grants to underwrite the costs of training these network leaders.

If a church, presbytery, or church planting network is considering starting a Parakaleo network, they should contact Shari Thomas at for more information. “We have a simple assessment to see if your area is ready to start a network,” says Thomas.