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Parakaleo Ministries

Parakaleo Ministries

Parakaleo was birthed out of a PCA research project that Shari Thomas, daughter of a church-planter and wife of a pastor, did on the major factors determining the health or death of church-planters’ marriages. Scott Thomas was able to meet with Shari recently in NYC for a brief interview.

Here are some results from Shari Thomas’ Study of PCA Church Planter Spouse Stress and Satisfaction Levels:

• 100% of church planting spouses surveyed have requested mentoring or coaching.

• 65% of church planting spouses say their husbands (men who tend to be absent from the home evenings and weekends) provide their primary emotional support.

• 59% of church planting spouses lead 1-3 major ministries in the church in addition to family, community and personal commitments.

Add to this these statistics per Focus on the Family:

• 80% of pastors’ wives report having struggled with depression

• 56% of pastors’ report having no close friends

Shari’s list of primary factors that determine the wife’s satisfaction or stress levels are as follows:

• The husband – the person and work of the husband as he is involved/uninvolved with his wife.

• Support system

• Sabbath Rest

• Reliance on Christ

• Boundary Ambiguity

• Physical Health

In this interview, Shari notes that in the church planter assessment process, the most important factor in assessing satisfaction of a wife of a church planter is not actually her relationship with her husband (originally the highest-rated factor), but in the wife’s understanding of the gospel for herself.

The wife’s understanding of how sinful she is, and how she is more loved than she can imagine frees her from being a slave to performance or having her identity rest on what others think of her. She is freed by the gospel to face the issues of being a church planter’s wife with truth and joy.

Parakaleo is a network that offers coaching and help for church planters’ wives. Read more here.



Jenny Dorsey

on Apr 21, 2010 :: 11:28 am

I just have a funny story to share...My husband and I had been preparing for months to launch our 2nd site. On the drive over to our "first" service, I asked him who the pastor was going to be?!!! Somehow I got lost in the entire shuffle of planting this second church because it did not dawn on me for one moment that my husband was the "church planter" and would be preaching/leading each service!

I had to take a big breath..inhale Jesus, and realize how God had cared for us each step of the way and that he would continue to do so.

Annie Hale

on Apr 21, 2010 :: 1:18 pm

Ha! Thanks for giving me the freedom to say, "I have no time!". Between church planting and homeschooling with 5 kids 7 and under, life is a bit nuts right now. Good nuts though. Not bad nuts. I don't have anything profound to say, so I thought I would just share what I journaled this morning cause I thought it applied here. So, here ya go.
April 21, 2010
" I can't hide my sin, my brokenness, my imperfections, from people, friends, congregants, any better than I could hide cancer or any other terminal illness from them. I don't need to pretend that because I am a pastor's wife I am untouched by the fall and do not have sin, and am untouched by others sin. This means that I will not always look perfect, and that I too will have days when I don't get out of my pajamas, or days when I call and ask for prayer to be a more patient mom. I don't have to pretend I've fought sin and beat it all by myself cause we're planting a church and have got this whole Christianity thing figured out.

Instead I can show that yes, I am fighting too. Yes I am grieved by my sin and the sin of others. But while fighting, I am also resting. I am resting in Christ, the Author of my faith and the One who is perfecting it also. But I'm not just putting on Christ and then pulling up my boot straps and continuing on in the flesh trying to look like a super christian. I am resting. My salvation, my faith, my sin, my doubt is all resting in Christ and I am relying not on myself, but on the Holy Spirit to draw me to the living Word and make it effective in my life.

Thank you God, for Your Faithfulness, Your Son, and Your Spirit. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this love of Yours, which truly is better than life, with others. Help me to be wrapped up in You even more."

Annie Hale
Wife of a wonderful husband, father and oh' yeah, church planter in Conway, AR for God's glory, which is our good, and mom to 5, even though I only thought I'd ever have 2:).

Amy Lewis

on Apr 23, 2010 :: 12:21 am

After our first woman's retreat this weekend, God has made it clear that I have been maintaining an "us and them" mindset toward our congregation. I have wanted to be "the pastor's wife" in a special way that put everyone else in the church in a lower category than me. It wasn't until this weekend that I saw how divisive and isolating that has been. May God show me more and more his body, as seen in I Cor. 12 and 13, that I would know the boundless grace he has extended to all his people.
--A member at Evergreen Church in Salem.

Tami Wellman

on May 4, 2010 :: 10:13 am

I knew life would be different when we left a traditional church in the South to launch a new church in New Jersey. I knew we would try all sorts of creative ways to do church and get the word out about church. I knew that I would learn to appreciate Grace and the Gospel in fresh ways. I knew my marriage and family would be challenged and changed along the way. I knew that God would draw people and change hearts and lives. In this way, my journey has been typical thus far. After packing up our family and moving to New Jersey to do a scratch start church plant, by faith leaving friends, and financial security, and a building behind, to host countless Bible studies, outreaches, meals in our home, share tears and cheers of hundreds of people, 11yrs later we have a thriving church, 4 young maturing women of faith in our home, a marriage that is learning to adjust to the demands of our family, ministry, and changing stages of life, and an appreciation that we have only scratched the surface of what God is up to in our lives. That the journey is long, if we are lucky, and nothing like we thought. That the church is truely a place of hope amidst hurt. That His love is simple yet so profound and real that it both scares and comforts us. That sin is present with grace, fear with security, Hope with uncertainty, and financial insecurity along side blessing. Through it all God is present and we trust him to guide us and encourage us and grow us up until he returns or takes us home. Its a good thing we didnt know it would be this way or we would have run away, but ignorance is bliss and instead we ran full force into the arms of God and found He is truely all we need.

Cristina C

on May 10, 2010 :: 9:29 pm

I am very excited to see a woman's interview! And one bringing such a refreshing message about how a pastoral couple's relationship with the Gospel can change the way ministry is experienced.
Church planting defies everything you think you know about church and perhaps, by supporting and connecting church plant couples and especially wives, will result in stronger and healthier churches.
Thanks for focusing on such an important and relevant issue.