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From Kentucky Today: 'Radiant' retreat calls ministry wives to emotional health and continued servant leadership

Syndicated Article by TESSA REDMOND, Kentucky Today Apr 27, 2024 Updated Apr 28, 2024

RICHMOND, Ky. (KT) – Pastor's wives from Mayfield to Pikeville gathered at First Baptist Church in Richmond over the weekend for Radiant, a ministry wives retreat cultivated by the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

"We are called to be faithful to what He's called us to do in our specific church with our specific people in our specific place with a specific gift or a specific purpose," said Christine Hoover during one of three main sessions.

Hoover, a pastor's wife, women's ministry director, author and podcast host, admonished Kentucky Baptist ministry wives to cultivate emotional health, root out bitterness and anchor themselves in the truths of God's Word.

"What happens for us as pastor's wives is we carry a lot internally," Hoover said. "We carry burdens that our husbands carry... We know when people are hurting or when they are struggling. We carry all of that and that's heavy... And so, if we're to endure in what God has called us to do, and the role He's placed us in as pastor's wife, we have to learn how to bear these hidden vulnerabilities well," Hoover said.

Part of bearing that weight is recognizing God is an emotional God, that humans are created in the image of God as emotional beings and that we often take emotions to sinful extremes.

"Our goal has to be to engage our emotions, not in the extremes, but in a healthy, God-honoring way--to not overreact or underreact, but to let our emotions serve as opportunities for examination and for intimacy with God," Hoover said. "And if we don't learn to do that, then we become malformed people."

As human beings, ministry wives have needs—and God doesn't expect them to be different than those they serve.

"We need rest. We need physical exercise. We need renewal through the Word. We need relationships," Hoover said. "And if we ignore this about ourselves and try to become robots, we are in for trouble."

She also explored Hebrews 12:15-19 with attendees, noting that difficult circumstances can lead to roots of bitterness which spring up into action. Confession and repentance, digging to the root and considering Jesus are remedies for growing bitterness.

"Ministry is a greenhouse," Hoover later noted.

It was a statement that resonated with many women, according to Sara Robinson.

"It is my prayer that Radiant equips and encourages ministry wives to grow in Christlikeness," said Robinson, who serves at the KBC as the women's ministry and transition consultant. "Healthy wives help pastors serve faithfully and contribute to kingdom growth in KBC churches."

"Spending time with other women who are sacrificially laying their lives down for Christ with common joys and struggles" was a helpful aspect of Radiant, according to Mariko Kubinec.

"I think both recognizing that ministry has unique struggles and bitter situations that can create bitterness if gone unchecked and so the importance of proactively identifying that and combatting that by coming back to Christ," said Kubinec, whose husband pastors Vine Street Baptist Church in Louisville.

"I think just seeing that other women in ministry have similar struggles and similar victories and we can just learn so much from one another, and just knowing that we're not in it alone" was impactful for Laura Callaway, a youth pastor's wife from Unity Baptist Church in Ashland. "And then just, of course, truth poured on us without distraction. We're not trying to minister to anyone else, but we're just here and able to focus just on (God) and what He has to say to us."

"At lunch on Saturday, I was struck by the room of laughter and fellowship," Robinson added. "Seeing ministry wives connect over shared experiences and encourage one another in their calling thrilled my heart."

Attendees also enjoyed several breakout sessions, corporate worship and fellowship times designed to strengthen or forge relationships with other ministry wives.

Those relationships can be developed further at the Ministry Wives' Summer Meet-Ups, regional gatherings held in 12 locations across Kentucky on Monday, July 29, at 6:30 p.m. local time. Learn more and register here.

Radiant will return on Oct. 17-18, 2025 in Bowling Green.

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