Parakaleo, MNA’s ministry to church-planting spouses, recently released its first book, Beyond Duct Tape—Holding the Heart Together in a Life of Ministry. Co-authored by Parakaleo’s founder and director Shari Thomas, and Tami Resch, the group’s associate director, Beyond Duct Tape also includes contributions from PCA pastors like Tim Keller and Scotty Smith.

“We decided to write something for the wives,” explains Thomas, “something that invites them to freedom … to so much more than what they are currently experiencing.” And what they are often experiencing, according to research done by Thomas and others, is loneliness, stress, and even depression.

Church planting, as both Thomas and Resch know from personal experience, is a journey of both excitement and exhaustion. The pages of Beyond Duct Tape are full of the authors’ personal experiences, as well as others’ stories of facing up to the challenges of church planting. Because cultural and ministry contexts vary so greatly, Beyond Duct Tape is not intended as an instruction manual. Rather, through stories and practical tools, Beyond Duct Tape moves beyond patchwork, “duct tape” solutions to issues faced by church-planting wives, and to the heart. “The more freedom we experience in the gospel,” explains Thomas, “the more we begin to relax and let God do whatever He might be doing either with us or without us.”

Feedback on the book has been positive. Thomas relays the story of an overseas church planter who contacted her. “We are not emotional in our culture,” he said, “but when my wife read what you wrote, she burst into tears.” The pastor’s wife then told him it was the first time she’d ever read something that explained so accurately how she felt.       

Thomas, Resch, and the Parakaleo team are hopeful that Beyond Duct Tape will strike similar chords with other church-planting wives. And while most of the stories in the book are centered in the church-planting context, the tools and practical knowledge it offers are appropriate for men and women in any type of ministry.

To learn more about the book or the ministry of Parakaleo visit pcamna.org/churchplantingwives.

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