As a woman in ministry leadership, life can sometimes feel lonely. But the power of community can help carry you through unexpected and devastating seasons of loss. So how can you find, develop, and nurture community in your life?
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In today’s episode, Holly and I talk with former pastor’s wife and leader Brandi Wilson about her leadership journey. We talk about what it’s like to lose a major title in your life through devastating circumstances and how you can transition back into leadership after heartbreaking loss. You’re looking for community, and Brandi shines light on how to make that possible.
Brandi’s Leadership Journey
Brandi leads in all different ways: as a single mom to her three teenaged sons and as a leader of Leading and Loving It, an organization dedicated to empowering pastors’ wives and women in leadership to love life and ministry. She also has 20 years in leadership, planting two churches in two states.
When Brandi Realized She Was a Leader
For Brandi, her realization that she was a leader has happened stone by stone and isn’t one specific moment. She has spent more time saying she wasn’t a leader than saying she was one.
As women, we serve in all different capacities so leadership is happening in our lives, but we don’t even realize it!“That’s probably been one of the biggest gifts of leadership is in the journey of leadership, learning to love myself.” Click To Tweet
The Power of Community During Loss
Brandi had been a pastor’s wife for 20 years when her husband decided to leave the church and their family. This was an incredibly painful season of loss for her, but her community helped get her through this time.
Brandi realized that she had been devastated but not destroyed. After their divorce, Brandi counted herself out of leadership but her women leader friends didn’t allow her to do this.“People can take away that title, but no one can take away God’s calling on your life.”Click To Tweet
Brandi is passionate about encouraging community for women in leadership because she knows how important it has been in her journey.
“The value of what we can offer each other as women in one another’s lives is such a gift.” – Brandi Wilson
Three ways Brandi’s community supported her:
- A friend who called her everyday and reflected truth back to her.
- Friends who didn’t push her through the healing process, but let her walk at her own pace. Her friends stayed beside her and were available to help Brandi process the truth when she recognized it for herself.
- A wider circle of friends in all different seasons of life who could support her and her sons.
How Leaders Can Cultivate and Build Community
Brandi believes one of the best tools we have available to us is technology. Within Leading and Loving It, they have Connect groups. Many of these groups happen online and meet using Zoom. Sometimes we have to look for unconventional ways to connect.
Brandi’s Work with Leading and Loving It
She was a pastor’s wife for 20 years, how would she lead now that that title was taken away? Brandi is still figuring this out. She still grieves not being as involved in church as she was before her divorce. God graciously healed her heart with the loss of her marriage, but it’s not easy to figure out how she fits in now.
Brandi was prepared to go back to teaching full time when Lori asked her to work for Leading and Loving It, which is where she currently leads as the director of impact.
Working with Other Women and Different Personalities in Leadership
We discussed how Brandi and Lori Wilhite have worked together in building Leading and Loving It as a ministry. Brandi shared some of the personality differences between she and Lori and how they have navigated this.
Brandi’s two tools that she mentioned are:
Brandi has found great value in understanding herself as well as her fellow leaders so that you can work well together. She also has seen how this has freed her to be who God has called her to be rather than trying to be someone else.
“When I realized that what God wants me to be is Brandi Wilson… that was freedom.” – Brandi Wilson
Making an Impact with World Help
Brandi has taken several trips with World Help, a partner with Leading and Loving It to Guatemala and Thailand. Brandi shares about her experiences in Thailand and the work World Help is doing to reverse the sex culture there.
You can learn more about Brandi’s experiences in Thailand on her Instagram feed:
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Advice for Younger Leaders
- Enjoy every season.
- Take one day at a time. Plan for the future, but live for today.
Connect with Brandi & Leading and Loving It:
Brandi Wilson is the Co-Leader of Leading and Loving It and lives right outside of Nashville, Tennessee with her three sons, Jett, Gage and Brewer.
She has been part of two church plants, the most recent being Cross Point Church located in Nashville where she served for 14 years. When Brandi isn’t following one of her boys to either a practice or sporting event, she enjoys yoga, hiking and time spent with friends. She loves all things cozy and comfortable and works hard to craft a simple life she loves living.
Brandi co-authored Leading and Loving It: Encouragement for Pastors’ Wives and Women in Leadership.
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