Do you feel like a reluctant leader sometimes? How can you start embracing your leadership role instead of running from it? And what’s the best thing to do when you’re lonely in leadership? 

 From Reluctant Leader to Founder of a Thriving Community with Lori Wilhite [Friendship Series]

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In our final episode of the Friendship Series, Holly and I talk with pastor’s wife, mom, author, and Leading and Loving It founder Lori Wilhite. We chat about her reluctant journey into leadership, the importance of friendship, and how you can stay healthy as a family while you serve others. 

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by trying to meet everyone’s expectations for you as a leader, this is for you.

Lori’s Leadership Journey

After Lori became a pastor’s wife, she lost her footing because of her self-imposed expectations and the reality that she couldn’t meet them. She shares her 10-year journey as she struggled with depression and expectations, and then how she refocused her life. 

'Once I started to refocus my energy from so much fear to purpose, it really was a game-changer for me in leadership.' - Lori WilhiteClick To Tweet

Lori felt like leaders were older, had answers, and had their life all-together so she felt she couldn’t be a leader. However, when a friend asked her whether she believed that God was sovereign in placing in her in a leadership role, she had to really reflect. 

“I didn’t want to be a leader. A leader seemed scary, a leader seemed a lot older than me. A leader seemed like they had it together like they knew the right answers.”  – Lori Wilhite

Since that time, Lori has gone on to start Leading and Loving It, an organization for pastor’s wives and women in ministry leadership. It started with a “horribly written blog” and has become a resource for thousands of women.

Lori shared some of the ways she was able to accept her role as a leader: 

  1. Lean into your strengths.
  2. Lean into letting God stretch your capacity. Start saying “yes” to things outside of your comfort zone. 
There's validity in finding your strengths and leaning into them; there's also validity in letting God stretch your capacity. - Lori WilhiteClick To Tweet

As Lori has learned through Leading & Loving It, we have ministry struggles in common, but we just don’t talk about them. Lori is passionate about women in ministry knowing they are not alone.

“The best thing we can do for each other is to just let each other know you’re not alone in your struggle.” - Lori WilhiteClick To Tweet

Lori also shares with us the wins and joys of leading in a church.

The Importance of Friendship in Leadership

Lori believes that friendship is vital to your leadership role. 

She shares that she has two kinds of friends:

  1. Long-distance friends who have the same role she does as a pastor’s wife.
  2. Local friends who she can sit and talk to.

Both types of friendships take intentionality to cultivate and risk to be vulnerable. 

'If you are intentional, you can have beautiful friendships in leadership.' - Lori WilhiteClick To Tweet

Advice for Younger Leaders

Lori offers this advice for younger leaders (although she has 48 more pieces of wisdom she’d love to share!)

  1. Trust God’s sovereignty, which may look like being confident in your calling. It may also mean equipping yourself with the skills you need to do His work.
  2. Learn to say “no” without explanation.

Leaders Are Learners:

Lori is learning that our timing is not always God’s timing. As she writes her book, she isn’t meeting her self-imposed deadlines. But she is okay with that because she needs to do the research and spend the time to do it right. 

Other Episodes Mentioned:

Episode 64: The Power of Community through Devastating Seasons with Brandi Wilson

Connect with Lori & Leading and Loving It:

Leading and Loving It founder, Lori Wilhite, serves alongside her husband Jud who is the Senior Pastor at Central Church in Las Vegas. They love being a small part of God changing Sin City into Grace City. She is also the author of My Name is Victorious: Find Strength, Freedom and Joy in Who You Are Created To Be. She is the co-author of Leading and Loving It: Encouragement for Pastors’ Wives and Women in Leadership with Brandi Wilson as well as My Name is Victorious: Teen Edition with her teenage daughter. 


Jud and Lori have two amazing kids, Emma and Ethan. She loves to snuggle on the couch sifting through her overstuffed DVR, enjoys time out laughing and chatting with friends, and obsesses over the perfect tea.

Stay Connected:

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Episode Sponsor: Confident Leader Club

If you’re ready to take the next step in your leadership, I want to invite you to check out the Confident Leader Club. We’re open for a short time in September and I would love for you to join us for community, growth, and action towards becoming a confident leader. Head over to to learn more!

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From Reluctant Leader to Founder of a Thriving Community with Lori Wilhite [Friendship Series]