By Sharon Mager

Brad & Jena-Marie O’Brien

BALTIMORE, Md.—Jena-Marie O’Brien will be a guest speaker during the breakout sessions at the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) Replant lab, Feb 27-28 in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Jena-Marie is the wife of Brad O’Brien, pastor of Jesus Our Redeemer Church, which merged with the historic Lee Street Memorial Church three years ago.

She will share with the wives of pastors involved in church replants, and those who want to learn more about replanting. Her topics will include “expectations,” and “Our calling as pastors’ wives,” particularly in the context of replanting.

“Early in a church plant, we’re usually similar ages, figuring it all out together,” she explained. But a replant is different. “The people in the church have been there for years and have experienced other pastors’ wives,” Jena-Marie explained. “The congregation always has preconceived expectations. Sometimes spoken and sometimes silent.”

Perhaps the last pastor’s wife organized potlucks, visited the sick, and worked with the children’s ministry. Part of dealing with the issue is realizing that those expectations are there, and knowing that no one is going to be able to meet them all. “But how do I first meet God’s expectations so that I don’t burden myself with expectations from others before God?”

Because pastors’ wives are almost automatically considered a leader, she must balance the responsibilities and expectations of her husband, family, friends, and church, but the key is understanding the Lord’s expectations, she explained.

“As a follower of Christ, what is my job, what is my role? What does God truly want from me in everyday life, as a Christian woman? “

Regarding God’s calling, Jena-Marie said God ultimately calls each of us to love Him with all our heart, strength and mind, and He calls us to love one another and to make disciples.

“Our callings may look different within these commands because he has created us with different gifts.

“I have been challenged in this role to be only who God created me to be—what He expects me to be.”

Jena-Marie said she’s looking forward to meeting with other Replant wives, to share stories, connect and learn from and encourage each other.