Well, this Church Lady series keeps heartening and challenging me–I hope it is doing the same for you! Today we get to heart from the wonderful Rachel Olson. I met Rachel at the Hope Spoken conference this last spring, and she was a joy to interact with right off the bat. We talked about life and ministry and her sweet son, and I felt so welcomed in her presence. Rachel is a woman after God’s heart, and I’m excited for you to hear from her today! Connect with Rachel on her blog or on Instagram, too.
1. Tell us a little bit about the church that you’re a part of.
Our wonderful church of 300 members sits on the outskirts of our small Michigan town. My husband, Josh, was assigned to be an associate pastor here after he graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2010. Our church is one of over 1,700 congregations all over the world that make up the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Both Josh and I have been WELS members for our entire lives and this entire church body, the people and the work being done in Jesus’ name, is very important and special to us!
2. What does it look like, in your life, to be an active part of your church?
You know the lady who comes running into church as the service is starting with a little one on her hip, wet hair, and cracker crumbs on her shoulder? That is me sometimes. In the early years of my Josh’s ministry, I was involved quite a bit “behind the scenes” but was somewhat limited in what I was able to help with as mamahood needed to come first. What an encouragement it was to me that our congregation accepted that with such ease and grace! Now that my son is a bit older, I help coordinate our youth Sunday School program, organize fellowship and outreach events, and take part in various ladies groups and Bible classes. My biggest involvement in our church is supporting my fantastic, hard working husband in his role as pastor. He always says that he couldn’t do what he does without my help and support. What a joy and privilege!
3. How are your unique gifts and abilities strengthened by being part of a local church?
One unique gift I have been given is the ability to chat with anyone and everyone about anything at anytime. J I am a people person, a cheerleader, an encourager. My goal on Sunday mornings and all throughout the week is to greet people with a smile, ask questions, and truly connect with them. As time has passed since we began serving here, I have been able to go from simple, easy small talk with church members or people in the community to more deep and meaningful conversations with them. I hope that means I am a trusted person in their life. I truly love my church family and want to know each and every one of them. Some relationships have come easy and others I really have to work at, but they are all precious to me. I am in awe that God can use me (me!!) to impact and encourage these beautiful, flawed, redeemed-by-Jesus people.
4. How has being part of a church challenged and changed you?
Let me tell you a secret. I never planned on being a pastor’s wife because I married a carpenter. Well, God’s plans are certainly not our plans! And they blow ours out of the water with goodness and grace. Two years into our marriage, my husband felt very strongly about going to Seminary so we switched gears and here we are! Over the past four years, we have had some ups and downs, hurts and frustrations in our ministry, but that is expected in a sinful world that needs a Savior. Being a pastor’s wife has taught me that it’s not about me. At all! It is about sharing Jesus and loving others well. Even when it’s hard. Even when it feels like we aren’t getting anywhere. Even when we are tired or discouraged. Those are the times that we lean even more into the arms of our Lord who is Love and Strength and Peace. He will carry us through.
5. Why do you value church? What do you love about church?
Church has forever been and will always be important to me because it is the body of Christ. Jesus is the head and the Church is His body. I certainly want to be a part of this unique and beautiful mystery designed by God! My prayer every day, for myself and for our entire church, is for guidance, courage, and opportunities to be His hands, His mouth piece, His feet. I want everything we do and say to be for His glory. I love that this work of ministry does not rest on one person’s shoulders, but instead as a group we can come together and function as one.
Church is a gift and it is a giver. It is both. I come and am filled up so that I can serve and give and live for Him.
Rachel, thank you so much! You are a woman of grace and joy, and I’m so thankful for the ways that you love God and his people so well. Thanks for opening up your heart and life with us today; I’m so glad I know you!