We asked 35 Christian leaders, “Who is the influencer with the biggest impact on your life and ministry?” Most of these leaders listed several influential thinkers, writers, innovators, and leaders more of us should get to know. This response is from Lori Wilhite, founder of leadingandlovingit.com for pastors’ wives and women in ministry, and pastor’s wife, Central Christian Church, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Julie Richard, senior pastor’s wife at Lake Hills Church, Austin, Texas, is my go-to parenting guru. With practical yet powerful parenting content, she has encouraged me like no other in my family life. Her insight in establishing a vision for our families and training our children’s hearts has absolutely transformed me as a mother. She leads Fearless Mom (fearlessmom.com).
No other person has impacted me more as a pastor’s wife than Kay Warren. She recorded a series of messages for pastors’ wives years ago that remain helpful to me. Without those talks, I don’t know that I would have started Leading and Loving It. She was the first ministry wife who helped me not feel alone in the struggles we were going through. Her continued encouragement over the years has been incredibly meaningful to me and Leading and Loving It.
Mike Foster is author of Freeway: A Not So-Perfect Guide to Freedom. This fresh, brilliant small group resource had an incredible impact on the people of our church and greatly inspired Leading and Loving It as we look for ways to help ladies dig into their hearts to find healing.
Foster has a unique ability to draw out authenticity and radical acceptance for those of us in need of second, third, and 94th chances. Research shows radical acceptance is the key to healing human shame and the overwhelming feeling of unworthiness most people feel in some capacity. Foster helps people see that God radically accepts us even when we believe we are unacceptable. As he says, “That is the power of the gospel of grace” (secondchance.org).
Jud Wilhite—yes, I am married to this guy, but there has truly been no greater influence in my life for loving and reaching people far from God. He has modeled and taught me more than anyone else about meeting people where they are in life, helping them connect with Jesus, and journeying with them as they learn to follow him. His heart for Jesus and others has impacted the way I interact with people from the aisles of the grocery store to the streets of downtown Las Vegas.