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Changing the Conversation about Holiness

Jess Connolly on calling, co-leading a church, and challenging people to be more in awe of God

Don’t you feel like that’s such a common question among women? Like, if I’m going to be a woman of grace, what do I do if someone hurts me? Well, you keep being a woman of grace, and you also believe in truth. It’s that simple.

It’s so true. It seems we set up a false dichotomy between grace and holiness/truth that God doesn’t have.

Absolutely. I mean, he basically spends the entire Old Testament and New Testament saying, I’m going to tell you how much I love you, and I’m going to tell you what I’ve done for you, and I’m going to tell you about this identity I’ve given you. And also, I’m going to tell you you’re not that great sometimes, sometimes you really mess it up. That’s how he talks to us. Calling us holy in one verse and the next he’s like, “Can you pull it together? You’re abandoning the faith. But also, you’re a royal priesthood. So just in case you’re wondering. You’re not acting like it, but you are.”

Tell me about the church plant you lead with your husband. What does it look like to lead with him?

My whole language has changed since getting into church planting. I used to introduce myself as a church planter’s wife, and now I’m like, Nope, I’m right there with him. We are doing this thing together. He is officially the pastor. I’m not on staff only because I have about three other jobs right now, so we’ve just decided it’s a lot better if I’m not in a staff position. For us it’s really simple. We just started asking, Do we think God put us together for a reason? Do we think that the kingdom is better off with us together? If so, why did he bring us together, and what specific gifts did he give us to help us lead this church together?

So right now it looks like both of us bringing our full selves to the table all the time and just believing that God wrote our story for us to come together—not just for our benefit but for the kingdom. Nick and I go to meetings together. We do all the planning for the church together. Nick is just fantastic at leading with vision. He’s like 100 percent an apostle. He does best when he’s saying the very dreamy, “Here’s what I want to do in two decades.” I function more as a prophet that sees the problem at all times. I can come into the room, into the meeting, into Sunday and say, “This is what’s not working.” I try to be the solution we need right then and there, and then try to equip other people to help be the solution as well. It’s interesting, neither of us have a whole lot of shepherd/pastor in us. So we try to pull those people around us. And our people tell us. They holler at us every few months and say, “We know that you guys want us to run on mission, we know that you really care that we feel equipped. It’s just we’re kind of hurting over here.” We’re like, “Okay, good to know, let’s work on that.”

October24, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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