We met in Bible College. Danny’s a 3 on the enneagram- classic achiever. So, he definitely caught my attention as he won over the class and all of our teachers with his fun-loving but passionate leadership style. I (Jamie) am a 1 on the enneagram- a perfectionist in every sense of the word, which meant that all of his advances during that year were met with cold-hard stares since they’d forbidden us from dating.
Eventually, he won me over.
It was his sincere love for Jesus and the passion we shared for most things (professional sports being the exception) that did it. By the time we stepped off the plane from an overseas mission trip and back onto american soil, I was wearing his jacket and holding his hand. The rest is history.
We got married on a hot summer night, moved to central Oregon for a season, started producing offspring (we have 2 boys and a girl, who are the coolest kids ever!), were offered a staff position at a church in Idaho that was willing to teach us about church planting, and eventually we stumbled upon a little organization called ARC...
Small rabbit trail: Some of you might know about the Association of Related Churches (ARC), and if not, you should. The two of us- Danny and I- were going into church planting like two little kids headed off to school with nothing but the shirts on our backs (and they were wrinkly, inside out, AND backwards.)
ARC was the kind stranger who stopped to help. They straightened us out, fixed our hair, gave us backpacks with some fun paper and really good pencils. They even packed sack lunches with those cute little post it notes that you quickly hide from all the other students but then stuff in your pocket so you can keep it forever. Thanks to them, we made it through the first day of church planting alive. We’re a little indebted, and forever champions of their mission to train church planters.
Back to the story... As you might remember from the part about us getting together, Danny was a natural leader. What I didn’t tell you is that I was, too. I had moments of clarity about it, followed by mountains of doubt and insecurity, but the truth of it was I had a gift for leadership.
The journey to becoming church planters doesn’t really tell the story of how we became coLeaders. It’s the shell- what you can see from the outside- but the path we were navigating in our leadership and relationship is a little harder to describe.
Danny was convinced that the only way to lead was together. I agreed with him in theory, I just didn’t know how to practically live it out. How do you juggle being a mom, a leader, a wife, and a human being? Besides, he’d spent a lot of time developing as a leader while I’d been working on other skills... like corralling a toddler while cooking dinner. What did I have to bring to the leadership table that was of any value?
But like I mentioned, he’s convincing. Eventually, he won me over, again.
Today, I oversee all the pastoral ministries for Sun City Church. We split the org chart down the middle and he took operations. It sounds like a marriage gone wrong, but it’s actually never been more right. I’m not saying that coLeading is easy, it’s just worth it.
We didn’t start out with the intention of speaking to other couples about how to coLead, it’s just our story. One day, we turned around and realized it had become a big part of who we are. There’s no Danny without Jamie or Jamie without Danny. As cheesy as it sounds, we go together like peanut butter and chocolate. But figuring out how to lead together well has been one of the biggest challenges of our lives.
Everything we’re about to teach you on leadership, navigating conflict, creating rhythms of rest, and understanding our roles are things that we’ve internalized at a deep level, because we’ve had to. We’re both passionate, driven, highly-opinionated leaders. If killing each other wasn’t an option, we had to learn another, better way.
Welcome to coLead, where we strive to keep things real, helpful, and fun... in that order. We’re also committed to leading together, as husband and wife and as male and female. Here, we really do believe that we’re better together.
A NEW GENERATION OF LEADERS IS FOLLOWING OUR LEAD, LEARNING FROM OUR EXAMPLE WHAT IT MEANS TO HONOR AND PREFER ONE ANOTHER.
Our legacy will be one of combined strength, shared influence, and unified commitment to reflect the image of God.