ARC Women Spotlight | Jan Ducote
ARC Women Spotlight | Jan Ducote
April 20 2017
This month ARC Women is shining the spotlight on Jan Ducote, wife of Van and co-pastor of Northwood Church in Gulfport, Mississippi. With 28 years of ministry experience alongside her husband, a strong marriage, and three kids who now all serve with them in the church (and always have), there is so much we can learn from her story! We invite you to pour yourself another cup of coffee or tea today and enjoy!
Name: Jan Ducote
Church and City: Northwood Church – Gulfport, Mississippi
Launch Date: August 1989
Current Role: LIFE Small Group Coordinator (Freedom Groups)
Family: Husband: Van Ducote, married 46 years
Children: Kerry(39), married to Casey, daughter Haley(16)
Rebecca(36), married to Brandon, son Bradley(8), daughter Layla(6)
Jordan(32), married to Nadine, daughter Aryana(5)
What did the picture look like for you when you and your husband started your church? Did you have a role at the beginning or has that evolved over time?
As we drove across the Mississippi state line from Louisiana to pastor Northwood Christian Center in 1989, we had no idea that we had our future staff sitting in the back seat of our car. We had no idea what was really involved in restoring a church that had dwindled down to about 35 people. There was a nice building on 10 acres of land but with a $100k debt. We were in our 30’s and our children were 12, 8, and 4 … we were leaving our home church and all of our family in Gonzales, Louisiana. We were heartbroken and absolutely excited at the same time. We hit the ground running and have not stopped for 28 years.
My role at the beginning was mainly stabilizing our home and our children – helping all of us through the shock of the major change in our lives. I supervised the nursery for about the first 5 years and my husband would tell me that all I had to do was “sit on the front row of church and look pretty.” Eventually I started a women’s group that would meet monthly for many years. We fit around a folding table at the beginning and grew together. Some of those faithful ladies are still my best friends. I supported my husband every step of the way and still support him as we transition to a new season of our life today.
Prioritizing your marriage and family can be tough in busy ministry seasons. What are some things that your family does to keep it all in the right order?
As I reflect on those years when my children were young, I remember being home a lot. Money was short, but we enjoyed our life together in the back yard. Our children were not involved in many activities so we were not always running around. Our son played baseball until he was a teenager. All of our children were interested in singing and playing music, so that is what they were involved in. Remember – the 1990’s were pretty old school and our worship team was limping … so our girls were singing on the platform in their early teens and our son started playing the drums on the platform at 8 years old… yes you can laugh, but he kept a good beat! Family was our foundation, our strong foothold, our balancer and our safe place. Involvement in church was our life and we all enjoyed it. It was (and is) a privilege and honor to serve people for Jesus. It may sound a little cliché but it is true!! We never had many hard battles with our children- they all graduated from our church school and are now all married and working with us in the church. Even today as our children are grown, gathering together in the back yard is very important. We were just together last night and grilled hamburgers. : )
When things start to feel routine or monotonous, how do you stay motivated to keep going?
We have learned to take ALL of our vacation, even the Sunday! How I wish what we know today we had known at the beginning! We have found out how to REST in our body, soul AND spirit. A change of scenery surely helps you recharge. It is also essential to have circles of supportive people around you that you can speak to with transparency.
How has being a part of the ARC community been a benefit to you?
ARC has truly revived our church and ministry. Even though we did not actually “launch” our church with ARC, our whole concept of ministry has been transformed. Northwood Church has become more serving and accepting. Our vision has expanded to understand the true meaning of winning people and helping them take their next steps. We support ARC to help plant churches in the United States. It has always been important to my husband and me to help other pastors and their wives succeed in ministry, and we have found a place to do that. I am so excited to see the next generation rising up to continue to spread the life-giving message of Jesus.
What advice or encouragement would you give to someone who was just starting out on her church-planting journey alongside her husband?
Know that God has called you to ministry alongside of your husband. Know that God has gifted you for what He has called you to do. Never allow the busyness to hinder you from praying and reading your Bible. Stay involved with ladies, by leading them through your passion of ministry – like leading a small group, speaking in your church, or just by supporting your husband and children. Travel with your husband every opportunity you can. Keep your marriage relationship vibrant. Intentionally find one or two people you can confide in and be transparent with them. Know that God is with you through every trial and that you will always come through stronger in your faith and ministry after every storm. Life has many seasons… enjoy the one you are presently in and accept the changes with grace.
April 20 2017