ARC Women Spotlight | Kate Sumrall
ARC Women Spotlight | Kate Sumrall
November 15 2016
Name: Kate Sumrall
Church and City: itown Church, Indianapolis, Indiana
Launch Date: 08/15/10
Current Role (if any): Conferences/Events and Staff Development
Family: My husband, Dave, and our five kiddos: Haley Beth (11), Hanna (9), Henlee (8), Tait (5), George (3)
What were your feelings when your husband told you that God had called him to plant a church (or in some cases, when you both felt that way)?
When I met Dave, I knew he wanted to plant a church. In fact, we planted our first church a few months after we were married. We were just babies at 23 and 26. I haven’t known anything but being a pastor’s wife. Since we have been married, we have planted a church, taken over a church split, been on staff at Church of the Highlands, and then planted our current church (itown) through ARC. We loved our time at Church of the Highlands! It was an amazing opportunity to not only learn about the right way to do church, but to also understand what it’s like to be on staff at a church. Dave and I both knew when the time was right for us to leave Highlands and plant itown. Having planted a church before that without ARC, I have to say that planting a church through ARC is WAY MORE FUN and effective! Shameless plug!
Tell us about a time that you were in complete awe of what God can do during your time as a planter’s or pastor’s wife.
A few years into our church, we had an explosion of growth. Our church went from 600 in attendance on the weekend to over 1000 in just one week! The entire month of January we were over 1000 people in attendance on the weekends. It was crazy, mainly because we had a snow storm every weekend in January that year. The streets were even shut down for many of the weekends we had services. Our church grew over 300% that year. It was just proof that this whole thing is all about Jesus.
For you personally, what has been your biggest challenge through planting and/or pastoring and what have you learned from it?
The biggest challenge I have faced has been managing my own expectations. My personality is very driven and I like to accomplish tasks. It is hard to manage that when the overall goal is to reach all of God’s lost kids. What an overwhelming task! I never thought we had enough salvations, enough people attending the Grow Plan, enough new people visiting the Red Tent (our welcome center). It was never enough, and this led to some stress and frustration. I have learned to celebrate more than just those aspects of church. Now, I look at the season our church is in. We may not be able to reach as many people right now, maybe we are growing our staff, maybe we are building our Go Team. Whatever the season, I try to find the win. Because ultimately, I know that God’s hand is on this church, this city, and this state. I’m just honored to be a part of the journey.
What is your most important piece of advice when it comes to managing both home and church life?
I know I am called to stand alongside Dave to help lead our church, but more than that, I am called to be a mom. So I am a mom first. Anything else I can fit into my week to help the church – I do! My schedule changes often, and I give myself the grace to do that. I know the season with my kids at home is short, and I don’t want to look back on these times and wish I had been around more. itown is growing quickly and we are hiring staff and building teams. It is also a baby; I just prioritize my babies at home more. I know there will be a day where I can give more to the church. It’s just not now. Everyone’s capacity is different. I just know that I am not able to live fully in both worlds.
With that said, I know I always like to hear specifically how other pastor’s wives schedules work, so I will give a rundown of my current responsibilities and weekly schedule. I currently oversee all conferences and events at itown. I also help with a lot of staff development. I go to the office on Wednesdays when my boys are in preschool, so it works well. I stack the day with meetings and get home in time to pick my girls up from school. I email and text constantly during the week as well. I only attend services on Saturday nights now, which allows some very special time with my kids on Sundays. Like I said, my schedule changes a lot! This is just what works now.
What is something you wish someone had told you before planting a church?
The best advice we ever got about pastoring was that everyone has their own story. Every hiccup along the way just adds to our story. And it is our story. No one else’s. Early on, Dave and I decided to put our heads down and build what God had called us to build. We decided not to look around at everyone else and wonder if we were doing a good job. We knew we were doing what God had called us to do, whatever that looked like each day. We have church planters ask us what is one thing we would change about the early years of our church and we always say nothing, because it is all part of our story. We know God’s hand has been on our church and our lives and we are excited to have Him woven throughout OUR STORY.
November 15 2016