ARC Women Spotlight | Tracy Breland
Tracy Breland leads South Coast Church alongside her husband John in Mobile, Alabama. They have been married for over 25 years and serving in churches for just as long, and all five of their children (plus their son-in-law) are all actively involved in ministry. Tracy is the author of Finding A Treasure: 101 Devotions for Parents of Special Children and we are so incredibly blessed to have her as a part of our ARC Women community!
Church and City: South Coast Church in Mobile, Al.
Launch Date: September 23, 2010
Current Role: Pastor of Women and Children
Family: Husband, John Breland and Children – Elizabeth Rose Hammerly (24), Fenton Hammerly (27, son-in-law), Caroline (22), John and Anna (21- twins), and David (19)
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?:
In the early days of our church I led South Coast Kids from 6 weeks to 12 year olds. I taught school in Oklahoma for years so children are my heart and education. For two years I taught the elementary age class and scheduled all of the other environments available for South Coast Kids. It was great experience for me because today we have over 100 people serving on the kids’ teams alone and my time in the actual trenches has allowed me to understand their places now!
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?
We are an “all in” kind of family! Before we planted we led various outreaches together at Victory Tulsa in Oklahoma. We have always enjoyed serving and leading together, although leading a church is more of a responsibility and the weight of it can be to heavy for some at times. Because of this we have set in place a rhythm to dance by… John and I have always reserved Wednesday nights for us. Our kids love our Youth ministry and that is on Wednesday nights so we feel free to go out or sit in and enjoy each other! As for our time with our children we gather around the table every Sunday for lunch and usually coffee too (although many times Friday nights turn into a family party too)! At the beginning of the month we have family discussion time and let them know our schedule for the next month. We try to be very proactive when we see certain ones getting aggravated at us, the church or church people. So we then spend lots of time with them…special trips, mission trips, shopping trips. Time equals love and so far that has worked for us! And of course lots of prayer…they still love us and are passionate about the church and reaching people for Him.
When things start to feel routine or monotonous, how do you stay motivated to keep going?
I believe you can feel this way in any occupation, so similar to my time teaching I always have to remember why I am doing it! I genuinely love people and believe God’s ways are the best and healthiest ways to live. Also I love to create, so if anything gets feeling too monotonous in my life I think it probably is to others too, so rethinking or recreating better or different ways to do the same things gives me energy and helps me innovate how we do things too!
How has being a part of the ARC Community been a benefit to you?
I can not imagine planting a church without the ARC! Relationship is everything and being able to talk to other pastors that have had years of experience is truly priceless! Many times we have been stuck or felt like we couldn’t go on and we would talk to an ARC pastor and then realize everyone feels and fights the same battles! And them simply saying, “Yeah, me too!” was what we needed! And as an added bonus the sharing of creative ideas and pastoral help are wonderful!
What advice or encouragement would you give to someone who was just starting out on her church-planting journey alongside her husband?
Keep Jesus in the center! Enjoy every season! Laugh more than you cry! (It all comes out in the wash.) Support your husband and children and people in the church and BE SURE to find some good women to support you! Surround yourself with people that love you! And never stop!