FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. – Pastors’ wives often face a unique kind of vulnerability. Many of them feel like they are living in a fishbowl or vainly trying to live up to unrealistic expectations. It has been said that being a pastor’s wife can feel like being a solo traveler on a long trip in a foreign country.
However, some pastors’ wives have found inexplicable joy in their role in the church and community. They love to see their husbands grow in faith and get thrilled with the message God has given them for the Sunday worship experience. They love to see lives changed and their church grow. Kelsie Saefkow fits into the category of the joyful pastor’s wife, not the lonely traveler.
As the wife of Josh Saefkow, pastor of the growing Flat Creek Baptist Church in Fayetteville and president of the Georgia Baptist Convention, Kelsie must often take on added responsibilities in the home and perhaps even in the church because of her husband’s greater involvement in Baptist life. However, she is a wife who can fulfill just about any role necessary to assist her husband in his calling. And she is the picture of ebullient joy and the essence of an unmitigated commitment to his ministry.
Our GBC president had this to say about his dear wife, “There are not enough words for me to express how grateful to God I am for Kelsie. She’s my best friend, the one my soul loves. Her call to ministry is evident through her humility in service to others. It doesn’t take long for anyone to recognize when you are around her that she is a woman who walks deeply with the Lord.”
Laura Samuels, the administrative assistant to pastor Saefkow, gleefully announced, “Kelsie is a loving, gracious, generous, kind, selfless, compassionate person who is exceptional in a myriad of ways.”
Kelsie was born in Georgia, one of four children (Kyle, Keely, Kaleb, and Kelsie) and the child of Randall and Cindy Culpepper. (You have got to love the alliteration, which surely has some kind of spiritual connotation). By the time Kelsie was in early elementary school her family moved to Crestview, FL, to work for the Air Force; and she enrolled in the Baker School system.
“I had a great childhood and a wonderful church home that poured into their youth,” exclaimed Kelsie. “I was active in youth choir and Acteens at church; and at school I loved academics, band, and softball. Prior to my senior year in high school we moved to Stafford, Virginia. That move allowed me to go to Liberty University and earn my nursing degree.”
It is amazing how God orchestrates our lives when we are yielded to Him and His will. It was at Liberty that Kelsie and Josh met. Their first meeting was at a Super Bowl gathering. A few days later they met again after Josh spoke at Convocation; and by the end of the week, they had their first date at a pizza restaurant in Lynchburg.
Kelsie reported, “We knew rather quickly that we were going to get married. In October 2009, Josh and I went to an orchard in Nelson County, and he proposed to me. When we got back to Lynchburg my entire family was there to greet us. Josh had cleverly arranged all of it to surprise me. I am extremely hard to surprise, but his creative planning resulted in a moment of wonder and amazement for me.”
“The night we met, our love for the church was talked about a lot. I soon learned that Josh’s plans were to go to seminary and prepare for the ministry. I knew that God had placed a great calling upon his life, because my dad was a bi-vocational pastor. So, I had a good understanding about what serving the Lord would require. I realized that it would be a great blessing from God to serve alongside Josh in the churches he would be called to serve.”
“One of the things I love most about Josh is his gentle and calming nature. He hardly ever gets angry and when he does, it is with the control of the Holy Spirit. He inspires me to have the same kind of response in difficult situations.
“In our church in Fayetteville I love getting to do life with fellow believers and actively serve in ministry. I realize that my job is not to try to serve in every facet of church life, but to serve where God has gifted me. However, I know that my ultimate ministry is to my husband and my family.
“I am a Christ follower, pastor’s wife, mother, and nurse. I try to be a great church member and support my husband to the best of my ability.”
The Saefkows have two daughters, Chloe, 12, and Sophie, 8.
“One of the hardest things in ministry,” explained Kelsie, “is the frequent demands upon the pastor that sometimes cause children to feel alienated from their fathers. We learned early on to raise our daughters in the Lord so that they will not grow bitter towards ministry.
“Our girls love the church and love serving the Lord. Urging them to be active in our ministry has let them see the joys in serving our people. Through the years, it has meant our kids may not go to bed at a typical time and perhaps miss their naps altogether, but they will have had the opportunity to minister with their dad and mom and were not separated from us.
“Chloe and Sophie came to know the Lord early in life and not only are they active in church, but we live out our faith at home and talk to God daily. We are intentional about teaching our daughters the Word of God at home.
“My prayer is that every decision we make at home, church and in life is to honor the Lord and always give Him the glory. I want Chloe and Sophie to be able to do the same so that in every victory and in every trial, they will glorify God, because they have seen us do it and know that is why we were created in the first place.”
Not only is Kelsie a nurse at the local hospital, but she loves getting to volunteer and help people with her skillset in nursing whenever possible. She enjoys walking outside to take in the beauty of God’s creation; and when there is a free moment, she takes great delight in reading Christian fiction/mystery books.