Andy & Stacie Wood

Being Good at Home and Leading Well in Ministry Together

About The Episode

“Ministry and family is not an either/or. It’s both/and. But there’s certainly a priority. And if you get to the place where the family is not your priority, eventually you might have to make a choice.” Meet Andy and Stacie Wood. Andy is the Lead Pastor at Saddleback Church, and in this episode, he and his wife, Stacie, flip the script on the Unfair Advantage podcast by offering their own insights as interviewees on the topic of marriage and ministry. We’re joined by a guest host, Sean Morgan, who asks thoughtful questions about the dynamics of ministry and family life.

Welcome to Episode 006 of The Unfair Advantage Podcast.

Insights From Andy & Stacie

Discerning a Ministry Pace as a Couple

  • Planters are often overcommitted with little rest and many external pressures
  • Giving freedom and/or grace to run at different paces
  • Ask your spouse: what are your top priorities that you want me to be a part of? This gives them the freedom to speak into exactly where they need you most
  • Clarifying expectations is so important 
  • Habits put into place well can really anchor your marriage (weekly date nights, family day/sabbath)
  • Elder/board support with scheduling time away (even requiring time away by the second summer of the plant) and giving allowances for family outings and experiences

Working Together in Ministry

  • When you have kids, you have to make adjustments. It is a death to self and includes saying “no” to some of your ministry passions because your heart is focused at home. 
  • Our family is our first ministry, but acknowledging there is a tension here because there has also been a passion for ministry since the beginning. 
  • For 13 years, I couldn’t be on full time staff, but wanted to be engaged. It looked different through the series. 
  • Make a decision as a planter that as much as you can, you’ll involve your children as much as you can, and pray that God will bring other couples with kids around the same age. 
  • Pastors do themselves a disservice when the church becomes a separator between you and your family. Embrace it together.

Seasons of Ministry in Dating, Marriage, and Parenthood

  • Finances are always a burden to church planters. Make sure that you are doing the hard work of raising support and being able to provide to your family. 
  • Andy brought me along with him in the vision and in the process. Make sure you are doing your plant with one heart, one soul, one mind. He validated me and made me feel like I played a significant role in the journey of our plant. 
  • Ministry and family is not an either or, it’s a both and. But there is a priority. If you get to a place where your family is not your ministry, you may need to make a choice. 
  • In a moment be willing to walk away from your ministry for the sake of your family. 
  • Decide to put home first.

Episode Links

Atomic Habits by James Clear

The Quest for Authentic Manhood by Robert Lewis

Do ministry together! Three gatherings, nine planters, one cohesive journey. Checkout the Ascent Leader Church Planter Cohorts. Get more information today at:

Who Are Andy & Stacie Wood?

Pastors Andy and Stacie Wood started their ministry in California as church planters in the Bay Area. They began Echo Church in 2009, and it eventually became one of the fastest growing churches in the area. In 2022, God called them to transition into leadership at Saddleback Church as Pastor Rick Warren stepped down from his role of senior pastor.

Andy’s passion is to create environments that engage unchurched people. Along with leading the church, Andy enjoys investing time in helping church planters and leaders think more innovatively and strategically to reach people in the most unreached areas of North America. Andy and Stacie have three kids, Caedmon, Sammy, and Karis.


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Quotes From Episode

“You have to ask the question, Do I want to do this for a couple years, or do I want to do this for decades? And that changes your perspective.” ~Andy Wood

“Church planters can make it easier for their wives to respect and to come alongside that vision by the way that they choose to live their life.” ~Stacie Wood

“The size of my vision that God’s put in my heart demands more of me.” ~Andy Wood

“It did feel like a death to self in a way to have to say ‘no’ to some of my ministry passions in order to be able to show up for my kid. As a young mom, that’s a tension we all have to live in.” ~Stacie Wood

“Make a decision early on as a church planter that, as much as possible, you’re going to involve your kids in the church, and then prayerfully ask God to give you a couple families that have kids about the same age.”~Andy Wood

“Ministry and family is not an either/or. It a both/and. But there’s certainly a priority. And if you get to the place where the family is not your priority, eventually you might have to make a choice.” ~Andy Wood

Our goal with the Ascent Leader and our church planting cohorts is to help church planters win early and finish strong. We want to resource you so that you can avoid common pitfalls and simple mistakes. Being involved in a community of leaders like our church planting cohorts is one of the best ways to wrestle through these questions. We’re here to help you, if we can be of assistance to you please feel free to reach out.

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