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Nikki Sauter

Nikki Sauter

Co-Pastor, Cloquet Vineyard Church
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Two kids walking together

Church planting is a wild ride with ever-changing relationships and the need for fast and flexible movement. When our family was planting our church, we started by hosting small groups in town before we began holding Sunday services. It was a great space to engage with God and each other. We grew quickly and with the long midwest winter heading our way, we knew that spilling out into the lawn and garage was not going to be an option. We knew that it was time to multiply and grow.

After moving to our fourth small group location in a year in a half, we noticed that our once chipper and engaged children were now frustrated, upset, and sad. They were tired of making new friends, getting to know and love a group of people and their house and then leaving them over and over again. While we were happy that our church was building relationships, we realized that we as a family, we weren’t thriving at this pace. It was time to make a few adjustments.

In church planting families, establishing reliable anchors for your children honors their growth as you navigate the quickly shifting environments of a church plant. As we continue to navigate this journey of parenting and pastoring, there are a few principles that help keep us healthy.

Get On Mission
For us, creating a family mission statement together breathes life and freedom into our family. It casts the vision for what we are doing and who we are becoming as a family. As parents, it is necessary for us to continually embrace, affirm, and nurture kingdom values with our children. This is one way for us to do that.  

Don’t Hide
Often as pastors, we believe a false narrative that we must have all our stuff together for every and all situations, especially when it comes to our precious children and marriages. This is a lie from the pit of hell, friends. You’ve got to be honest and ask for help regularly! Difficult things, if left unchecked, can cause unnecessary hurt and pain for you and your family members. Be humble and ask for help.

Enlarge Your Circle
Build a larger circle of care from other pastors, coaches, therapists, doctors, and beloved friends. If you haven’t already, your family will walk through crisis and problems that you won’t be able to navigate alone. Finding someone who can be your child’s support person can add value to their life. This might be a safe, trusted friend, teacher, or grandparent who really gets your kid, and can invest and support throughout the changing seasons of childhood.

Have Fun
Take time with your family to do something you all enjoy and that makes you laugh. Buy a trampoline, invest in board games, watch a funny sitcom, or get a family pass to a museum. For my wild bunch, I bought one of those T-Rex costumes and we rotate wearing it and chasing each other around. It works! We all get a good hearty laugh out of that silliness. There’s a lot of life and worship in laughter.

May God bless you on your journey as you build healthy churches and healthy families.

Take The Next Step

Are you ready to take the next step with your plant?

Nikki Sauter is lead pastor of the Cloquet Vineyard Church. She and her husband planted the Cloquet Vineyard and just celebrated their 2nd birthday as a church community.  Her mission is to encourage, develop and empower those around her to live out a good and beautiful life.  She lives in Esko, MN with her husband and 3 children.

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