Every interaction I’ve had with Renita Archey has left me smiling. She is delightful, and I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview. True to her transparent nature, she shares about herself in a warm and real way. Grab a refreshing drink and enjoy this chat with a fun-loving Christian woman.
Renita, please tell us a little about yourself.
Renita: I am a lifelong Tennessean and an only, and slightly spoiled, only child. I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home with both sides of my family being faithful members of the Lord’s church. In fact, when I returned to my home congregation to speak at a ladies day they asked everyone who was related to me to stand. My Mom, six aunts and two or three cousins were in the audience.
I graduated from Freed Hardeman and returned to East Tennessee (you can only return to Tennessee from Tennessee if you live here and understand that East, Middle and West Tennessee are each considered their own state) to work in local radio. But then, at a Wednesday night bible study I met a young, handsome man by the name of Jeff Archey. One year later we married. We have enjoyed 27 wonderful years this April.
I work in the CEO office of the Volkswagen Chattanooga Manufacturing plant. I can literally say I have been here since dirt because I was hired before the plant was build and watched the facility come to life during my first three years of employment.
Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary! As a speaker, your lessons are always Word-filled and practical. What are some lessons you think we need more of today?
Renita: No matter how old we are, a good reminder of the basics is never out of date. We can draw something new from those words we have studied many times, and I think we are strengthened every time. That is especially true as our nation appears to be making so many of the same mistakes the Israelites made as a nation. Drawing those parallels are very important reminders. It is also necessary to keep reminding ourselves of the basics because, unfortunately, as we look around our congregations, it is sometimes very evident that they are not being put into practice in our everyday lives. We see immodest apparel at worship services or our members posting in social media about ungodly activities in which they are participating.
From the very first time I met you, I’ve been drawn to your sweet spirit. To what can attribute your peaceful demeanor?
Renita: I am not sure if those who live with me on a day to day basis would call me peaceful. This morning I was sitting at the foot of my dad’s hospital bed watching him sleep and I thought of how practical, patient and even tempered he is. I have never seen him lose his temper. He always has practical advice to give, and has handled many difficult situations with wisdom and grace. That life-long example is where I hope I get my spirit. I hope I can be half as effective as my parents have been in the Kingdom.
What a blessing to have that kind of example from your father! He will continue to be in my prayers. Is there something you’d like to share about yourself that others might be surprised to know?
Renita: I am a pretty meat and potatoes type of girl. There is not much surprising about me. Jeff thinks it really cool that I was able to interview a couple of Presidents of the United States of America during my time as a news reporter, and it was neat…but I don’t know…I would rather someone say it surprised them to know I am 53 years old.
Jeff is right! What’s your favorite thing about being a preacher’s wife?
Renita: I think it would have to be the opportunities I am given at work. Most people call themselves “Christians” but because they call me “the preacher’s wife” many times co-workers come to me with Bible questions or with an issue in their life where they need help. I don’t believe I would be able to have as many bible studies over lunch without that “title”. Right now two ladies that I work with are attending my ladies’ class at the Chattanooga School of Preaching and Biblical Studies. It opened the door to an in-depth study on the role of women leaders in the church. Another co-worker approached me when her daughter came home talking about “a young earth”. She had never heard the term before and we studied for several weeks. I also cannot remember the number of times two of us have retreated to the restroom for a session of prayer over a specific issue they were facing. I pray that the small seeds planted each day bear fruit in the years to come.
Renita, I think that’s one of the best answers I’ve ever been given. I love your soul-winning attitude about the “title,” when so many preachers’ wives seem to resent it. Keep up the great work! What’s your go-to company meal?
Renita: Well…I am more likely to take you a mile down the road to a local “meat and three” we frequent than offer to cook for you . It is a quiet place most days where you can easily talk, and then we go back to the house for dessert. If I really need to fix something at home it will be easy like a large pan of lasagna and salad. One of our members once told me it was a sin that I had such a nice kitchen since I didn’t know how to use it.
Ha! Sounds like fun! Would you mind sharing one of your favorite books with us?
Renita: I love to read…there is nothing I enjoy more than curling up with a good book. I love workbooks and commentaries and lectureship books. But I am guessing I have read Daughters of Eve by Lottie Beth Hobbs a dozen times and Heart Bouquet by Louise Barnett Cox almost that many.
Thank you, Renita. Time spent with you is always refreshing. May God bless you abundantly as you continue to shine for Him!