A Walk on the Wilde Side
‘It feels surreal to be in LA. I mean moving here definitely wasn’t my first choice – I definitely prefer the East Coast!’ With a glint in her eye and a cheeky smile, at 33, Tracy Wilde leads the LA branch of The City Church. This April MAGNIFY has the exclusive opportunity to walk on the wild side as we learn to be courageous with our dreams.
‘I actually grew up in Idaho and then as a young adult worked in Washington. I thought I’d go into local government. My cousin [best selling author and lead pastor of the Seattle branch of The City Church] Judah [Smith] had started a bible study in Hollywood and asked me to come and check it out, and that’s how I ended up in LA!’
One year on and Wilde’s relationship with the City of Angels has been a real eye opener.
‘LA is the epicentre of the entertainment industry. Everyone’s playing a role and for some, fame comes at a really young age; life here is like a fantasy. People are open to any and everything, which makes faith appealing, but also challenging because there are so many avenues to choose from.’
‘Growing up in a family where my parents and grandparents were pastors in the church, I had a relationship with Jesus from the age of 3! It sounds crazy, but one day my mum asked me, “Would you like to know Jesus?” and I said, “Yes.” That was it. I didn’t fall over and see angels [she laughs] but I do think God has used the stability of my faith to help people, especially women who have struggled with identity and relationships. It brings assurance.’
Yet, even though faith came early and easily, entering into leadership has posed its own challenges for Tracy.
‘I’m a single female pastor. [When I was younger] people made out I had to marry a pastor to get into leadership. My response was always, “No! Maybe I’ll be the pastor!” I grew up with women fighting to have a role and place in the church and I wasn’t attracted to that, so I ran away [from leading]. Yet, at the right time, God gave me a place.’
Working within a ‘non-denominational charismatic movement’, Tracy has witnessed just how much Christianity values women.
‘There’s a plethora of women around the world who can be CEOs or Presidents, so why not as leaders in the church? Jesus put value on women. From Genesis (the first book in the Bible) to Revelation (which is the last), God affirms women. I would never debate what [individuals] think God is encouraging them to do in their own life, but I am going to trust what God has asked me to do. I think it’s important for people to see the value of women working with men and not against them: that’s God’s idea of creating a new world.
‘Knowing your value is so important. Even though I hope I won’t be single forever, I do know that marriage won’t complete me. My insecurities and problems won’t disappear once I get a ring on my finger. There are a lot of women who aren’t married at 21, and that’s ok, once you remember that Jesus affirms and loves you. Trust that – it’s what gives me confidence and helps me find value. Oh and learn how to rest!’
With a job that is 24/7, Tracy’s top tips for R&R are certainly worthwhile.
‘I’m not good at taking time for myself: I tend to be the kind of girl that goes pretty intense and then burns out. Being [in LA] and doing this job has taught me to say no to things. I’ve learnt to take one day off a week and turn off my phone!’
Showing us that being single and being a woman are two things that absolutely don’t stop us from being influential, Tracy ends with a message of hope.
‘Jesus has a great place for women in His church and in His world. [I look forward to the day] when we can work together with men to accomplish great things.’
Words by Justina Kehinde
Photography by Sarah Shreves