The breakfast room at the Comfort Suites in Berlin, OH, was crowded as guests stopped in for a quick breakfast before heading out for their day’s activities. It was a big weekend for this community in the heart of Ohio Amish country. Berlin was one of the stops in a quilt hop–a directed tour of several quilt shops.
But for about thirty women gathering in the meeting room next door, the focus was not on quilts. They had come from all over the country to seek answers to the question, “What does God want for women in FGBC churches?”
This first-ever Women’s Leadership Summit, held the weekend of November 5-7, was the result of years of prayer and discussions initiated by Women of Grace. The leaders recognized their responsibility, as the only national women’s organization of the FGBC, to help women in local churches who are at various stages of their growth in Christ. They had been asking hard questions to discern what God was calling the organization to become.
The women in attendance were invited because their lives reflected an interest in serving God through ministering to women. Each was asked to evaluate the needs of women in their churches and in the Fellowship in general. The group was a cross-section of FGBC women: ages ranged from 26 to 76, and they represented states from the East Coast to the West, as well as Canada.
Dave and Julie Lawson of Wooster, OH, speakers for the weekend, encouraged the group to focus on what it means to become fully formed followers of Christ. They challenged the women to be willing to do whatever it takes to see that happen, both in their own lives and in lives around them.
The women discussed what they believe God wants to see happening among the women in the Fellowship. They listed such concerns as: women need to know how to nourish themselves with God’s Word, women need to help other women know how to care for their homes and families, and women need to know how to pray for the world.
In the end, the group discovered that everything their hearts were longing to see happening in their women’s ministries could be distilled to six essentials: God’s Word, Prayer, Mission, Mentoring, Community and Leadership Development. These core values will help Women of Grace determine what their priorities should be.
Participants divided into groups to discuss how to make the core values a part of local church ministries. The discussions grew lively as they shared the passion of their hearts for each area of the core values.
The weekend ended with a Sunday morning worship service with opportunity for each to share their specific vision for the women with whom they are working. As individuals shared their vision, hearts were brought together with common goals. The Summit ended with a prayer time that reflected the depth of the women’s desire to see God’s purposes accomplished.
In summarizing the weekend, Women of Grace President Janet Minnix said, “This was probably the most significant event Women of Grace has ever sponsored. The women saw that a women’s ministry built around the essential values can help to meet the needs of today’s women by mentoring them to become fully formed followers of Christ and empowering them to fulfill his purpose for their lives. The seeds have been planted, and we look forward to the fruit that God will bring.”
Another Women’s Leadership Summit is planned for November of 2005. For more information on this year’s Summit, go to www.womenofgraceusa.org.
Tell Us Your Vision
What is your vision for women’s ministries in your church? Please write it down and send it in–we want to pray with you for it. Send your thoughts to Janet Minnix, 3314 Kenwick Tr. S.W., Roanoke, VA 24018; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: (540) 774-4078.