Finding Your Place, with Susan Williams

Gena McCown:  I had the pleasure of connecting to Susan Williams through Leading and Loving It.  Recently Susan shared about a special event that her Women’s Ministry hosted that was centered around helping women find their place to plug in within the church.  I asked Susan if she’d be willing to share about this event with our group of leaders, and she graciously accepted!
First, let me tell just a bit about her.  Susan Williams and her husband Greg have served in worship ministry for over 20 years. She is a speaker, writer, and servant of Christ in her local church.
GM:   Susan, thank you for sharing this event with us.  What exactly was your role in this event? 
Susan Williams:  While I was the chairperson for the event, it was implemented by the women’s ministry team.  I was also the keynote speaker.
GM:  What did you call the event, and when did your ministry host the event?
SM:   The event was called Pizza & Possibilities and it was the kickoff event for our women’s ministry.  We held it on a Friday night in August, shortly after school started back for our community, from 6-9 pm. The event was advertised through church publications for approximately six weeks.  Two weeks leading up to the event, there was a promotional video about the event.  Women’s ministry team members were asked to provide desserts and the attenders were asked to pay $3 per person to cover the expense of the pizza, salad, iced tea, and childcare. 
GM:  Tell me about the promotional video, was this something you picked up from the internet or something you created in house?
SM:  The script for the promotional video was written by me.  The soundtrack for the video was a woman’s voice over instrumental music, with pictures of women from our church showing them in everyday activities.
GM:  Susan has given us permission to share the script she used for the promotional video for inspiration.  Thank you, Susan.
Do you ever look around and wonder where the “real” women are? You know – the women like you and me – the ones who are juggling too many plates (and feel like we’re dropping at least half of them!), the ones who yearn to be better wives/mothers/sisters/friends, the women who long for the bodies of our youth and long for the next piece of cake just as much (and the cake wins more often than not!), the ones who are striving to have a better relationship with Jesus and the people He has placed in our lives?
Take a look around you. Let your eyes scan the room for just a minute. Those “real” women are all around you at PVN! Women who have struggled with being “good enough” in life; women who have experienced real heartache, devastating loss, and challenges beyond your wildest dreams; women who have spent time on the mountain top and even more time trudging through the valley; women who know what it means to be totally dependent upon God for every single moment. We are sitting next to you, in front of you, behind you, and beside you. And we want to get to know you, too.
God created us to fellowship as a Body of Believers. He has given us a gift of community with one another as we go through life. We are all at different places in our journeys, in need of different kinds of encouragement. We all have encouragement to give as well. Our women’s ministry is made up of “real” women and we want you to join us! Come be a part of our next event, go ahead and put our fall retreat on your calendar, and make plans to be a part of this exciting time! You belong with us and we want to get to know you better. We are here to serve each other…together. Come find out what it means to be REAL with us – Redeemed, Esteemed, Adopted, Loved. We can’t wait to see you!
GM:  How did you set up your space for this kick off event?
SW:  Round tables were set up with brightly colored, plastic tablecloths, with 6-7 ladies per table. A long serving table was set for the food and a drink station was located nearby. Tables were “decorated” with small puzzles (we used puzzles from the dollar store), and this provided an activity for the ladies to engage in while waiting for the event to begin.
The women’s ministry coordinator served as the hostess for the evening, the Ladies’ Ensemble sang, and there was a keynote speaker.   The topic was “A Piece of the Puzzle”.
GM:  So, the puzzles are also significant to the theme, as they fit together.  Like members of the body, we fit together in our community.  Each person has a role and purpose, without all the pieces the puzzle is left incomplete.   How did you begin the evening?
SW:  We wanted to feature the various ministries of the church that were a part of the women’s ministry. The leaders of these ministries were asked to give a brief overview (5 minutes or less) of their ministry. These featured areas included the Tabitha Ministry (sewing dresses and shorts for children who attend a Christian school started by a partner church in Africa), the Prayer Ministry, Bible Study groups, a partnership with the local orphan home that allows our ladies to provide dinner and activities for the children, the Ladies’ Ensemble, and an overview of other ministries in which ladies could serve.
GM:  Susan, who was the keynote speaker, provided us with a synopsis of her topic.
“A Piece of the Puzzle”
God created each of us to be a unique piece of the puzzle that is the Body of Christ. Much like puzzle pieces, we have a distinct shape, a specific color pattern, and the ability to interlock with those around us. Paul speaks in his letters about how each of us is gifted to serve in different ways. He also talks about the need for each of us to do our part, thus edifying the Body.
It is important for us to find the place where we fit into the Body, so that we can serve effectively. We can do this by first finding out how we have been gifted. Spiritual gifts inventories and personality profiles can help with this! Once we know what our gifts are, we can seek ways to use them. But knowing our gifts isn’t enough! Much like puzzle pieces, we cannot be forced into a spot where we do not “fit.” Sometimes, it takes a number of tries before we find the “right” fit for us. Each church is unique, so it is possible that the spot where we fit in our last church isn’t the best fit for us in the new church. Maybe the role we want to have is currently filled, or not even a current role. Sometimes we may get into a position and find out that we don’t fit well with those around us.
Finding your place isn’t an exact science and very rarely happens easily or on the first try! As individuals, we must persevere until we find where God wants to use us. As a group, we must help others to find their place. Like pieces of a puzzle, those of us who are already connected must have open sections to receive others who need to fit in. Some of us serve as the “structure” – the outer edges that give shape. Others of us have unique patterns that display the picture that God is painting. Still others serve as background – we fill a hole or show a subtle variation in the art. And some of us are shaped in such a way that we know we are there to fit in one, and only one, specific place.
So don’t give up! It may take trying several places before you find your “fit,” but EVERYONE fits somewhere in the Body of Christ! Three things we can do to find our place: PRAY, PERSEVERE, PLUG IN!
GM:  I am so grateful for Susan’s willingness to share this event idea with us.  Sometimes, as leaders, we forget that there are women who want to serve or who are looking for the place they fit in the church.  These women may be waiting for someone to invite them to serve, since they don’t know what ministries exist in the church or which ones are in need of additional help.  By having an event that introduces women in the church to ministries where they can serve, we help facilitate a connection between person and place to serve.  A woman may also even be inspired to start a new ministry, should she see that we have a “hole” in the areas we are serving.  Thank you so much, Susan!
SW:  Thank you for asking!

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