What in the Word: Introducing Sheila

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We are really excited to get a start on these on going series, and this is the final introduction of our new contributors.  Sheila Thomas will be joining Trish Jones on our scriptural study series: What in the Word!  Take a moment to get to know Sheila a little better.

Let me begin by saying in my most southern voice, “Hey, Y’all!” Those of you who know me, know that I speak very southern. Even my kids make fun of me. Haha! But that’s okay.

I have been on a journey in life of trying to break free from people “please-itis”. Trust me, it’s a curse! Worrying all the time about what somebody’s thinking of me is 100% bondage. But due to my personality, on top of the fact that I was raised in a pastor’s home, I got a very good dose of that disease! But I digress. Let me formally introduce myself first.

When I was invited to be on the team for the Women’s Ministry Council, I felt very honored. For many years I have loved working with women, so this just felt right. As one of my responsibilities, I have been given the honor of writing monthly for our website. My heart leaped inside about this because another one of my passions is writing. But first let me tell you a little about myself.

I was born in South Carolina while my parents were attending Bible College.  Upon their graduation, they moved to Alabama, where they had been born and raised, for my daddy to pastor a church.  When I was 11 years old, once again we moved. This time to Hobe Sound, Florida for my parents to join the faculty at Hobe Sound Bible College, with my daddy later becoming the pastor of Hobe Sound Bible Church as well. 

After graduating from High School, I went on to earn a BA in Music, majoring in piano, with a minor in voice.  I have spent my adult life as a voice and piano instructor. I also spent many years as church pianist, soloist, choir and praise band director, as well as Director of Women’s Ministry and a mentor with MOPS and the public elementary school.  I have also been the guest speaker and soloist at women’s retreats. Having been a licensed realtor in the state of Florida, I also spent several years in real estate.

I have been married to my husband, Orlan, for 45 years, (Yes, I got married as a baby!) and we have three grown children and ten grandchildren. We homeschooled our children for 12 years. That was such a joy and honor. My family is my utmost fulfillment and pleasure. I LOVED being “Mommy” and adding the title, “Nana”, was over the top fabulous!

Some of my passionate topics to speak on are worship, mothering, friendships among women, personal development/growth, and the journey of deliverance from the bondage of legalism. I look forward to chatting with you here on these and other topics as well.

Lest you think my life sounds perfect, let me assure you that it has NOT been that way at all. I have had my share (and sometimes I felt like I had more than my share) of hard times in life. God has brought me through some very difficult times. Some things I’ve lived to tell about are the early death of my sweet and precious daddy, heart break over close family members and close friends, struggling with chronic health issues, extreme financial difficulties, etc. But God has grown sweeter and sweeter as I have learned to trust His love for me. Learning that He is indeed a good and loving Father as changed my whole life.

So I look forward to sharing some more moments with you here. Until then, have a blessed day. Breathe. Take one moment at a time. Live IN THAT MOMENT! Don’t miss ANYTHING in life. Get out of your comfort zone. Open your eyes and see the beauty. There is much to enjoy!

Love and Blessings,

Sheila Thomas

Leading Ladies Series: Introducing Jenny

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My name is Jenny Andrews (Big Crow), I have heard the saying that to understand a person and what they do you should first understand where they came from and their past so I will start there.

When I was 13 years old growing up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation I encountered a heartbreaking situation that gave me the desire to help others. It was in the middle of winter when my family and I drove past an unconscious man on the side of the road. He was in, White Clay, Nebraska a small town next to my reservation that sells mostly alcohol and groceries. I begged my step father and mother to turn around and go back to check on the man. They did and the man seemed frozen. I got out of the car and went to cover him with my coat. I called 911 and they came with an ambulance to rescue this man. The paramedics told me that the man shows signs of hypothermia and that they were grateful I called them. As I stood by the ambulance, and watched them load the man, he stopped and looked me in the eyes with tears, he said, “Thank you! If you didn’t stop I would be dead.” I will never forget that look in the man’s eyes and how I made a difference in his life. At that moment in my life I knew I wanted to help people.

My experiences growing up on the poorest reservation in American exposed me to alcohol, drugs, and violence at a young age which was very challenging. However, in the spring of 2006, I had a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, which changed me from the inside out, and I knew that I wanted to help people the same way I helped that man so many years ago. Although, I want to help people physically, my uttermost desire is to provide an eternal impact on people’s lives. I begin college and ministry work as a result.

I graduated with my BBA in accounting in hopes that my education will help me make an impact for those around me through my knowledge and gifts of accounting. I am pursued this degree to gain knowledge in business and finance to prepare myself for ministry in nonprofit organizations. Currently, I work part-time at my church as the Financial Administrator. I also trained under a one-year discipleship program that provided me with a solid base of practical and theological training in biblical studies and church planting. Through this program I earned a Certification in Practical Theology which I use to help others grow.

I started a women’s discipleship ministry over 6 years ago that has grown into a great mentoring ministry within our church body.  The ministry had such a profound impact that the men started the ministry as well. I equip women in the ministry to fulfill their callings as disciple-makers and to encourage other women to embrace their callings in discipleship.  This ministry has taught me a lot about myself and others. I do training meeting with other churches who would like to begin a One to One mentoring program in their churches.  

I have taught others to study the bible for over 10 years. I enjoy teaching women how to study the word of God thus a passion to see women grow has been my life calling. I encourage and equip women to study the word so they can see who they are in Christ and rightly divide truth. I love teaching but I also love learning and growing in my relationship with Christ.

 I am a public speaker and use my gifts to bless others with the wisdom and knowledge that the Lord has given me. I spoke on the radio, at conferences and just about anywhere the Lord will open a door for me to use my gift. I also do mission work to Native American reservations across America teaching women and children about Jesus. I desire to see my people be set free in Christ and for them to know they are created for a reason.

The role that is most important to me is being the wife to Neil Sr and the mother to 3 handsome boys, Elijah, Neil Jr and Malachi. I love my family and strive to live godly as a wife and mother.  I am blessed daily to be with my children. They make me proud.

While all of this is great I consistently strive to stay humble because I know where I can from and the brokenness I had before I met Jesus. I am a work in progress but I am Jesus’ work in progress and He is doing a great job at refining me into the woman He has called me to be. It is an ugly process at times and can even make me want to give up some days but He is faithful to me through it all.  My prayer is that over the next few months you will see that I am just your average woman wanting to walk out my faith the best way I know how to. I am looking forward to sharing my heart with you women.

Qualifying the Called by Aimee Nelson

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If I only had a few minutes to tell you about who I am, this is what it would be, my snapchat version, here goes.
I’m God’s girl. Adopted twice. Wife to a Pastor. Mother. Mi-Mi. Writer. Speaker. Mentor. Homeschooler. I love God’s word, a nice pair of shoes, and anything that will bring encouragement.
That was the quick version, now let me give you the real deal.
I’m a preacher’s kid born and raised right here in West Palm Beach. My father was the founder and senior pastor of a local church in the heart of the city. I grew up front row piano side.
A lot of who I am is because of how I was raised and the family God placed me in. That’s a really loaded statement. Never-the-less Growing up in the church gave me a foundation in the faith and that sustained me when I wondered away. I know firsthand that God makes “broken beautiful”!
Growing up a Preachers kid, I had no idea how much that would impact life. Little did I know that ironing handkerchief’s and helping my dad study for his sermon on a Saturday night was preparation for the role I’m serving in right now. This wasn’t my plan. I’m living proof He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies whom He calls
I’m married to Daryl also known as “Mr. Incredible”. His love for Jesus and me, is a huge reason I am who I am. I’m the mother to four amazing children, two adults and married and two elementary aged. Yeah about that aged gap………that’s another post! I have three incredible grandchildren who I adore and I happen to think they are cutest ever. I love my family. What God has given me testifies to the fact that He “Restores and Redeems”.

 

I am a sinner saved by grace, and I’m grateful for that. I’m amazed at His love for me. The fact that He didn’t need me but He wanted me takes my breathe away. He chose me and that makes me His Girl!
Everyday I’m learning to trust God’s plan for my life and walk out the purpose He has for me. My prayer is that I can be an encouragement to others along the way.
I’m dedicated to helping women live their life on purpose. With over 20 years of experience as a mom, mentor, and pastor’s wife.  I’m passionate about teaching women how to discover their significance in God and His specific purpose for their life, connect
biblical principles to everyday decisions and helping them to influence the next generation.
I pray that as I share what God has shown me it would be a blessing to you and others. It was nice meeting you, I’ll see you on the journey!!
———– About Aimee Nelson
Aimee ministers alongside of her pastor, husband, at Calvary Chapel of the Palm Beaches. She is the Founder and Executive Director of YouMom. Her priority ministry is to her husband, her two adult children their spouses, her two school aged children and
her three grandchildren!

Building Better Budgets

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No one likes talking about budgets.  Well, I shouldn’t say no one, because some people actually do.  I fall somewhere in the middle.  I don’t really want to talk budgets, but I respect the value of a budget.  Budgets give us parameters.  This is what I have, and then as a team we decide how we are going to use it.  Budgets make decisions for us, either we have enough money or we don’t.  Budgets move us, either we are given the ability to dream big… or we are given the motivation to think creatively.

Budgets are parameters, but they are not without compromise.  If you have too much money in the budget, you can get really creative or use those funds to bless another ministry.  If you have too little you can fundraise the difference, to meet your needs.

But what happens if you have zero budget?  You’ve requested, or been told, that there are no funds for your ministry… then what?  It may be tempting to think that no budget is a finite answer, but I would disagree.  I believe there is compromise even in the NO.

A lifetime ago, when I was working in retail, something I was taught was that very rarely is NO a permanent answer.  In most cases, NO really translates into “no, now now”.  This may not be the right time, I may not have the additional funds available, I may be too distracted to consider this opportunity, etc.

The response of NO to getting a ministry budget, doesn’t mean that your church or overseeing organization is unwilling or unable to give at all.  It doesn’t mean you can’t present your request for a specific item, training, or resource.  Particularly if this is something that can benefit the whole church.

Your church may say no to an annual ministry budget because they do not see the need to provide funds for ongoing potluck brunches.  But, if you were to ask for funds to specifically start up a discipleship program for the women… that may get one time support.

You may not be getting funds because you have failed to show how the funds are being used.  Maybe the finance committee members don’t understand that even a potluck brunch can have an expense of $100 or more.

In July, our local WMC Training event will cover the topics of budgets and fundraising.  We hope you can make it.  If not, look forward to more on the topic of Building Better Budgets after the training event.  We will also post direct links to resources, and share some of our favorite fundraising suggestions.

Pieces and Parts by Trish Jones

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As someone who will be a regular contributor to this column, I felt it would be helpful if I introduced myself.

And then I ran into a real problem: which part of me do I introduce?

Which part of you? What does that mean? How many “parts” do you have?

Honest question. Honest answer? Many. Just like you. Some are easier than others to reveal.

Great-grandmother. (Yep. Trust me, I’m old enough to be one.) Business Administrator at my church. Women’s ministry leader. Prayer ministry leader. Serious Bible student and teacher. Board member of Care Net Pregnancy Services . Member of the leadership team of Women’s Ministry Council. Avid reader. Writer. Former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor. Theologically Reformed. Some call me a miracle after God pulled me back from near death a couple of years ago. Some (who may not know me as well as they think they do) label me as “wise; discerning; outgoing; compassionate.”

So. Are you perhaps just a tad impressed? Hmmph. Don’t be. Here are some other labels that have defined me: preacher’s daughter who spent a lot of years telling God to go away and leave me alone; that I’d do things my way, thank you very much. Didn’t much like him, or at the very least, didn’t understand how he worked in human lives.

And I certainly didn’t like his people. Hurtful hypocrites, every one of them. Some of them even chased me out of a church when a pastor felt it was necessary to share my confessed, sinful past (key word: “past”) with his wife, who felt it beneficial to pass along a “prayer request” to her best friends, who found it juicy enough to pass it along to other acquaintances – well, you can guess how that turned out.

A more difficult label: sexually promiscuous – before, during and after marriage. Hurting, lonely, rejected, looking for love in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways. My great ambition when I was young was to be a wife and mother, and I had always wanted four children. I miscarried one; aborted two; gave birth to one. Four babies – four fathers.

Consummate actress (in other words, “hypocrite”) and liar, controller and manipulator. Loner. Lots of acquaintances; no close friends. Glutton. Critical and mean-spirited. Two-pack-a-day smoker for over 30 years. (I’ve been known to teach a home study with a Bible in one hand and a cigarette in the other.)

What’s the point of all that self-revelation? So I can more effectively introduce the real me. Trish Jones: redeemed, justified, beloved and reconciled by and to a Holy God. In union with his Son and my King, the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s a mouthful – of Grace. As the Apostle Paul hammers home in his letters to the scattered churches of his day, I am in Christ – and he is in me. Extraordinary grace – and truth.

I am passionate about Jesus and making him known; deeply concerned about the lack of Biblical literacy in our western churches and individual lives; and painfully aware of the hurts, fears and questions that so many of us women hide behind our smiling faces on a Sunday morning.

Thus the reason behind my rather blunt self-introduction: I’m a real person, just like you. I have a broken, sinful past – just like you. I battle besetting sins; I struggle with the ongoing tension between God’s amazing grace and God’s requirement for holy living; I have personal concerns about finances and health; I have painful and fractured family relationships; and I have an absolutely guaranteed and glorious future that gets closer every day.

So. In coming columns, as you (hopefully) read my writings about (at least part of) what God is teaching me through his Word, you will know you are sharing the thoughts of a real person. Not a woman perched on some ivory tower somewhere, but a woman down in the trenches of this daily, difficult, nitty-gritty life, right alongside you. I’ve probably been in those trenches longer than most of you, so perhaps our Lord can use me to both encourage and exhort you in your own hand-to-hand combat with the world, the flesh, and the devil (Ephesians 2:2,3).

That’s my prayer – and my purpose. Discipleship. Coming along beside other women to lend a listening ear, an understanding heart, and a helping hand through walking in the Spirit and the Word – together.

The next time we are together in this column (if I haven’t totally scared you off) we will be looking at Colossians 1:27-29 – a few declarations of the Apostle Paul that lay out the purpose, ways and means of discipleship. I hope you’ll join me. In the meantime – Abide.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact me at TRISH JONES

Do You Need a WMC?

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Over the last three years, the WMC has been developing a ministry model that brings together Women’s Ministry Leaders in the community, provides group training, and direct services to ministries in need.  Our goal has always been to prove out a ministry concept that is reproducible, and see local Women’s Ministry Councils pop up in more cities.  Why?

1.  We recognize that the majority of resources and materials are out dated.

2.  We recognize that the mission of Women’s Ministry has been evolving into something new, and we need new resources and tools to help us all grow with that evolution.

3.  We recognize that there is no formal training available in the church, or outside, for Women’s Ministry Leaders and their teams.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and what we have lacked in support for our locl leaders has been met with the dedicated ministry leaders who have become part of the backbone of the Women’s Ministry Council’s Board of Directors.  Now, we are ready to take the next step we have been building up to.

* Do you have a desire to reach across the table and bringing local leaders from various churches in your community together, created an engaged and united ministry front?

* Do you believe that the women who are leading ministries in your church are in need of support and encouragement?

*  Do you see a void in leadership training and feel called to help equip leaders in your church and the churches in your community?

If you answer yes to those questions, then perhaps the Lord is calling you to join us in the ministry endeavor, and begin a Women’s Ministry Council in your area.

As we are in the beginning process of developing the roll out materials we are looking for FIVE LOCAL LEADERS across the country to help us with this process.  You will not only start up your own WMC in your area, but will be integral in helping us design the roll out program.  We desire your input, questions, suggestions, and perspective.  These are BETA Groups that will be started up and refined before the official program is released nationally.

If you are interested in starting a BETA GROUP, please fill out the contact information below.  You will receive a questionnaire to complete and your application will be reviewed by our Board of Directors.