Rest & Retreat Event, Part 2

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There is a difference between Rest and Retreat.  Both are valuable, both help us to feel refueled, and both will bring peace.  Equally important, but for different reasons and purposes.

Resting is when we shed the world, quiet our bodies, and allow them to be still.  Whether it’s sitting in our favorite chair, reading a good book, or sliding into the comfort of our bed for a night of sleep; rest is something our bodies need.  God, spent six days on His creation… not missing a single detail, on the seventh day He rested.  Then in His wisdom, He called His people to rest on the seventh day, remembering the Sabbath and keeping it Holy.  He knew that His people needed rest.

Rest is good for our bodies, it is where our bodies repair and our minds find reprieve.  If I am going too hard, too fast, I can’t find moments to be still in God.  When I fail to create margin in my life, I become stressed and overwhelmed.  All of which affect our bodies, minds, and emotions negatively.  We burn out.  This is why Moses’ Father-in-Law came to him and advises him to find men who could help him with the little things, otherwise leading the nation would be too much.  We were never mean to carry our burdens alone.

As ministry leaders, rest is something we need to factor into our schedule.  It isn’t wise to jam pack the year full of one big activity after another.  You will burn out yourself, your team, and even the women you serve.  Follow larger events with something more simple, plan rest.  We also want to make sure we are not stacking up highly emotional events on top of one another.  We need to allow our women time to recuperate their minds and hearts.  When we plan women’s retreats and conference trips, we need to make sure that we schedule in times of rest where the women can breathe and process what they have been learning.  Not planning events into the late evening and then expecting the women to be up bright and early the next day.  Rest is important, and we need to include it in our plan.

Rest is very passive, you are moving from action to stillness.  Retreating is different because it is active… when we retreat we are moving from one thing to another.  In it’s base definition, retreating is leaving danger for safety.  The Scriptures refer to God as our rock, refuge, shelter, fortress, and protector.  We retreat from the fallen world into the safety of God.

We may retreat into God daily through reading the Bible, praying, or doing studies.  It could be stepping away from the hustle and bustle of your day, and popping by the beach or going for a hike to connect with God’s in a slower pace.  Retreat is something that is reactive.  When we feel pressure, or the world closing in on us, our natural response is to flee from it.  But, retreat is also something that can be purposeful.

getawayWe can plan retreat time into our day, by carving out a set time that we connect with God directly and intentionally.  Or, it can be particular day set aside each month where you chose to immerse yourself in Him.  For some of us, we could accomplish this in our homes.  However, that isn’t always possible (depending on your home circumstances) and you may find it is better to actually plan a day or weekend away.  In Letitia Suk’s book, Getaways with God, she shares her own experiences of Personal Retreats and outlines various options for planning your own personal retreat.

I’ve never taken a personal retreat for myself.  This past year, I was arriving to a conference a day early and trying to determine what to do with my time.  Shortly before the trip, I had read Getaways with God, and decided this was a perfect opportunity to have a mini personal retreat.  Once pulled away from my normal life, distraction free, I was able to really take a look at myself and life.  During this time God revealed things that I was ignoring and needed to address.  I was able to unload a lot of things, as I journaled and prayed.  I was emptied of all the junk I had been carrying around, and that left me ready to receive and filled back up by the speakers at the conference.     ~Gena McCown

As Ministry Leaders, we need to encourage our women to retreat into God on a regular basis.  When planning Women’s Retreats for your church, find the balance between giving her time to rest but also intentionally retreating into God.  Something to consider:

  • Set the Standard:  Model for the women in your church the importance of scheduling both rest and retreat into your life.  Share how this benefits you, and encourage these habits in others.
  • Schedule in Rest:  When planning events, make sure to give your team and women rest after.  When heading off to large conferences, consider adding an extra day before or after to allow the women to rest.  When planning your own Women’s Retreat, be sure to not overschedule the women.  Give them opportunities to have a good night of sleep and downtime throughout the weekend to rest, or pull away and spend one on one time with God.
  • Team Retreats:  When planning your ministry year, considering pulling away and retreating together into God.  A Team Retreat that pulls our focus off the world and into the Kingdom, can help us build a ministry calendar that reflects God’s heart and vision for the ministry direction over our own or influenced by others.  

The holidays are always full of activities and our schedules are jam packed with things to do.  In the spirit of Rest & Retreat, and in thanks to Kregel Publications, we reserved one copy of Letitia Suk’s book for an online giveaway!  Couldn’t we all use some alone time with God?  Maybe we are not sure what that looks like?  Getaways with God includes samples schedules for retreats, ideas on what to pack, and more.

To Enter:

  • Comment on this article, our Facebook page, or mention us on Social Media
  • Use the Hashtags:  #GetawaysWithGod and #WoMinCouncil
  • One entry per comment, you have unlimited opportunities to enter!
  • All comments/entries must be made by 11:59pm EST on 12/4/2017
  • One random entry will win a copy of Letitia Suk’s book Getaways with God, 2018 Calendar, and Journal.
  • Winner announced 10am EST on 12/5/2017

Rest & Retreat Event, Part 1 of 2

 

The Women’s Ministry Council ended our 2017 year meeting in a new location.  CareNet Pregnancy Services of the Treasure Coast has opened up their new facility as hosts for the WMC meetings in 2018.  This is a blessing for us, and an answer to prayer.  We are so excited about this partnership and to be able to bring our leaders through the doors of CareNet and see how they serve the women in our community.

We were also blessed to be joined by Rozanne Brown of CareBag and Kenya Reinhard from 4Kids Treasure Coast, as guest speakers.

CareBag is a non-profit organization that serves the homeless in the Treasure Coast, as well as helping those transitioning from homelessness into housing.  What WMC loves about Carebag is not only that they are serving the least of these in our area, but it’s not just about giving them provisions but helping to restore dignity.   CareBag is currently fundraising for a mobile shower truck, that would be made available to our “neighbors without walls”.  Being about to shower isn’t just about being clean, but also about lifting up one’s mood.  Who doesn’t feel better after a good shower?  In addition, it allows these residents of our community to be presentable for job interviews as they try to stabilize their lives.  Please visit CareBag’s site to learn more about how you can help with the fundraising project, volunteer when CareBag serves out in the field, or other ways you can support the good work being done in our community.

Partner with CareBag as a Women’s Ministry by:

  • Follow CareBag’s Facebook Page for any immediate needs that can be met.
  • Host a collection drive for supplies that can go into CareBag’s that are delivered to the community.
  • Hold a fundraiser at your next Women’s Ministry event toward the Mobile Shower Unit.
  • Talk with your Pastor about financially supporting CareBag.
  • Volunteer in the community with CareBag as a ministry team.

4Kids Treasure Coast serves our foster community by connecting children with foster parents, support for those who are fostering, and those who move from fostering to adoption.  As they partner with churches, they are also able to create a network of support within the church as families open their homes to foster children.  Frankly, we need more Foster Families in the Treasure Coast.  4Kids is raising awareness on how we can all support this need.  You can become a Foster Family, donate toward building and equipping Foster Homes and Facilities, and also by supporting the Foster Families in your church (or encouraging more families to consider fostering).  For more information on becoming a Foster Family, or how to introduce fostering to your church… please visit 4Kids Treasure Coast’s site.

Partner with 4Kids Treasure Coast as a Women’s Ministry by:

  • Volunteering at the 4Kids offices stuffing information folders, mailers, and general needs.
  • Host a collection drive for items that foster children/families may need.
  • Fundraise toward the costs of building and equipping 4Kids Homes.
  • Create a stack of prayer cards for 4Kids to pass on to the children, foster parents.
  • Become a liaison in your church coordinating support for your foster family needs.  What a great position to add to your Women’s Ministry Team!

We’d like to thank Kregel Publications for donating copies of Letitia Suk’s book, Getaways with God, for our drawing prizes.  

Tomorrow, Tuesday, come back to the site for a recap on the remained of our “Rest & Retreat” event and information on how you too could win a copy of Getaways with God!

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Thanksgiving Week!

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Women’s Ministry Council is spending this week with our families in preparation and celebration of Thanksgiving Day.

When we return on Monday…

We’ll begin with our recap of the WMC “Rest & Retreat” event.

There will be a special give away of Letitia Suk’s book “Getaway with God” from Kregel Publications.

Then, we will finish out the year with our series on Characteristics of Godly Leaders.

Enjoy this time with your families.

❤ WMC

Characteristics of Godly Leaders: REPROACH

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What does it mean to be above reproach?  For the longest time, I thought that it meant that leaders were in an untouchable space.  To be a leader meant that you were not to be criticized at all.  I interpreted the wording akin to “above the law”.  People who think they are above the law do not believe they are held accountable for their actions and decisions.

Over the years, I have learned that I was not alone in that interpretation.  In fact, quite a few people understand it to mean the same.

Several years ago, I had an opportunity to take a college class on Christian leadership that broke down these requirements, in 1 Timothy 3, for the Office of the Overseer.  The way it was explained to me was that being above reproach was not suggesting that we as leaders were part of an untouchable group.  Instead, it meant that our behavior should be such that there would be no need for reproach.  In other words, that our integrity and reputation should hold weight against any accusations thrown our way.  So that, anyone who hears them would dismiss them immediately.

We all know that is impossible for even the best leaders to live perfectly, we are all human and humans make mistakes.  But when our character’s good attributes weigh so heavy, our mistakes are accepted as such versus a character flaw.

If you are a person who always keeps your promises, and you slip up and forget once… you are going to receive grace over that mistake because it is the exception and not the norm.

In an ideal world, being above reproach should be enough.  But not always.  The key here is that if you are accused by one person, the majority of people will disregard it because they know you to be a leader of integrity.  Part of that integrity is owning up to your mistakes before you need to be called out on them, and making them right before you are asked to.

If you have made an error that requires rebuke or correction, if you have behaved in a way that is met with disapproval, or speak in a manner that is disappointing… and you deal with it head on, accepting responsibility, correcting your course, or making amends; you are behaving in a manner that is above reproach.  Rarely are people disappointed and disapproving of a leader who admits when they are wrong, and moves forward in a spirit of reconciliation or correction.  In fact, it often adds to your character.

To be above reproach means that you take your role seriously, and you understand the gravity of the position you have been trusted with.  You lead with integrity and honesty.

 

What in the Word does it say about Friendships? {Sheila Thomas}

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Friendships. Are you satisfied with yours? It has been my experience while working in women’s ministries, that a lot of women seem very unhappy in their friendships.

If I asked you with whom do you like to hang out, what would be your answer? Who are your best friends? What do you like to do with them? What do you like about that person? What does your friendship with that person do for YOU? Or better yet, what is the friendship doing for HER? Are you benefiting from each other?

Do you have friends to hang out with and just be yourself? Can you just laugh and speak your mind? Or are you guarded, appearing shallow and afraid to share your thoughts?

Do you shy away from large groups of women? Or do you like to “hide” in a large group of women because you’re afraid to be in a one-on-one friendship? Are you afraid of being real? Do you think that if your friends really know you, they won’t want to be friends with you?

Do you long to have better friendships? Are your friendships real or are they shallow and “surface-y”? (Hmmmm…That IS a word, right?! Oh well. You’ll have to understand that I’m good at making up my own words. Ha!)

How can we have good friendships with other women? Does the Word of God talk about this?

When thinking about what to write for my next article, I began to feel directed to the topic of friendships among women.

Friendships are a very important part of our life. Some are casual, some close, and still others more intimate. We all long to have at least one friend with whom we can be real.

George Eliot wrote:

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

I love that quote. Mr. Eliot knew what he was talking about.

First let me tell you a little about myself. Growing up, I had close friends for seasons in my life. My father was a preacher, so I lived in four different towns growing up. I would develop good friendships with a few girls in most of those places, but then after moving away, most of those friendships would dwindle away and new ones would develop.

Then in High School I became friends with a girl who has remained my best friend for all these years. We have had a special relationship that has developed more and more special.

We both had three children each, who were close in age to each other. For many years, we lived in the same town and went to the same church. We shared so much together. For years, we had one day a week in which we would go shopping, take craft classes together, and go to lunch. We made this a priority – we made sure that unless our children were sick or our husband off work, we did it.

We no longer live close to each other, but we still make the effort to be together as often as possible. We schedule visits to each others homes. We schedule long phone chats. We text back and forth. We are really and truly more like sisters. She is the sister I never had. I thank God for her!

Because of this relationship, people have asked us how did it happen, saying how unusual it is and how blessed we are. It began to sink in to both of us how truly rare it is. It gave me pause for thought. Hmmm…how DID it happen?

So let me share with you a little of what I know about good friendships, how to acquire and maintain them and be a great friend yourself.

Some women have said that they can’t seem to get a friendship like that. They say that women aren’t that friendly to them. Or if they thought they were getting a close friend, invariably the friend would suddenly distance themselves, or break a trust, or shut them out of the “circle”, or move away.

Some women have been so hurt by their friends, that they argue repeatedly with this little voice that says, “Don’t build new friendships – life has a demolition crew around every corner!”

But we can’t be that way. We have to be brave, vulnerable and trust again. Real friendship is resilient, being made strong by commitment, creativity, caring and sharing.

I believe that in order to have a friend, we have to make ourselves friendly. We can’t sit over on the sidelines watching and hoping that someone will come over and become our best friend. Why would anyone want to establish a relationship with someone who looks dejected, bored, and having a major “pity party”? We have to make the first step.

Then we have to realize that not everyone we try to establish a friendship with is going to “click”. So we must remember to not take things personally and get our feelings hurt, but get up and move on to another one. Certainly life’s experiences, chemistry, etc., go into making close friendships. And usually close friendships are not developed over night. They grow in time.

In order for this to happen, you must choose to spend time together. Go shopping, take a craft class, or go out to eat together. Find out what interests you have in common.

In getting to know this person better, most likely there will come a time in which you may become irritated or hurt by something they say or do. In this, you must be forgiving. See their heart. Think the best of them. Learn to let go of hurts. Be powerful, not pitiful.

There are 7 things from Proverbs 3 and 4 I believe will make us the friend we need to be. If we attain these 7 things, then we will attract great friends.

For illustration purposes, I’m going to call them by name as if they were friends. Let me introduce you to them.

  1. Lady Love – She shows love to all her other lady friends, always thinking of them, not always thinking of herself and what someone did to her.

  1. Lady Loyalty –She is always loyal to others, never breaking their trust. She keeps a closed mouth when told things in confidence! This is a “biggy”!

  1. & 4. Lady Wisdom and Madame Insight – They go hand in hand together. Proverbs 3 says that friendship with them is worth far more than money in the bank, better than a big salary, and nothing you could wish for holds a candle to them. They offer long life, their manner is beautiful, their lives wonderfully complete. Who wouldn’t want them for a friend?

  1. Madame Understanding – Of course, we get this from God. In Proverbs 4, it says that understanding will make our life glorious, she will garland our life with grace, make our days beautiful, and add years to our life. Who would not want to be friends with her?

  1. & 7. Lady Clear Thinking and Madame Common Sense – They also go hand in hand. Proverbs 3 also says that they will keep your soul (mind, will and emotions) alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive, you’ll have safety, sleep well at night, have no need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner, because God will be right there with you if these ladies are with you!

One added bit of advice from Proverbs 4:23 – 24: “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.”

Ultimately, God is the best friend we can have and best example of a friend. He is always there for us, never fails us, always loves us, and always does good things for us. Earthly friends may fail us, but He never does!

If we concentrate on being the kind of friend we wish we had, then we’ll attract those kinds of friendships. And when life brings on changes in those friends’ lives, we need to “go with the flow” and be understanding. If we will refrain from concentrating on “our hurt”, whining about how they are treating us, be kind and loving and overlook their faults, be there for them when they want us and need us, the friendship will thrive!

Take the risk! Get out of your comfort zone. Open up with other women. Also be a good listener. Friendships go both ways. Remember to not make the friendship only about yourself. Take down the walls. You may be pleasantly surprised. It’s worth it.

The Miracle of Friendship

(Author Unknown)

There’s a miracle called friendship

That dwells within the heart,

And you don’t know how it happens

Or how it gets its start…

But the happiness it brings you

Always gives a special lift,

And you realize that friendship

Is God’s most precious gift!

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Leading Well Starts With My Character

Screenshot-2017-11-6 InstagramWhat does it mean to be a leader?  If leadership is directly related to our character, then we can begin to dig through the Word and learn what God has to say about leadership characteristics.

We are going to begin to explore those characteristics over the rest of 2017.  That seems HUGE but remember, 2017 is almost over.  Plus, we will still have our regular contributors Jenny Andrews and Aimee Nelson providing leadership devotionals.  Sheila Thomas and Trish Jones will also continue to contribute to our teaching from the Word.  Make sure to like our page on Facebook so that you can keep track of new posts.