A Common Identity

A CommonIdentity

This past weekend, at a women’s event, one of the Ice Breakers was all about our identity in Christ and how we introduce ourselves to the world.  The Women’s Ministry Leader selected Paul’s introduction of himself from Romans 1:1…

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God

It reminded me of something I read about our identity in Christ, as women.  First and foremost, we connect as a family of believers… sisters in Christ.  When we introduce ourselves based on this identity, we are Christian women.  Secondly, once Paul identified himself as a servant of Christ, he identified his purpose.  Which was an apostle who was called to share the gospel.   Once we know WHO we are, daughters of the King, we can then begin to share the rest of the details of our life.

Now, let’s apply this to our ministry.  What is our common identity?

We are Local Community Church, servants of God in our community.

We are The Women’s Ministry, servants of God to women in our church and community.

We are Community Non-Profit, a Christian agency that serves our community’s needs.

  • Common Identity #1 = WE.  We establishes a community, family.
  • Common Identity #2 = Church / Ministry.  These words establish that the community we are part of is faith based.  For an organization, once you have stated your name you can move into including that it is a Christian agency/group.

How we introduce ourselves as a group creates a clear identification of who we are collectively, what our community is, and through this people we encounter should feel like it is a welcoming community.  Body language, the words we use, the way we speak will make a difference.

We are essentially repeating what Paul said in Romans 1:1.  We’ve just replaced Paul’s name with our church, ministry, or organization’s name.

The rest of our introduction will help the person identify what our purpose is, and this is where the descriptions begin to vary.

Thursday, we will discuss how the ways in which we differ are also valuable in our Kingdom purpose.

Hospitality to Pastors & their Families

Naima

If you have been a member of a church for any length of time, you will have experienced the welcoming of a new Pastor or staff member to your church.   A Pastor search is such a process that for many of us we are as relieved as we are excited about welcoming this new person or family into our body of believers.  For the incoming Pastor and family, this could have been a long road too, waiting for God to guide their steps to your door.  Excitement and anxiousness combined, they are walking into a family of believers that they barely know.

My sister in Christ, co-laborer in the faith, Naima Johnston-Bush and her husband answered such a call.  They packed up their house in Florida and set off for Leesville First Assembly of God, in Kingdom service.  To my joy, on a Monday morning, I woke up to this picture and her words:

Naima

Our first Sunday at our new church and the ladies Ministry gave me an old fashioned “pounding”. They pounded me with God’s love and blessed our home with lots of great cleaning supplies, canned goods and boxed items. I won’t need cleaning supplies for the next six months.   ~Naima Johnston-Bush

First, I just want to shout out to the Women’s Ministry at Leesville for welcoming a family so beautifully.  Thank you for the love you showered on my friend.

Second, when I saw this picture… knowing we were heading into the topic of hospitality… I immediately asked permission to share.  THIS is such a wonderful way to display hospitality to new Pastors, Staff Members, and their families.

In all of my years in the church, I’ve seen plenty of people showered with gifts as they were leaving.  Moves, retirements, volunteers called into fulltime ministry or missions elsewhere, etc. have been opportunities to thank people for dedicated service to our church body and an encouragement and provision for those stepping out in faith.

I am not sure I’ve ever seen this kind of outpouring on someone who was coming into the body.  It may be possible things like this were done quietly among the existing staff members, gift cards and helping unpack.  In this occasion, it was the Women’s Ministry who stepped up and said how can we bless this new home?

It brought me to question how do we as Women’s Ministries let the women who are leading in our churches know that we appreciate them?  But also, ask myself, are we doing a good job welcoming in the wives and children that packed up everything and walked away from their friends and family in order to follow their husband’s call in to ministry?

For the last several years, I have participated in a group of Pastor’s wives (even though I am not one) in order to have a better understanding of how ministry affects the wives and family of Pastors.  I’m so thankful that the group welcomed me in, even though I’m not a PW… because it has been eye opening.

When I hear their stories, the good… bad… and the ugly… I just know that we could be doing a better job.

So, whether you want to share here … or talk among your Women’s Ministry teams, let’s ask and discuss the following questions:

  1.  Are we showing hospitality to our Pastor and Staff wives?
  2. How do we welcome in a new Pastor and his family?  What could we do, if we are not currently doing anything?
  3. What does hospitality for these women look like long term, once they are settled or have been in the fold for years?

Good hospitality makes a person not only feel welcomed through the doors, but that we are wanted to stay for the long term.  It shows a person they are seen, loved, and makes them feel cared for.  We minister to their spirit, their hearts, their minds, and even their households when we love well.

LeadHer Conference, Are You the One?

LHCwidget

 

For the first time ever, we are planning a conference geared for women who are serving in ministry leadership.  These are small group leaders, MOPS group leaders, Women’s Ministry leaders, and more.

Statistically these are women who are volunteering to serve their churches, they are not paid staff members.  Additionally, in most cases these are ministries that receive very small budgets if any.

When we decided to host this conference, it was our goal to create an event that would:

1.  Let these leaders know that their work and efforts are appreciated, and do not go unnoticed.

2.  To put on an educational event that would not only refresh their spirits, but also educate them with information and tools that they can bring back to their ministry work.

3.  To create an event that would connect ministry leaders across denominational lines, where we all rise up together as co-laborers.

4.  Consist of a speaking team that was as diverse at the women we serve.

Recognizing that many of these women would be paying out of their own pockets, we also committed to make the event as affordable as possible.   Within the price range we set, $69 we secured our location… basic event materials… simple decor… and lunch included.  Our speaker team has generously donated their time.

However there are special things we would like these leaders to take back to their churches and ministry that will help them in to the long term.  We have negotiated special prices with vendors (60% off!) but we still need to raise the funds to cover those discounted costs.

If you are a supporter of women who serve in the church, have been a woman who led in the church and wishes you would have had access to such an event, or you have a business/organization that would like to officially support our event at a level you can afford… please consider giving to this campaign.

We will be sure to acknowledge any one who supported this event publicly, unless you choose to give anonymously.  At which point we will still acknowledge our anonymous givers collectively.

REGISTER:   www.LeadHerConference.com

SPONSOR:  https://leadherconference.com/sponsorship/

SUPPORT:  https://www.gofundme.com/leadher-conference-supporters

Proverbs 31 Hospitality

the sparks between us will

In the Proverbs 31 “Virtuous Woman” verses (10-31) we witness several examples of hospitality.

If we limit our thinking of hospitality to serving strangers, we are only recognizing a fraction of what it means to be hospitable.  One definition of the word is to be friendly and welcoming of strangers and guests.  However, the second part of the definition is an environment that is pleasant and favorable for living in.

Hospitable to Her Husband (Proverbs 31:11,12)

She has created and fostered and environment where her husband feels safe, cared for, and happy.  He has complete trust in her, and therefore can relax in her presence.

Hospitable to Her Household (Proverbs 31:14,15)

She provides good, choice foods for her household (husband, children) and this includes her servants.  She is caring for all of them, making anyone who is in her household feel welcomed and valued.

Hospitable to the Less Fortunate (Proverbs 31:20)

Whether they are needy in spirit, health, or wealth… she extends her arms out to them.  The wording implies that she seeks them out by stretching out her arms or reaching out her hands.  She doesn’t wait until they show up on her door step and ask for her help, but instead she seeks these people out.

Hospitable with Her Words (Proverbs 31:26)

The Proverbs 31 woman speaks with wisdom AND kindness.  She is not boastful or cold, but those who know her welcome what she has to say because of her reputation.  

A virtuous woman knows the value of being hospitable not only to the people who she meets in the community or in her church, but foremost to her own family.  She creates a safe landing place for her husband and children to retreat to.  She has built a reputation and a home that has an open door to those who are in need.  It is a foundation in her life that begins within the walls of her own house and then extends out into the community from there.  

 

March Leadership Calendar

March

We are so excited to start sharing our Monthly Leadership Calendar!  Starting in April, this will be posted one week prior to the beginning of the month.  Use for yourself, share with your team.

An Acts 2 Ministry ….

What is anActs Ministryin an Acts Church

Over the last few weeks we dove into Acts 2 to learn what an Acts 2 Church is, and then we applied that information to the ministries within the church.  What does an Acts 2 Ministry look like?  Five main points were:

  1.  An Acts 2 Ministry is Consistent.  It meets regularly, in expected ways, in order to establish new habits that will replace the old.  It isn’t about creating a full calendar to make a ministry look big or successful, but rather about creating a full calendar that our members or those we serve can be intentional about carving time in their schedule to be in community with fellow believers.  It also provides regular opportunities to invite others.
  2. An Acts 2 Ministry is a Teaching Ministry.  This ministry teaches the women how to transform their minds to think to God’s ways first.  Whether it be a devotional at the beginning of a fellowship event, Bible Studies, workshops, conferences, etc.
  3. An Acts 2 Ministry Fellowships with One Another.  An Acts 2 Ministry isn’t about quick, once a week/month, check ins with each other.  It is about building community, binding us to one another in deep connections, and walking through life with one another.  The lone sheep is far more vulnerable to attack than the ones packed into a tight flock, under a Good Shepherd.
  4. An Acts 2 Ministry is a Praying Ministry.  From the leadership down, an Acts 2 Ministry is united in prayer.  As fellowship connects our lives, prayers allow us to worship God with each other.  As we pray in thanksgiving for His blessings, as we cry out for His intervention, and when we stand in the gap… praying for those who have lost the words in their grief; prayer connects us to God and each other in a very personal way.
  5. An Acts 2 Ministry Worships Together.  Not only by lifting our voices in song, but in our obedience, our prayers, our teaching, our fellowship… we are worshipping God together.

Something that stood out, as each point was developed, was this final component…

An Acts 2 Ministry is Led by Example.  

Each of the five points begins with the leaders setting the example and the expectation.

Our leadership must be consistent.  We can’t have a revolving door of leaders who try to reinvent our ministries every year.  Leaders must also be meeting regularly to discuss the progress of the ministry, make plans, and keep each other focused and accountable on God’s purpose for the ministry.  Leaders must be in consistent alignment with the church they serve under, and most importantly with God’s Word.

Our leaders should be open to teaching.  Either by teaching others, or a willingness to be students; sometimes both.  Not everyone is called to teach the Word of God in front of a large classroom or small group.  However, the Great Commission calls us to go out and make disciples and teach them.  Every leader should have the ability to share the Word, whether it be in one on one conversations, participating or leading in small groups, or larger events/workshops.  Some will be gifted to teach formal theology and some will be gifted to teach by example of living a Christ filled life.

Our leaders should be fellowshipping, with those they serve and with one another.  The Disciples spent a lot of time with Jesus, but also with each other.  In their fellowshipping, they were able to teach one another, rebuke one another, hold each other accountable.  They loved each other like brothers, and even in their disputes reconciled.  We set the example for Christian fellowship for others.

Our leaders should be praying.  In our own personal lives, whether it is audible prayers or prayer journaling… again we are setting the expectation and the example.  If this is an area where we lack confidence, we still set an example as we seek out ways to improve our prayer life & share with others how we have grown.

Finally, our leaders should ever be in a posture of worship.  Others will watch how leaders respond when times are good, and even more so when times are difficult.  I remember once going through a difficult time, and I had to make some hard decisions.  A few days later, I was speaking with a friend who was aware of the situation, and she made a comment about seeing me at church that Sunday.  She said that I walked as if a load had been lifted off my shoulders.  She was trying to understand how in the midst of this chaos I seemed so unburdened by it.   She saw something I didn’t even realize was apparent, and this created a beautiful opportunity to talk about faith and trust.. even in the trials and the storms.

Leaders, you are the tone… lead by examples… and set the expectations for those whom you are in charge.  Lead well.

Godly Characteristics: Gentle Not Violent

Gentleness

In 1 Timothy 3:2, it says that someone who is leadership should “not be violent but gentle”.  Gentleness is listed as one of the “Fruits of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23.  However, here in 1 Timothy 3:2 we are not merely instructed to be “gentle” but even more specifically “not violent”.  

If you research “violence” in the scriptures, there are some strong words against violence:

Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways ~ Proverbs 3:31

The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.  ~ Psalm 11:5

In fact, if you go back to Galatians 5 and read the few lines before “Fruits of the Spirit” you will read about what is called “Works of the Flesh”.  

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21

Note that several of the items listed in 1 Timothy 3:2 are called “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5.  It is when we are not walking in God’s way, but in our own sinful humanness.  The violence in these scriptures is not what you see in war, when God has called warriors up as defenders of His people.  This is fleshy violence.  Vengeance, anger, hatred, malice.

I believe it is clear that the Lord calls his leaders to set a standard in how the treat one another, including our spouses and children.  In 1 Timothy 3, the leader is called to be a manager of his home, but not in a violent way… but respectful.  (1 Timothy 3:4 – He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect).  In clearer terms, the leader is not to be abusive… physically, mentally, emotionally.

Whether the leader is a man, or a woman.