Below you’ll find the show notes for episode 68, My Faith and Women’s Ministry Story: The Personal Impact of Faith-focused Fellowship, from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links.
My Faith and Women’s Ministry Story: The Personal Impact of Faith-focused Fellowship
Originally, today’s podcast episode was scheduled to be a leader interview. However, the dear Leader I was going to interview is sick and needed to reschedule.
As I’ve tossed about ideas and prayed about what to share this week, I keep coming back to one idea, and that idea is sharing my story of faith and my women’s ministry story with you. You see, the two are quite connected. Thank you in advance for listening to me share my faith and women’s ministry story – how faith-focused fellowship impacted me.
My Faith Story
I grew up in church. We attended every Sunday unless we were sick or on vacation. We went to Vacation Bible School. I attended Youth group. We were active in all of the churches we belonged to. Around age twelve, I think it was, I attended Confirmation Class. I don’t remember a clear presentation of the gospel in that class, or honestly, even during a Sunday sermon at the church we attended.
We had to take a test [for Confirmation Class] – we had to pass it in order to be confirmed. One of the things that was on the test was I had to memorize and write down the books of the Bible in order. All 66 books and some other Bible facts. I knew the parts of the story that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he died on the cross for our sins, and after three days he arose again from the grave, and that if we believe in Jesus, we can spend eternity in heaven.
I believed all those things and I knew all those things, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know. If you had asked me, and some people did, I would have assured you that I was going to heaven.
I was an avid reader, even from a young age in my middle and high school years. Every morning during breakfast I read two things. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that neither one of those things was the Bible. I read the comics (still love Calvin and Hobbes), and I read my Horoscope. I don’t recall anyone ever teaching me that God prohibits seeking wisdom from astrology. And like many teen girls, I played with an Ouija board at a few slumber parties too.
I was a good student. I was in church every Sunday, and I was what most would label a “good girl”. I rarely got into trouble and I didn’t really seek it out.
When I left for college, I decided that after being made to go to church every Sunday, I wasn’t going to go. And for two years, the only time I went to church was when I was home.
I knew who Jesus was, and church attendance had no draw for me.
During my third year of college, some things changed. I broke up with the boy who I was engaged to, and I’d found a friend who’d grown up in church and hadn’t been going either. We went a few times to some of the on-campus college ministry meetings, but it was different. They sang songs I didn’t know, and I felt like such an outsider. That didn’t last long, but Heather and I decided that we would visit some churches together. I honestly don’t remember if we visited more than one, but we found the big church just across from the campus was one we both liked and felt comfortable in, so you would find us there most Sunday mornings.
After college graduation, my husband and I met, and we married a year later. He grew up going to church, not as frequently and not as involved as I had, but Sunday mornings were still a fairly regular part of our lives.
Not long after the birth of our second son, we decided to join the little Baptist church we had been going to. To become members, they required immersion. My sprinkling as a baby wasn’t enough. I can look back and I can laugh. I used to think that Baptists were crazy Bible beaters, and I swore that I would never become one. But God had other plans. I stood before the church and confessed that I was a sinner in need of a Savior and acknowledged that only Christ’s death on the cross could save me from an eternity in hell. Under the water I went. Nothing magical happened. I didn’t feel any different… not on that day.
Within just a couple of months, our pastor was called to another church, and our youth pastor served in the interim. One Sunday he did something very unusual. Back in these days, we didn’t have screens with words on them, not in our church. He put up one of those big AV screens that you pull up from the bottom, and he planted it in one of the front row pews. It was quite a sight to see, and you could hear the older, sweet people in that church just chattering, not sure what was going on. He disrupted things just a bit. Not only did he put a screen up, but he dared to show a Christian music video during the Sunday service.
The video that he showed changed my life.
He showed I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me. Up until this point, my thoughts of Heaven had honestly been about reuniting with loved ones who died, especially my Grandma Davis. She taught me how to sew and how to paint, and she let me loose with the decorative frosting tips on cakes in her kitchen ( even though my grandfather was diabetic). I missed her a lot.
But the words of that song changed my thoughts about Heaven.
“Surrounded by your glory, What will my heart feel? Will I dance for you, Jesus? Or in awe of You be still? Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine.”
That day something in my soul cracked. It was like the Lord had reached out and switched a flip on my soul. Even one of the moms in our playgroup noticed. I had to know who sang that song, and I needed a copy of it. And this was, a long time ago – very immature believer days, but I did get my husband to download it off the internet for me and burnt me a CD. And I played that CD nonstop in my car. I found the local Christian radio station, something I had never listened to before, and I loved it. I couldn’t stop playing Christian music. It was around me all the time.
You see, I was in awe of the thought of what actually happens, what heaven will really be like. It’s not about hugging Grandma Davis, although I still hope that happens. But it’s about worshiping our Lord and Savior.
I haven’t been the same since.
My Women’s Ministry Story
Mom Groups and Children’s Ministry
It wasn’t long after I discovered the difference between knowing about God and having a relationship with God that serving in my community mom’s group, well, it just wasn’t the same. Something was missing. I knew what those mamas needed, and it was Jesus. I tried to stay for quite a while, actually, and tried to share my faith with the women in our group, even though I wasn’t very good at it and didn’t quite know the words to say. As I served locally as a volunteer in that group and as a leader, I also served on the national team of that organization. It became harder and harder. Their advocacy efforts weren’t in alignment with what I wanted to advocate for.
Meanwhile, God had brought us to a new church. I began pouring myself into the children’s ministry, organizing activities that shared Jesus with the children in our church and preschool was wonderful.
My First Women’s Ministry Event
I can still remember the first women’s ministry event I attended at that new church. There was a guest speaker whose name I’ve long since forgotten, but I have never forgotten the story that she shared. She talked about how she had grown up in the church thinking that she was a Christian and later discovering that she wasn’t. She talked about how that was her testimony. I never felt like I had a testimony to share until I heard her speak. Her story was my story. I felt so understood.
Eventually, I left that community mom’s group when myself and another mom in our group launched a Christian mom’s group in our church. I co-led that group for two years, and if you’ve read my books, you’ve heard some of the stories. There were a lot of hard leadership lessons learned during those years.
During those same years, I was invited by Kim to join her prayer group. Kim and Becky taught me how to pray, and Kim became an unofficial mentor to me. She taught me how to pray, how to seek guidance through God’s Word, and she challenged me to seek scriptural confirmation when making decisions, and she called me out when I needed it. There were tears and some hard phone calls, that’s for sure.
For a year and a half the position of our women’s ministry director (titled WMU Director at the time) sat empty in our church. Part of our prayer time in that prayer group included praying for our church. I would literally pray, “Lord, please send someone to fill the position of women’s ministry director, because I know it’s not me.” For weeks on end, I prayed that same prayer. I knew we had a need in our church, but I couldn’t imagine that God would call a baby Christian like me to serve in that role. I was a young mom. Didn’t you have to be at least 60 years old to be the women’s ministry director?
Serving in Women’s Ministry
But one day during my Bible study time, there was scriptural confirmation that I was supposed to fill that role. I asked my prayer group to pray. They could see what God was doing and how He had prepared me, and they encouraged me to step into that role. And so after some prayer and a lot of second-guessing, I did. And those many years ago was the first time I stepped into a women’s ministry leadership role. I stepped in as the director without a team to support me.
Faith-focused fellowship made such an impact on me.
I share those stories because I know the impact that they can have on your women, too.
I want your women to know that Jesus loved them, that he died for them, that God sent his Son to rescue them and save them. I want them to know what they’re missing. Romans 10:9-10 says, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
I want your women to know that truth. I don’t want you to miss an opportunity to tell them about Jesus.
So while, yes, we can have pretty parties and game nights and potlucks and all the things, please take the time to share your faith with these women. I am telling you, there are women sitting at the tables, at your events, in the pews, in your church that think they know Jesus, but they don’t. Because that was me. I thought I knew, but now that I know that I know, oh, my goodness, I see how different it is!
Ladies, we’ve been given a great opportunity. God has provided a way for us to tell others about what He has done, and I pray that we will embrace it.
Today’s Toolbox Tasks:
- I want to challenge you to have a time when you share your faith stories with the women on your team. If you’ve never done that before, it can be very powerful.
- Discuss ways that you can make sure that the women’s ministry events and activities you provide include your faith.
Lord, I thank you for calling each one of us to serve in women’s ministry. May we not assume that every woman sitting in the seats is saved. Help us to be bold in sharing the gospel message. Help us to be creative in the ways that we point women to You. Father, I pray that you will equip us, that you will provide the encouragement we need and the tools that we need to successfully and regularly share about you. Lord, we pray for the women who don’t know you yet, that they will come to know you personally as Lord and Savior. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
You may also want to read:
The Importance of Christian Fellowship for Women’s Spiritual Growth
Rethinking Fellowship for Women’s Ministry- What is fellowship?
The Power of Personal Testimonies
Purposeful Women’s Ministry