I recently spoke with Suzie Lind about her women’s ministry at King’s Harbor Church and wanted to share with you her insight on developing an atmosphere of authenticity to bring about transformation in women’s lives. Read her guest blog post and consider her 5 suggestions below.
Women’s Ministry in the local Church, now more than ever, can be a place for women to experience life transformation and Christian community while learning to live like Jesus. As we are challenged to compete for the time women have in their increasingly busy schedules we must contend to offer opportunities with substantial value. The women we are attempting to reach are craving more authenticity in community and those who are serious about God desire to faithfully apply the Scriptures to their lives. With that in mind, there is an increasing reluctance to attend superficial social gatherings where they are forced to hide or live up to a churchy standard they can no longer attain.
The challenges many leaders face are folding in reluctant participants or the even more formidable task of assisting them in moving past the surface once they are there. Often, women will say they crave “more” but are less than willing to give more of themselves.
Creating a culture of authenticity is initiated by strong leadership. Ideally it begins with the Lead Pastor of the Church and within the context of women’s ministry is established by the lead woman and her surrounding team. A culture of authenticity becomes a safe place for women to tell and glean from stories of where they have been and how God is using joy and sorrow to draw them unto Himself. God has a very specific design for our authenticity. One that is crucial for understanding and leading women to the place He would have them dwell.
In the book of Revelation, John tells of a war breaking out in Heaven where those who found victory “overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.” (Revelation 12:11). When we stand before others clothed solely with the word of our testimony, leaving off our “church face” and putting on truth, the real stories of our real lives emerge. It is then that those we are surrounded by, the company of women, will truly see the Jesus who has overcome sin and death. Only then do we bring glory to God.
Glory to God. This is His purpose for women and His plan for our lives.
If you are struggling to lead and nurture the women in your ministry into a culture of authenticity, consider:
1. You go first. You cannot lead people where you are not willing to go yourself. Tell your story. The down and dirty details are not as important as the big picture. Tell your story and keep the scope of God’s redemption in the forefront.
2. Safety. Create a safe place for women to share. Direct your gatherings with the help of other leaders. Communicate why this is sacred ground. Train your leaders to pray, shepherd conversations as needed and encourage women to refrain from giving advice or opinions.
3. Grace. Jesus came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). If Jesus did not condemn, neither should you or the women hearing the story. All of us judge and condemn in our hearts, even when we do not want to. Thankfully with prayer and God’s help, you can lead your women by encouraging a spirit of love, grace and compassion.
4. Develop a prayer team. A team who prays for women to be released from bondage. When we tell our stories not only are we are set free, we partner with God in releasing others from bondage. A prayer team that is there to pray before and after women give testimony will alleviate the condemnation, shame and fear that can follow.
5. After care. When people tell their stories, they often feel vulnerable in the after-math. Our adversary does not want us telling of God’s redemptive power and when we testify, we draw our swords against him. Women need support, encouragement and prayer after they open up.
By creating a culture of authenticity, we create room to see God do what only He can do. Heal the broken hearted, setting the captives free as we proclaim the wonder of the Gospel.
Suzie is the Women’s Pastor at King’s Harbor Church in Torrance, CA. At any given moment, and “in” just about every moment, she is teacher, mom, wife, leader, speaker, student, diaper changer, and writer. Her joys, gleanings and moments of sheer lunacy are birthed out of all these roles. Her greatest joy is soaking up the truths and revelations of God’s word and sharing them with others through teaching Bible Study and writing on her blog, Hemmed In. Suzie lives in San Pedro with her husband Steve and four boys, Jason (10), Silas (8), Judah (6) and Nathan (7 months). They also have a dog, a girl named Marley.