(This post is kind of in the Finding the Rest of My Faith series and kind of a blathering mission statement for You Go Girl!, but PLEASE read it. I’d love you to share it too. I’ve kind of determined that I’m better at writing one long post per week than three short. SO, if this is overlong for you, feel free to divide up into three readings. ;))
Several years ago, God gave me an idea–or maybe you’d call it a dream–or maybe even a vision.
It was for a women’s ministry that would exist beyond the walls of our churches, drawing together women from inside and outside our congregations. As this dream has persisted in my mind, it has taken on various forms, but its core has remained the same.
Firstly, women need each other IN ACTUAL REAL LIFE. No offense to our online communities, which are the bomb-diddly, but WAY too many of us our hiding out behind screens. We are waiting to be inspired by some blogger or tweeter. We are attending conferences in far off places, meeting virtual friends, and enjoying how small the world has become. I love that. I do. Because wherever we are, we can like, or share, or tweet, or follow. We can be inspired in the midst of the mundane that surrounds us.
BUT, frankly, I’m tired of JUST being inspired. I worry that for all the inspiration, we aren’t really MOTIVATED to GO into all the world and preach the gospel. Scripture exhorts us to mentor each other and encourage each other, teach one another, and care for one another. I could go on and on about this, but I want to see this ACTUALLY happen in communities more and more between women of different ages, denominations, and backgrounds because (*ahem*) that is how heaven will be.
Women need to be ENCOURAGED.
Secondly, women need to be equipped with a strong knowledge of God’s Word. The internet is a great tool that we can use for getting women to dive into God’s Word, but studying in community is essential. I’ve attended several churches over the last few years with dynamic, charismatic, Spirit-filled ministers whose churches intentionally did not have women’s Bible studies. In attempt to streamline programs, this feature had been eliminated.
Well, whatever. That makes me so angry that I could just spit my own teeth out. But God has used this to increase my desire to have women’s ministry within and beyond the walls of one church and its brand(s), where Bible study could take place between women from an old, traditional Methodist church, a wild, Pentecostal church, and a trendy, branded-up Seeker church. I won’t say ALL women learn better in community, but a heck of a lot of us do, and women need to be growing in their knowledge of God’s word.
Women need to be EQUIPPED with a knowledge of God’s Word.
Finally, and maybe this is just an extrapolation of the above points for the purpose of devising a third “E-word,” but women need to be made aware of the gift and the responsibility that God has left us in this world. Christianity is a MISSIONAL JOB. We have received God’s POWER to achieve great things in our families, our communities, and the world. It is a command! While we can easily accept that we need to be encouraged, and probably that we should be equipped, some of us cringe and cower at the idea of being EMPOWERED. Maybe that word is too feminist, too aggressive, or just too darn scary from where you sit as a bedraggled, worn-down girl, but God did not give us a Spirit of fear, my gals. He gave us a Spirit of LOVE and POWER and a SOUND MIND.
Women need to be EMPOWERED to change the world for Jesus.
To that end, I’ve been holding/facilitating/hosting You Go Girl! groups at my mom’s house since last fall. It’s a tiny group of gals from various churches and backgrounds. Some attend church; some don’t. Some are Bible savvy; some aren’t. We range from 20-something single gals to grandmothers of a more mature vintage, but we all agree that accountability and community with one another is critical.
I’d love for my group to grow. I’d love it to accommodate every woman and even teen girl who longs for a niche in which to be ENCOURAGED, EQUIPPED, and EMPOWERED. More to the point, I’d love You Go Girl! groups or something similar EVERYWHERE for women and girls who desire encouragement, equipping, and empowering. My dream for You Go Girl! is BIG.
However . . . . .
I recently rearranged our living room and moved our kids’ art table under the clock and a picture of an acorn and the words, “BE SMALL.” (This picture was part of my swag from Allume ’12.) As I’ve looked at the picture and words, reflecting on it in a deeper way, I’ve realized that a lot of the rest-less-ness in my heart comes from discontentment with small things in my world.
Small people. Small dreams. Small bank accounts. Small houses.
I started this blog to write about living a contented “small” life, but truthfully, over the past few years, I’ve grown increasingly weary and discontent in my STRUGGLE with small things.
So I confessed to the Lord my frustration at being given a BIG dream that seemed to stay SO SMALL. And He said to me . . .
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal 6:9-10 NIV)
This is not to imply that God doesn’t want BIG things for me or you, or that He wants to squelch my dream.
But I did go LOOKING for rest and contentment, didn’t I?
And it seems that part of God’s answer to me is to find contentment in the SMALL places, in the family of believers, in my OWN family, with my kids, and with women who yearn for growth and motivation. God reassured me that even Abraham didn’t see the extent to which God fulfilled his promise. Likewise, I might not see more than the sprouting seeds or acorns of the dream. Nonetheless, I just need to persist in faithfulness to those small things.
So in faithfulness to the vision that God has given me, I’m gonna just throw the doors open on this vision and see what you think?
Wanna do a small thing to help this vision? Here are some options.
1. If your church doesn’t have women’s groups, consider joining us. The next You Go Girl! study begins March 20th in downtown Waxhaw. We’re going to do Priscilla Shirer’s Gideon study on Thursday nights from 7-9 at our usual downtown Waxhaw location. Contact me or join the You Go Girl! Facebook Group for more info.
Here’s a little promo video for the Gideon study.
2. Can’t join us even though you’re a local? Please share the information with any women who might be looking for this type of group.
3. Want to start up a You Go Girl! group in your area? PLEASE DO IT! I don’t care ONE BIT about branding or having this be “my thing,” so if you want to, GO for it! Feel free to use our FB group (or start your own!), and rally women from your area to be encouraged, equipped, and empowered by God’s Word. Focus on MOTIVATING women to GO!
4. Do you like the vision for You Go Girl! but don’t really know how you could help? Just PRAY. Pray that women will bring glory to God through You Go Girl! Pray that we actually will GO into our world and make an eternal impact beyond our computer screens.
I’d love to hear feedback from you on what you think of this vision. AND please, SHARE this if you’d like to help You Go Girl! get some momentum.