Women Helping Women In the Church

Sept. 21, 2013 Susan Hunt

Session Transcript

Susan Hunt: I'm Susan Hunt, and I want to welcome you to this seminar, "Women Helping Women in the Church." We'll have a pretty narrow focus of how we actually use the women's ministry in our churches as a vehicle to help women. Thank you for being here. Thank you for your interest in this topic. Let me just open up in prayer.

Father in heaven, I thank You so much that You care for us. Thank You that You have brought us together right now at this time to consider how You would have us to serve You as women in Your church. Lord, I pray Your blessing upon this time and that You will do even more than we could ask or imagine. In the name and to the glory of Jesus.

Now before we get started, let me just tell you we're going to be downloading a lot. You're going to be hearing a lot of information, but I want you to relax and to know that everything I'm saying you can read it. It's pretty much all in this book, Women's Ministry in the Local Church, which really gives me the freedom to skim over a lot but to sink down in places where I want us to stop and to really think. I'll come back to this at the end and talk about it. But this book, Women's Ministry in the Local Church, and Leadership for Women in the Church along with the Women's Ministry Training and Resource Guide, they are your resources to do the things that we'll be talking about in this seminar.

In addition to that, two other quick resources on biblical womanhood. One is Becoming God's True Woman While I Still Have a Curfew, which is for teen girls, really helping teen girls to understand biblical womanhood. Now, let me ask you, who is the grandmother in here with the most granddaughters between the ages of twelve and eighteen? If you're a grandmother with granddaughters between twelve and eighteen, will you stand up? Now, let's see who has the most. If you have more than one granddaughter in that age group, remain standing. If you have more than two, remain standing. If you have more than three, okay, let's see what we've got. You've got how many? Three? Four in that age group. Anybody that can top four? Because it was having granddaughters that really prompted me to write this book. So will you come up and get this book.

And then let's find the mother. This is Cassie and Caleb Discover God's Wonderful Design. First I thought we needed to start with our teen girls and then I realized no, we've got to start with our very little boys and girls on understanding gender distinctiveness from a biblical perspective.

So this is Cassie and Caleb Discover God's Wonderful Design. Let's find the mother who left the most children between the ages of three and twelve. So mothers of children in that age span, will you please stand? Three to twelve. If you have more than one, remain standing. If you have more than two in ages three to twelve remain standing. More than three? Okay, how many? Four? Again, we've got four as the winner. Thank you very much.

All right, to get us started, this is such an important topic. And I want you to take every single thing we have been hearing, and my heart is just so full I can hardly stand to even talk about what all we've been hearing. I've just been weeping. But take everything we've been hearing, and we want to say, "Okay, now how do we bring this to bear through the women's ministry in our churches?"

And I want to begin with a story for you to get a feeling of what it looked like and feels like. I'm going to ask my friend Lenore to come up. Lenore Day is a woman that I have watched for thirteen years, I think. And her story is so beautiful. But as you listen to this story, I want you to remember that it happened in the context of a Word-driven ministry that was intentionally cultivating a culture of caring in the church. Listen to that again. Hear her story in the context of a Word-driven women's ministry intentionally cultivating a culture of caring. Lenore.

Lenore Day: Like Susan said, I've had the blessing of going to church with her for thirteen or fourteen years. And I'll tell you what she's teaching up here she lives and lives it out in our church and her life every day. And many women have been impacted and then have impacted me from that. But she did ask me just to share with you all a little bit this morning about how God has used my son Garrett's illness for His glory and how the women in my church have ministered to me and my family over the past thirteen years.

I don't have a lot of time to go into details about Garrett's health condition because he has a lot of issues, but the most difficult time for me was when I was pregnant with him and his first few years of life. Garrett was born in kidney failure and started dialysis right after he was born. He had a kidney transplant at seventeen months old. Garrett is what doctors would define as chronically ill or medically fragile. My son is what I define as living proof of God's grace.

One day I was changing Garrett's diaper when he was a baby, and he had just started dialysis. And I looked down at my baby's tiny little broken and scarred body. He had tubes coming out of different places. And I just thought, How much more is he going to have to suffer and endure? And I just began weeping. My heart hurt so bad it just felt like it was breaking into a million pieces. And I felt God's presence with me and I could hear Him say, "Lenore, I know how bad it hurts to watch your son suffer, because I watched my Son suffer and die on the cross for you."

My tears turned from tears of sadness to speechless amazement. It just took my breath away. What love God has for me! And who am I that He would allow Christ to suffer? God became very real to me that day.

Right after Garrett started dialysis, the process of finding a donor started. My husband, Royce, and I assumed that one of us would give Garrett a kidney, because he's our child and of course we wanted to make that sacrifice to save his life. So as you can imagine, we were greatly disappointed and frustrated when we found out that neither one of us were suitable donors for him at that time.

My brother, Bill, offered to be tested, and a few months later, Garrett received his kidney from my amazing, brave, and sacrificial brother. The Children's Hospital in Atlanta is connected to the main hospital. So after Garrett was taken back, we were able to walk over and see my brother.

When I walked into my brother's room and I saw him laying there in that hospital bed, I was so overcome with gratefulness for what he had just done that my knees just literally went weak, just gave out. And I just fell beside his hospital bed and cried. And I cried so hard I could hardly even get out the words, "Thank you." My brother had just done something for my son that I could not do myself.

As I knelt by his bed weeping, I just had this image of Christ on the cross breathing His last breath as He sacrificed His life for me. Christ had made the ultimate sacrifice. He had paid a price I couldn't and saved me. This is the response that I should have to Christ every single day—to fall weak at my knees before His throne and weep tears of gratefulness and thank Him.

Dealing with Garrett's illness has been and is very hard and sad at times. But I am just so thankful for how God has used it in His process of sanctifying me. I know that Garrett won't be healed physically this side of heaven. But I'm okay with it, because I see how God works in my life and his life and the lives of so many others to share His love for us through His Son, Jesus Christ, who has brought healing to all of us spiritually.

God has used many women over these years to minister to me and my family. And I'm so thankful for each and every one of them. Some have been close friends, others just acquaintances. And some that I didn't even know at all. Women of all ages—single, married, widowed.

Women in my church volunteered for years to come and stay in my home on Sunday mornings so that my husband and I could go and worship together on Sunday mornings. These women have also sent cards; they've called to check on us; they've cooked meals, they've cleaned my house; they've watched my children; they've sat in the hospital with me; they've cried with me and they've laughed with me; and they've just loved me—each one doing what they could at their place in life to respond to God's call to come and give me comfort. God came to me through every one. I wish I had time to tell you about each one of these women by name. But since I don't, I just want to mention quickly a few.

Ellen was a friend from my Sunday school class, and she was at my house one day helping me and I told her that I just couldn't pray for Garrett anymore. And I felt like such a horrible Christian to feel this way. And I felt like a terrible mother to say I just couldn't pray for my child. But she told me, "Lenore, don't feel bad, because this is when your church family is there to lift you up in prayer."

Kim was a friend, but she was a very busy working mother of three teenagers. But she always found time to come visit with me when Garrett was in the hospital. And she would take time out of her day just to give me a call to tell me she loved me and that God loved me and that I was doing a great job as a mother. I don't even know if she knew how badly some days I needed to hear those words just to keep going.

Edwina, she was probably about my mother's age. Her children were all grown. She heard from some women at church that I was unable to take Garrett out or have him around other children because of the risk of him getting sick. I didn't know Edwina when she started coming to my house. Once a week for years she would come and stay with Garrett so that I could get out of the house and go to Bible study, our Tuesday morning women's Bible study, or to the grocery store or just to take my other son out to do something fun. She continued to come even when I didn't need her to, because she had just bonded with my children. She became a spiritual mother to me and my boys. They love her so much, and they still talk about her today.

Mary Ruth was a seventy-year-old widow who sent me cards every week for years to say that she was praying for me. One Sunday morning we sat behind her in church and our family got to put a face with the name of the "praying card lady," as my boys called her.

Marge was an eighty-year-old widow who moved down from New York with her daughter, and she became a member of our church. I think everyone in our church body was touched by Marge. She moved recently to Missouri. But Garrett loved her homemade spaghetti and meatballs and cheesecake. And every time Garrett would get out of the hospital, she would bring this meal to him, and she always made it very clear that this was for Garrett. It wasn't for the rest of us. It was his, and he could share it with the rest of us if he wanted to.

These women and many others kept me constantly pointed back toward the cross and looking to God. They saw my needs and met them usually before I knew that I even needed it. Thank you for letting me share.

Susan: I've watched this story. Again I want you to remember that it happened in a particular context. And that's what we want to talk about is how do we use our women's ministry to cultivate a context of cultural caring so that these kind of things happen.

One of the important things that I want you to know about this story is that in this context, Lenore and her family, her marriage and her children have thrived. They have grown in grace, and they have just given grace over and over and over back to us.

Our focus now is how can our women's ministry help the male leadership of our church to minister to the women in the church. Our male leadership is entrusted with caring for the sheep, and some of those sheep are female. And so we need to come alongside the men in the church, and we need to help care for the female sheep.

Why do some care and some discipleship need to be gender specific? We need to back up and think about the answer to this question so that we will understand why we do what we do. And the reason we need some gender-specific care and discipleship is because God created us male and female. If you follow along on your handout, we're going to go through this real quickly so that then we can get to some practical how-to's.

God created us in His own image. He created us male and female. Being created in His image means we're created to reflect His glory. Male and female share the same purpose, but we have a different design.

Genesis 2:18 gives us some clues into our design when God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." And we heard last night about this Hebrew word for helper and how often times it's used to refer to God as our helper. I've listed a few of these verses. Nancy talked about some of these last night. But as you look at how God helps us, we begin to understand our female design better. He defends; He sees and cares for the suffering; He supports; He protects; He delivers from distress; He rescues; He comforts.

These are caring words, and it is what we as women have been designed, we've been wired, to do. But the problem is the Fall. Because of sin, when we lost our relationship with God, we lost our ability to do what we've been created to do. But God did not leave us in that lostness, but rather He came to the garden. And there in Genesis 3:15 we hear the first proclamation of the gospel.

When Adam and Eve stood and they heard God say to the serpent, "I will." Now those two words, you might want to circle them, immediately speak to us of sovereign grace. It's not "I will help them a little," but rather it's "I will." "I will put enmity between you, Satan, and between her."

He will put that hostility between us, which means He will free us from Satan. "And between your offspring." When they heard that word that spoke to them of life and not death, which they were expecting. "He will crush your head." Victory. This offspring of the woman would achieve the victory of all that they had lost.

Now, what was the man's response to this first proclamation of the gospel? In 3:20, we read, "Adam named his wife." Naming is an indicator of headship. What we see here is that because of the gospel, man was restored. Manhood was restored to that position of headship, that function of headship. The man and woman are equal, but the man had the responsibility, the function, of headship.

What did he name her? He named her Eve because she would become the mother of all of the living. Eve means "life-giver." So because of the gospel, the woman was restored to her design of being a life-giving helper. And this is not just biological. Ultimately, of course, it means that through a woman would come the promised Messiah. But it also carries a meaning that as redeemed women, we all have the potential to be life-givers in every season and circumstance and relationship of life. This is our redemptive calling.

I have a chart on your handout that gives the contrast between a helper life-giver and a hinderer life-taker. There is no third option. We are always one or the other. Now, you can summarize the helper words with the two words "community" and "compassion." Woman is wired to bring a sense of family, to build relationships, to nurture relationships, and to just build that sense of family in her relationships, whether it's in her family, in her church, wherever, and to be a practical channel of compassion.

Marge thought about spaghetti and meatballs for a little boy. That's the kind of thing women just think about. We see and we care for the suffering in very practical ways. So there's an apologetic, very briefly, of womanhood—of who we are by God's design. But then, how does that inform our ministry collectively as women in God's church? What is the apologetic that will help us to have Word-driven ministry? Because let me just tell you, it is very easy for women's ministry to be event or personality or emotion or task driven. And when they are that, they will eventually be life-taking ministries in a church.

As we look at the pastoral epistles, the letters that Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus in their function as pastors of the church, we see that these are letters that really tell us how to do church, how to have strong, healthy, Word-driven churches. And there are five passages that speak specifically about women. And as we study those passages, we begin to see an apologetic. We see principles to ground our women's ministry in. Now, we're really running through this fast. But again, this is the essence of this book, Women's Ministry in the Local Church—a whole chapter on each one of these things.

As you look down at the list of these, first of all is ecclesiastical submission, meaning that the women's ministry is under the oversight and the protection of the male leadership of the church, as is every other ministry. Now this is not because women are inferior, but it is because the governance of the church is to be a reflection of the creation order. This is the way God created things to be. The reason He created it to be that way is because headship and submission are a reflection of the very nature of the way the Trinity functions. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal in being, but each assumes a different function in accomplishing our salvation. And Scripture tells us that the Son submits to the Father. Jesus said, "Not my will but Your will be done." So when we're called to that function of submission, it is not an inferior place. In fact, it is that we might show forth the beauty of part of the aspect of the nature of the Trinity.

And then we see community and compassion. Now we're going to come back to these two, and these are the two we'll be talking about most as far as how do we practically cultivate a community of caring, a culture of caring. But you can't take community and compassion and pull them out from all five of these principles. They work together. It is one part of a whole, and if you try to separate any one part it's just not going to work because it functions as a whole.

I'll skip on down to gender-specific discipleship. Titus 2 calls us to have some discipleship within God's church that is woman to woman. Not all discipleship is gender related, but there is to be some, where women are teaching women what it means to be a woman and how we live out this womanhood according to God's design. This is essential for doing community and compassion because there must be an instructional element there. There must be the discipleship element there. We must always be discipling people about why we do what we do. We must be taking every gospel imperative back to the gospel. The gospel must be our starting point, our ending point, our everywhere in between point.

Then the final principle is Scripture, showing that every single thing rests upon and flows out of God's Word. I really think that these five principles will help us to go a long way in having Word-driven ministry.

But now I want us to come back and really think about, "So how does our women's ministry cultivate relationships, cultivate community, and equip women for ministries of compassion?" And these two things, community and compassion, fuel each other. They flow into and out of each other.

You've got to start with community. There must be strong relationship before the compassion begins to flow. If you just try to run back to your church and begin trying to equip women for ministries of compassion and they don't even know each other, it just does not work—not well. And so compassion is going to flow out of those strong relationships.

So within the vehicle of our women's ministry, what are some ways that we begin to cultivate community? First of all, we teach to it. We must teach women that this is not just another social club. Community is a buzzword. But in Scripture we're talking about covenant community. We're talking about building relationships that glorify God because we have been adopted into His family. That's the community that we're talking about.

Our Bible study leaders, our discipleship group leaders, everyone who's involved in leadership should be equipped to understand the "why we do what we do." Even our publicity, our special events, everything we do should have this focus, and there should be some discipleship, some teaching. There must be a teaching component to it so that we're never just calling women to do certain things without showing them how the gospel calls us to do that and equips us to do that.

Often times women's Bible studies follow a model of being primarily informational—downloading a lot of information. And that's good. Information is very important. And we want to study the content of the Scriptures. But in order to do what we're talking about here, to cultivate a community of caring, our Bible studies also need to be relational. Our discipleship needs to have that component. Jesus discipled in the context of building relationships with His disciples. And so we must be intentional in doing that.

I teach a Tuesday morning Bible study, and we have a leadership team. It's not a real big Bible study. I only have maybe thirty women or so. But we have a team. And that team works to make all of this come together. I just simply teach the lesson. But they do all the other things from greeter, so that no woman walks in without being loved, to the refreshment time. And then we have someone who's in charge of what we call "community building." Now, all of this that I'm telling you about is in this notebook. So you can go here, and you can find the guidelines. You can find everything you need for everything that I'm saying.

Our community building chairman plans some little something each week, whether it's that we sign cards to send to someone in the church. Often times it's a testimony—whether it's a salvation testimony or the kind of a testimony that you've just heard from Lenore or a ministry testimony, somebody talking about maybe that they have gotten involved in a ministry at the local homeless shelter. You see, as they share that, women get to know them better. They get to know these ministries, and they are equipped through the stories to go and do these things.

Even as you heard Lenore. I just suspect that there were some of you sitting here thinking, You know that young family in our church? I'll bet they would love my spaghetti. What a great idea, and I never knew it could make such a difference. That's what happens.

Now, another way that we do this, to cultivate community, is what we call our "box talk." And I'm going to illustrate that for you. The guidelines are in the book. I'm going to do a very, very brief version. But this is just where a woman uses some visual aids to tell a little bit about herself. And it's a great way to also disciple the women, because once a woman has done that she's going to be more comfortable in then perhaps sharing her testimony. But "box talks" are a woman taking a container and telling a little bit about herself.

I brought my beach bag because I am a beach person. I absolutely love the beach. I grew up on the beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Our family always went to the beach once we had children, and now we gather every summer at the beach with our children and grandchildren. And it's just absolutely glorious. I've already packed my Bible, but my Bible would be in here and I would pull it out and tell you that I absolutely love God's Word. It is my lifeline, and also that I met my husband in a Bible class at seminary. And this December we will have been married fifty years.

Here's a picture of our twelve grandchildren, and here's a picture of our children and our grandchildren and my mother who lives next door to us. We're privileged to care for her, and she is ninety-six years old. And if this was a smaller group, I would pass it around. I love to read. I absolutely love World Magazine. And then if I'd have had room, I would have pulled out a few of my favorite books and told you about them.

And then I would probably end up by pulling out my hoodie from the University of South Carolina and tell you that I graduated from the University of South Carolina. My husband graduated from the University of Georgia, and we have three grandchildren at Auburn University. We absolutely love the SEC. We love SEC football and any Saturday finds us if not in a stadium, we're in front of a television and we are texting each other about, "Did you see that play?" It does get a little hairy when our teams play each other as happened last week when Georgia was playing South Carolina.

Now don't you think you know me just a little bit better? This gives so many points of contact. And sometimes women will tell things that just spill naturally over into compassion. I will never forget years ago when a young woman who had not been in our church long gave a box talk. And she pulled out of her bag a little baby's bonnet. And she told us that someone made this for her when she was pregnant. But she did not have children. And then she told us that she had had a miscarriage and that she suffered with infertility. We did not know that. But immediately even before she set down, women gathered around her. They prayed for her just spontaneously, and then women began ministering to her and praying for her. So it led right into compassion ministry.

A women's ministry can organize a food ministry for when people are sick or when there's been a death. It was the helping hands ministry in our women's ministry that organized those women who would go and stay with Garrett so that Lenore and Royce could go to church on Sundays, and that's huge.

When someone begins to be so overwhelmed with a particular situation, sometimes by necessity they isolate. Sometimes for protection they isolate. But having women come and do that, and Royce and Lenore being able to sit in church together each Sunday was huge in their marriage surviving and thriving during this time.

And then special events. You can use special events in your women's ministry. If they are special events with a purpose, they can both cultivate community and they can equip women for compassion. For example, you might have a special event, and you can have a different theme.

We give you lots of ideas in the notebook. But you may have a panel of women who represent different seasons of life or different kinds of suffering, and you ask them questions about what did women do to help you, or what was hurtful to you when you're in this season or in this time of suffering. What has the Lord taught you about Himself? As you do that, immediately women begin connecting with these women and you are equipping women because many will sit there and think, I never knew that that's what someone would need me to say or to do.

Last Christmas our event was titled "The Gift of Christmas," and one of the things we wanted to talk about is that because of the incarnation we should live incarnational lives. We should be giving out the gospel, the grace, that we've been given with the coming of Christ. And so on the invitations, we asked women to bring gifts for our local children's home—we had talked to them and they needed certain items, and so we listed those items. And we had teen girls from that children's home there.

And then Lenore gave an expanded version of the testimony that you just heard. But then someone else followed up and told about how Lenore is the giver of grace. And she told about last year at the True Woman Conference some of them were eating in the mall, and Lenore looked over and saw a young women sitting alone with a baby with a feeding tube. She just got up and walked over there and sat down beside that young woman and said, "I understand. My baby had a feeding tube."

And they began talking, and it turned out the young woman had no church, no family support. She was a single mom. All the other girls came around. Lenore prayed for her and talked to her about how important it was to be in a church, to know Jesus, and to have women ministering into your life. Now, our teen girls heard that. Other women heard it, and they just saw how the gift keeps giving.

Now, let's move into compassion, because the more you cultivate community through your Bible studies, through the special events I've been talking about, if you have Titus 2 discipleship groups—and that's another element that's in this notebook. If you're interested in small group discipleship, there's information and training in here for that. But you need to be prepared for what's going to happen or you're going to create chaos and confusion.

When things begin to be that safe for women to say, "I'm hurting with that, too." Or "It was safe for her to talk about it and I thought she had everything together, and so now I see it's safe for me. They won't reject me if they find out I'm struggling with that." When it gets safe, you're going to start hearing a lot of things, and you better be prepared what to do with that. When a woman says, "I think my husband's having an affair." Or "I'm addicted to painkillers or to alcohol." Or whatever comes along.

I want to give you some keys just to remember and to really think very intentionally about. And you will notice that it begins and ends with prayer, and it really should have prayer in between all the way. Your women's ministry leadership must be praying about this before you need it. Be praying that you'll be prepared, that you'll be equipped, and that the Lord will protect you as you deal with these things.

The second and third pieces are prevention and preparation. When you're discipling women about being a life-giver, when you're discipling them that their purpose is God's glory, you're going to prevent a lot of crises. Or if they happen, you're going to be preparing women to function in the midst of that as we've been hearing about this weekend—to function when they're in the boat knowing that Jesus built the boat, He put them in it, and He put the boat in the storm. So that's the kind of thing we need to be preparing women for.

Years ago when I first began speaking about the Titus 2 mandate for women to be involved and investing in other women, a counselor was sitting in the audience at one of those events. And she came to me afterward and she said, "If women in a local church really heard what you're saying about spiritual mothering," which is what I call the Titus mandate, she said, "I would have fewer clients and the ones I have would need me less time."

Preparation and prevention are huge. I've listed some life-giver questions or we also call them our Titus 2 discipleship questions. As you're training women to ask these questions, "What will it mean to glorify God in this situation and relationship? What will it mean to bring this situation under the authority of God's Word rather than my feelings?" You see, these are questions that drive them to Jesus, to the gospel, and not just to looking at their circumstances but looking at Jesus. "Are there ways I'm being a life-taker in this relationship? What will it mean to be a life-giver? And how can my sisters help me and how can I help them to be a life-giver?"

And then the final thing is protocol. And please hear me on this. Way before you need to do this, you do it in order to prepare. The women's ministry leadership should have conversations with the pastor about what do we do when a woman in one of our small groups says, "My husband is having an affair." Or whatever the crisis is. "I've had an abortion in my past, and I'm coming unglued about it, because I've never dealt with it." What do we do with that?

We must know what our church leaders want us to do and how they are prepared to handle it. And it may even be that asking the question will cause them to realize they're not prepared. And so they may have to say, "Put the brakes on. We need to get ready for this before it happens." But do not expect more from your church leaders than they are prepared to give. Because if we go into this with these expectations that the church is going to fully take care of every woman with a problem and we raise that level of expectation among our women, they're not going to be able to solve every woman's problem.

So we've got to be very careful that we're managing that well so that we do not create conflict between women and the church leaders. So have that conversation. Be sure that it's clarified how far do we take them before we hand them off, before we say to them, "You really need to go talk with the pastor." Or does the pastor want them to go talk to whomever and how will that be done? So please be sure that you've done that.

It's a wonderful thing if your pastor will come in and actually be involved in part of the training with any of your women's ministry leaders and your small group leaders so that he can say to them, "This is the way our church manages this." And it may be that there's simply not staff to manage it but that they hand it off to some counselor. I don't know what it will be, but whatever it is do not try to deliver more than your church is prepared to deliver.

A culture of caring takes a very long time and sustaining it takes a lot of energy. But very simply, it begins first, if you're married and you're a women's leader, it starts with you cultivating community and compassion in your marriage. You cannot circumvent the marriage. And then with the leadership team cultivating that strong safe place for one another, that the team itself can say, "I'm coming apart and I don't even know if I can do what I'm responsible for doing for our next event." And so the team becomes a safe place for her to say that.

And then that the team begins cultivating community, cultivating relationships with the church leaders by supporting them, by saying, "What can we do to help you?" By sending them notes of encouragement and of appreciation. And then you're ready. You've got to spend a lot of time doing that. Then you're ready to begin equipping women and equipping women to serve not just other women, but when women are doing that well they will serve the entire church.

I've been privileged to watch a local church do this in a beautiful way over the last several months. About a year ago a pastor approached me and said, "Will you come help us start a women's ministry?" And I've asked Diane Hubbard to come. She is the coordinator of their women's ministry, and it has been wonderful watching that. They're actually kicking it off and launching it next month. And so Diane's just going to tell us a little bit about what's happening.

Diane Hubbard: Whew. Okay. Having to follow that is quite daunting. But I wanted to start off with a few Bible verses that have given me strength and what God has really shown me since I was given the task to be the leader of the women's ministry. And I'm sure that you have all heard this before, but it has just had special meaning in my life. It's Proverbs 3:5–6 where it says, "Trust in the LORD with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Amen.

That's exactly what it is. And I wanted to start with this because it is God that is doing the work. And I am a living proof that God does the work, because if you had asked me last year if I would be here doing—I totally understand when God wants to take you places that you did not expect to go. But He is the One that's doing the work. And no matter what resources you use, no matter how great they are, you have to lay your plans at God's feet.

So I started this journey reading the book Women's Ministry in the Local Church by Susan, and it transforms your thinking just like you've heard today about women's ministry. And what I love is that it starts on the very first page of the first chapter, she cuts to the chase. She says, "The subject of the book is not women. It is the church of the Lord Jesus." Okay? The theme is that it's not consumer oriented or about us, it's about the Kingdom. It is kingdom oriented.

And using this book as well as ... this is my personal copy. I even brought it here, because I'm just afraid to be without it for right now. It really does give you all that you need. She gives you step-by-step instructions if you're starting a women's ministry or if you just want to do an overhaul of a women's ministry. It gives you study guides for the two books that she showed you.

But using these resources, I was able to develop a proposal to our elders, and we have had a women's ministry in the past. So I'm having to battle those old frustrations and maybe those old feelings where we let our church down a little bit. But knowing that it's different, that it's God we're focusing on. It's not about the women. And that give such confidence to our elders and our deacons. We've been submitting our plans and everything so that we can have that submission to our male headship, which is God-ordained. That is very important, ladies.

And this book gives you guides. Our women's ministry team, like she said, we divided all of our elders and deacons. We pray for them and send them encouraging letters letting them know we were praying for them. We got back, one of the wives said, "Thank you so much. That meant so much to us. "

This kind of tells you why you need a ministry and what it should be. This kind of gives you how to do it, as well as the developing a Titus 2 discipleship group. And this book, Leadership, as you see all of my tabs, Leadership for Women in the Church, gives you, I've given all of my leadership team members a copy of this book, because it gives very practical advice on how we as women can be leaders in our church and fulfill our creation design, but also to be able to obey God's ordained headship, male headship in our church, which is a very tricky situation.

So like she said, we are at the process of unveiling our ministry next month and hopefully will have many ways where women can sign up for prayer ministry, meal ministry, card ministry, things to where the huggers and the doers feel like they can serve. And we hope to have our Titus 2 ministry up and running in January.

So I just proposed our women's ministry to our elder board this past month. Next month I and our Titus 2 leader will be presenting the Titus 2 proposal for our church in front of our elder board as well as a list of women who we believe are qualified to be leaders. That's very important. You need to make sure that you're picking women that are qualified. And our elders know more about ladies that we have no idea. So this needs to be prayed over. They need to agree.

So we're just very excited. So as God is our Ezer, I mean He is our Helper. With Him and using these resources that Susan has developed, He's just blessed it so far and we are ready to get going. So thank you.

Susan: That has come from Diane. Our daughter is on her leadership team. So I know probably more than Diane realizes I know, because my daughter will call me just after every meeting. She's so excited. But she told me how that at one of their meetings ... and she did not really know many of the other women on the leadership team before. But she has gotten to know them, and she has just come alive in being part of this. But Diane had asked the question of the women, "What is something sort of quirky about you?" And just as each one of them was telling that, some barriers were broken down and they just laughed together and they got to know one another better.

But some of them it was like, dishes being stacked in the sink, they couldn't stand that and different things. Well, it got to Diane, and Diane said, "None of those things bother me. But they bother my husband, and so I really try to do them. And my husband loves to have his jeans ironed and I don't know why, so I iron his jeans. I've started to iron his jeans." And she said, "I got a text from him that said, 'I'm loving this women's ministry stuff.'" That's community.

If it is a life-giving ministry, the men in the church, the husbands, will be all over themselves supporting it. They really will. If it is a life-taking ministry, you will probably do damage that it mean it will be years before some pastors, and they may never want a women's ministry in their church. Remember that.

Now, the brochure that you have, there is an 800 number there, there are resources. The notebook that we keep referring to is right down here. It doesn't look exactly the same here, but it's Women's Ministry Training and Resource Notebook. They are in the resource center. You can also order them from Revive Our Hearts or you can call this number.

Ladies, thank you so much for hearing about this topic. I want to pray for you and for your churches. And then we are asking that you move as quickly as possible into the meeting room because the next final session will begin at 2:15.

Let's pray. Father in heaven, I thank You for every church represented in this room. And I pray that as women go back to their churches that You will give them perhaps one or two other women who will want to start praying and thinking about how women's ministry can cultivate a culture of caring to encourage and equip women, disciple women for ministries of community and compassion. Father, I pray that churches will be blessed because women have been here, that marriages and relationships will be blessed. We thank You so much for the gospel You've entrusted to us, and may we be faithful in sharing that gospel with others. In Jesus' name, amen.