National Leaders Share Their Hope for 2019

The new year signals it’s time to clean the slate and make a fresh start. Blank calendar pages invite promise and hope for the coming months. We’re jumping at the chance to help you run your race in 2019, so leave us a comment of how we can pray for you!

Making plans for your spring Bible study? Revive Our Hearts is excited to announce our latest Women of the Bible study, Elizabeth: Dealing with Disappointment. This six-week study explores the triumph and trials of disappointment through the eyes of Elizabeth recorded in Luke 1. It’s ideal for both individual and group study. Get your copy! Leslie Bennett, Women’s Ministry Initiatives

Imagine a women’s ministry where women are . . .

  • Bearing gospel fruit for God’s glory.
  • Being transformed into life-givers.
  • Loving God, His Word, His people, and the lost.
  • Living in unity that witnesses to the world.
  • Echoing God’s heart for the world.
  • Building community in love and transparency.
  • Bearing one another’s burdens.
  • Calling each other to a standard of holiness.
  • Running the race together with eyes set on Jesus.
  • Remaining steadfast in God’s unchanging Truth.
  • Deeply rooted in biblical theology.
  • Becoming disciples and making disciples who impact God’s kingdom.
  • Throwing off everything that hinders, including the sin that so easily entangles.
  • Serving with Christ’s humility and grace.
  • Worshiping the One seated at the right hand of God’s throne.

Does this vision sound like a pie-in-the-sky dream, or could it actually become a reality in 2019? Eight national women’s leaders believe there’s no vision that is impossible for God; absolutely nothing is beyond the stupefying power of a God who breathes His life-giving Spirit into lifeless bones.

What are you dreaming to see God do through your ministry in the next year? Will you dare to take God at His Word and ask Him for an unimaginable, inconceivable work that defies human explanation? Here’s your ticket to dream big, pray big, and expect God-sized results in 2019 . . .

Karen Hodge, author, pastor’s wife, enCourage podcast host, Women’s Ministry Coordinator for the Presbyterian Church in America

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:24–25).

My personal prayer for myself and the women I serve is for nothing less than LIFE! I long for Christ to transform us into life-givers in our words, deeds, and attitudes. The life-giving aroma of the gospel flowing through us spreads a contagion that has the potential to change the trajectory of lives, homes, churches, workplace, and communities (2 Cor. 2:14–16).

There are no shortcuts; we have to die to live. Death is sacrificial and costly and, as Jesus reminds us, daily. It is painful and scary, but it is also necessary and glorious for His life to be formed in us. As women progressively die to self, and abide in Jesus, they will bear gospel fruit for His glory. It is becoming like Him in His death so that others may see Him in us. Apart from this we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Melissa Kruger, author, blogger, Director of Women’s Content at The Gospel Coalition, Women’s Ministry Coordinator at Uptown Church

My hope and vision for the women in my church in 2019 is that they would grow in their love for God, His Word, His people, and the lost. In the midst of busy lives and an increasingly connected world, I pray that we take the time to disconnect so that we can rest in God’s goodness as we reflect upon His graciousness to us in Christ. I hope that the Lord’s love for us will overflow from our lives as we love our friends, spouses, children, parents, neighbors, and coworkers—all to the glory of God. May His name be praised. May His will be done. May His kingdom come.

Kelly King, Women’s Ministry Specialist at Lifeway, former Director of Women’s Ministries

I believe the Lord desires for His followers that we encourage one another, embrace who He is, and echo His heart for the world. It’s the same vision the Lord laid on my heart many years ago, and I’m not sure it will change. We encourage one another in the faith, we disciple others to have an intimate relationship with Him through His Word, and we go and tell others about the gospel.

Practically, this means each of us should invest in other women by building community with one another through love and transparency. We should have the freedom to bear one another’s burdens and call one another to a standard of holiness. I pray that this will not just happen next year, but for many years to come.

Laura González de Chávez, biblical counselor, speaker, Director of Aviva Nuestros Corazones

The world and its philosophies constantly attempt to define us as women, seducing us to think and act in ways that are not in accordance with God's ways. The pendulum of the culture shifts continuously from one extreme to the other; even our own circumstances and seasons change. Not only the culture, but also mainstream evangelicalism, try to convince us to stand for our rights, demand to be heard, as well as redefine, empower, and promote ourselves.

My vision and heart for the women’s ministry of the local church is that it becomes a beacon of light where women come together under His authority in order to be refocused, re-oriented, and encouraged toward our holy calling. It should be a place where women connect and disciple each other in order to be taught and reminded of the foundational truths of who we are in Christ. It should be the place where women are encouraged to remain steadfast in the Truth of the immutable Word of God as we fellowship and run this race together, arm in arm, with our eyes set on Him.

Susan Hunt, author, speaker, pastor’s wife, women’s ministry pioneer, former Director of Women’s Ministries for the Presbyterian Church in America

My vision for women’s ministry is shaped by Jesus’ prayer and provision for His Church.

“That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one” (John 17:21–22).

Our unity is a witness that God sent Jesus. Women have an incredible ability to set the tone of a home and church. When the first man and woman sinned, God promised a Savior. Adam affirmed his belief in this promise of life by naming his wife Eve, which means life-giver. The one who became a life-taker because of sin is declared a life-giver because of grace. Redeemed women have the capacity to be life-givers in every relationship and situation because He has given us His glory, His Holy Spirit.

Without the Spirit, we are life-takers who cultivate division. By the power of the Spirit, we can be life-givers who cultivate unity. My prayer is that women’s ministries will disciple women to be life-givers.

Nancy Guthrie, Bible teacher, speaker, author, Help Me Teach the Bible podcast host at The Gospel Coalition

As someone who grew up saturated in the Bible, when I began to hear preaching and teaching that was saturated in biblical theology, I realized needed to go back to kindergarten in terms of understanding it. I wanted to understand it in the way Jesus taught it to His disciples when “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

Since then, I’ve been on a mission not only to understand the Bible this way myself but also to infiltrate women’s Bible studies in the local church with biblical theology. I often look at church websites to see what studies are being offered to the women of the church or in adult Sunday School classes, and I am often disheartened to discover studies that are felt-needs driven, studies with little biblical or theological rigor, and studies oriented around self-improvement.

My hope for women in 2019 is they will gain a firmer grip on the story the Bible tells about Christ from Genesis to Revelation. Biblical theology keeps us from ignoring large chunks of the Bible that are difficult to understand. It helps us to better understand challenging passages in the Bible. And it helps us to focus more on what the Bible says about what Christ has done than about what we must do.

Chris Adams, former Senior Lead Women’s Ministry Specialist at Lifeway, women’s ministry pioneer, author, speaker, adjunct professor, consultant

For the last forty-plus years I have served in some capacity of women's ministry. For me, the vision has never changed. We must lead women to be in the Word to grow as disciples. To me discipleship is a matter of the heart, not only of effective women's ministry but also of the Church as a whole. The last thing Jesus told His followers was to "go therefore and make disciples" (Matt. 28:19). To make disciples, we must first be disciples.

There is a growing excitement today among women to study Scripture, and that thrills my heart! As leaders grow in Christ and disciple others to do the same, the local church is changed and the kingdom is impacted. This year let's pray for God to do a mighty work in our women, in our church, in our community, and in our world as we study God's Word and choose to submit to and obey what He says to us. No other way can we counter the secular culture of today and show women how He can transform us into strong women of God.

Judy Dunagan, blogger, former Director of Women’s Ministry, Acquisitions Editor for Moody Publishers women's books and discipleship resources.

The opening words of Hebrews 12 echo my heart’s cry and prayer for women’s ministry in the local church for this new year:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (vv. 1–2 NIV).

Oh, that we as ministry leaders would remember the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. Like them, may we throw off everything that is hindering us from being His Church, including the sin that so easily entangles us. Like Jesus, may we run the race that He has marked out . . . just for us. May we fix our eyes on Jesus as we serve with the humility and grace He has shown us, until the day we join the cloud of witnesses, and worship the One who is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. This is my prayer.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author, syndicated radio Bible teacher, President of Revive Our Hearts, offers this prayer for all of us who are serving in the trenches of ministry to reach our generation with the true hope of the gospel. Consider printing Nancy’s prayer list to continue praying throughout the year . . .

Heavenly Father, we turn to You to supply all that we need to serve You each day of 2019. My prayer is:

  • That we as leaders will love Jesus above all else.
  • That we will serve Him and others with humility and joy and in dependence on the power of the Spirit.
  • That we will genuinely love and care for the women we are called to serve, including those who are “in the shadows” or hard to love.
  • That we will elevate and seek to anchor women in the Word of God.
  • That we will model and nurture a culture of practicing the “one anothers” of Scripture.
  • That we will aim to see women grow in love—earnest, sincere love for Jesus, for His people, and for His work in the world.
  • That we and the women we serve will be healthy in body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23)—free from fear of man, comparison, shame, self-loathing, and inordinate self-love; and that we will foster grace-filled, life-giving relationships.
  • That we will encourage and equip women to live fruitful lives—to serve others according to their God-given gifts and their season of life, to be engaged in cross-generational discipleship relationships, to point believers and nonbelievers alike to the gospel, and to extend the mercy and compassion of Christ to those in need.
  • That we will experience the presence and peace of Christ “at all times in every way” (2 Thess. 3:16).

Lord, may it be so.

How are you hoping and praying for your ministry in 2019? Leave us a comment so we can pray with you!

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About the Author

Leslie Bennett

Leslie Bennett

Leslie Bennett served as a Director of Women’s Ministries for a dozen years prior to joining Revive Our Hearts in Women’s Ministry Initiatives. She is also the content manager of the Revive Our Hearts' Leader Connection blog and editor of two ebooks: Women’s Ministry Leader Survival Guide and 10 Truths to Set Leaders Free.

The Lord captured Leslie’s heart for biblical womanhood and revival at the national True Woman conference in 2008. Since then, she’s been spreading the message of how a woman’s femininity adorns the gospel wherever God sends her. Spend a few moments with Leslie, and you’ll catch her passion for the Word, prayer, revival and discipleship. She and her husband Mac live in the S.C. Lowcountry where she loves drinking sweet tea and encouraging women to treasure Christ above all.

Contact Leslie at LBennett@ReviveOurHearts.com

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