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Women gather to learn about women’s ministry leadership

RAPID CITY, S.D. (BP)–About 20 minutes from Mount Rushmore’s stoic tribute to the leadership of four men from America’s past, a group of women gathered to learn how to passionately lead other women into a Christ-filled future.

Westside Baptist Church in Rapid City, S.D., hosted LifeWay Christian Resources’ Women Reaching Women training event April 8-9, opening its doors to a diverse group of 60 women ranging widely in age, attitude, background and denomination, but all sacrificing some of their precious time to learn more about starting a women’s ministry.

LifeWay ministry multiplier and Women Reaching Women speaker Martha Lawley said the women who made time to participate in the conference understood that “God wants us to set our clocks on Kingdom time.”

While busy wives, mothers and career women often avoid becoming involved in women’s ministry because they don’t think they have the spare time, that isn’t a viable excuse, Lawley said.

“God has the right to interrupt your life,” Lawley said during Saturday morning’s worship. “I suggest that you let Him if you want to live a life of purpose.”

The conference featured breakout sessions led by Lawley, from Worland, Wyo., and LifeWay ministry multiplier Karen Finke of Independence, Mo.

“We’re here to help you go back and be the best women’s ministry leaders you can be,” Finke told the crowd during Friday’s opening worship. “God has you here for a specific purpose. I don’t believe any of us are here by accident.”

As Finke and Lawley taught the women about women’s ministry and how to begin them in their own churches, Finke said she watched the “lights going on” for various conference participants.

“There’s always a segment going ‘I get it,’” Finke said, adding that usually at least one person receives much-needed confirmation for her ministry from the conference. “It makes all the airports and carrying luggage worthwhile.”

Most of the women at the conference also had attended Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live event in Rapid City in mid-March. The LifeWay-sponsored event helped ignite a desire to pursue other opportunities in women’s ministry training, organizers said.

“I think there’s a lot of potential in [the Rapid City] area,” said LeeAnn Den Otter, who attended Women Reaching Women and Living Proof Live with two of her nursing co-workers. “Seeing 3,000 women at Living Proof Live was really encouraging and showed that [women’s ministry] really could happen here.”

Most of the women attending the conference came from small churches without a strong, if any, women’s ministry. Finke, however, assured the women that small churches have something to offer women, just on a smaller scale than larger churches.

Finke said starting a women’s ministry most importantly requires prayer. In fact, she taught an entire breakout session on “Prayer: Foundation of Women’s Ministry.”

Between breakout sessions and worship time, the women fellowshipped with one another over ice cream sundaes and homemade meals. While she enjoyed the breakout sessions, Den Otter said simply spending time networking with other women provided much-needed encouragement.

“[Networking] renews the enthusiasm you have for the Lord,” she said. “It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re isolated from the body of Christ. I may be a finger, but I want to know what the toe is doing.”

Finke addressed other aspects of getting a women’s ministry off the ground in breakout sessions on “Women’s Ministry Basics: Why Have a Women’s Ministry?” and “Women’s Ministry Basics: How to Start a Women’s Ministry.”

As the weekend progressed, participants grew bolder with their questions and more determined in their goal to kick-start a women’s ministry at their own churches.

“We’re hungry for the Word,” said Diana Bricker, the city coordinator for the event and for Living Proof Live. “We’re hungry to come together from different denominations and walks of life.”

After all the planning and preparation that went into the weekend she catered and helped organize, Bricker said she would consider the weekend a success if conference participants left with simply a desire to start women’s ministries.

“I hope that women here will want to serve women and others,” Bricker said.
For more information about future Women Reaching Women training events, visit www.lifeway.com and look under the “events” menu.

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  • Brooklyn Noel