Women of the Way is nothing new. The gathering of women from different congregations to seek God and encourage each other is not a novel idea. There may be fresh faces and energy, but the movement is not new.
Many of you (in the Lincoln County area) may remember the After Five Club that started in the late 1970’s, where for several years, Christian women would meet at the Country Club or a restaurant to invite and share their faith with unchurched women. These ladies hoped that meeting at a public place would draw women who might not feel comfortable in a church setting. They also held prayer coffees on a regular basis. “Many lives were changed in Fayetteville, lives rededicated and some ladies were saved.”
What you may not realize is that this ministry has its roots with one Irish immigrant woman from California in the early 1930’s. Mrs. Helen D. Baugh was a preacher’s daughter who passionately shared God’s Word, sang, and evangelized in rural towns all over California with her two sisters. When she became a wife and homemaker, she began prayer groups of women in their homes and also started a gathering called The Christian Business Women’s Council of America which was a dinner program to present the Gospel to career women. This ministry eventaully became known as Stonecroft Ministries which spread nation-wide as well as into several countries. In 1967, the After Five Christian Women’s Club, evening outreach groups for women, were introduced and finally reached our area in the late 70s.
A small group of women from that ministry in our town still exists, and they still meet once a month in each other’s homes for Bible study and coffee. I was honored to meet some of the ladies (and some I already knew but didn’t know they were apart of this group) a few months ago. It was such a blessing to hear about how these women from different churches, different denominations have been gathering for so many years to pray, study, and encourage each other. What a beautiful example of the Body of Christ!
So, Women of the Way may not be new idea. Ok, it may even be a reinventing of an old idea if you will. But how cool is that?!? I am in awe of such a legacy. A legacy that began with one woman who simply loved to share the love of God and to pray with other women and spread into a ministry of thousands of women who advanced the Kingdom of Heaven!!
If you have ever been a member of the local Christian Women’s Club, thank you for your dedication and ministry to our community. Thank you for your dedication to God.
As we prepare for Women of the Way 2015, I pray we are as passionate about advancing His Kingdom as Helen D. Baugh was almost 100 years ago. I pray we are united in one heart and one mind, despite our doctrinal differences just like these wonderful women in our community, to focus more on Who unites rather that What divides us to becoming passionate, devoted followers of Christ!
PS…if you are interested in the Christian Women’s Club, contact me and I’ll get you the info!