Ministry is Not About Me

I’ve been doing church ministry most of my life in some form or another- about 30 years, give or take.

Even though I’ve been doing this all my life, I’ve been guilty of taking my eyes off the true purpose and goal of serving in the church. If I’m not careful, I can start to view ministry as this trophy that I’ve earned as a badge of honor. I’m tempted to take my trophy and put it up on a high shelf for all to see how much good I’m doing in my ministry.

Of course, I have sincere intentions. Yes, I want God to be glorified by my ministry. I want God to have the place of honor like the top of the trophy has a shiny star or golden statue. But, if I were really honest, I also want my ministry to be the be the pedestal on which that trophy is placed. My ministry grows out of proportion as my focus gets too big on myself and overshadows the real purpose of the trophy.

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Then, something doesn’t go right. Something doesn’t feel right.

I don’t feel as effective in my ministry. I don’t get recognized as doing a good job. Or, people don’t seem to be getting anything out of my serving or contribution. At least, that’s how it seems. Am I’m losing my touch?

This causes me to step back and ask some questions. Why am I doing ministry? Am I still called to serve in this way? Does God still want me in this ministry?

It’s time to get honest. It’s time to peel back the layers and discover the motivations for why I do ministry. It’s time to examine this trophy I’ve created to see what lies at the heart of it.

Prayerfully, I seek God for the answers. And, He graciously, lovingly gives them.

Ministry is not about me.

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First, Ministry is not about what I like to do.

The purpose of my serving in ministry shouldn’t be because it’s something I’m passionate about doing. True, one’s greatest ministry can take place where there is great passion. It’s totally ok to be passionate about serving, but it shouldn’t be the motivation for why I’m participating.

Take, for example, planning retreats and conferences for women. I LOVE it. I love all aspects of it- the planning, the details, shaping a schedule, bringing women together for a specially crafted time together…..all done by me!

I have to stop and ask myself this question: Do I love planning the event, and everyone telling it was great, and that I am great? OR Do I want these women to have a sincere encounter with God? The first makes my ministry the focus of the “trophy”, and the second makes the focus on God and His Glory.

Second, Ministry is not about my gifts, skills, or talents.

I love playing music and singing so I’ll do that for ministry. I love teaching, so I’ll teach. I love cooking, so I’ll cook as my ministry and so on. God has given me some wonderful talents and abilities. I have been given the opportunities to develop skills to be used for Him. But, ministry is not a venue for using my skills and talents. Ministry is not supposed to be a place to display my gifts on a platform. Again, the subtle trap I fall into is that using my gifts for others to see ends up being my goal. I may not say this out loud, but it’s in my heart. Again, God generously gives gifts and talents to equip me for ministry, but those gifts are not the primary purpose of ministry. They aren’t meant to be seen for their own sake. Those gifts, skills and talents are meant to be used as the vehicle for loving people and lighting their way to God’s Glory.

Women of the Way 2018

Finally, ministry is not about making me feel good or special or admired or accepted.

Somewhere deep down, if I’m really honest, I bring to light what I’m really thinking and feeling. If I do this ministry, I’ll feel good about myself. God will accept me. I’ll get accepted by all those people around me. This trap is the biggest and easiest of them all, because I want my ‘trophy’ to get the most attention. I do ministry because I want to feel better about myself. Sure, I want to do this for God, and I want to help people. But, I also want to be liked or admired for doing it. I want to feel successful and useful. I want people to cheer for me. Somehow, when they do this, it must mean that God approves!

In truth, all those benefits can and do happen. God is so gracious. He allows me to reap all the benefits of working for Him. But then, I forget what’s it supposed to be all about. I forget the goal of ministry is not to make me feel good. The goal is to bring people to God!

True ministry is an overflow from being with God.

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I spend time with God, and then He uses my gifts and talents as a vehicle to get His Love to other people. The cool bonus is that I really love it, and it makes me feel good doing it. The real payoff, though, is seeing God move and standing amazed at what He can accomplish through me. My true motivation, then,  for pursuing ministry is to see other people’s lives changed! When that happens, I don’t need for my ministry trophy to be seen! I push that trophy back to its proper place so that God gets all the glory and attention!

What about you?

Do you love ministry? Do you love what you do in church? If you were honest, would it be possible that some of your motivations could be self serving and trying to promote your own trophy?

Would you like to pursue this self examination further?

Here’s a small study series called “3 Signs You Need to ReNew Your Ministry”. In it, I ask you 3 questions to help you reflect on why you are serving in the church. This study is an overflow of asking myself these same questions in order to put my ministry in its proper place. I hope it’s helpful to you! Sign up here: “3 Signs You Need to ReNew Your Ministry”

~Amy

 

 

 

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Are you using God instead of getting to know God?

Sometimes, I find it hard to read the Gospels. I grew up hearing and reading all the stories of Jesus. They feel so familiar. I scim over the passages because I’ve heard them over and over again. I don’t see anything new, so I keep going to something else.

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Photo credit Julie Anna Johnson, WoW2013

I find, in recent years, I lean towards reading other passages of Scripture like the letters, proverbs and psalms. I asked myself this question. “Why do I have such a hard time reading the Gospels?”Here’s what came back to me:

Often, I’m reading Scripture to see what I can get out of it for myself.

As a “good” Christian disciple, I study the Bible looking for what’s going to help me be more Christ-like.  What can I apply to my life? What’s going to make me feel joy and live in peace? That’s what we’re supposed to do, right? The Bible is our guide, our road map, our instruction manual. We are supposed to be learning, absorbing, digesting the Word of God and living it out! I do. I love it!

When it comes to the Gospels, however, the focus is solely on Jesus. Yes, so much truth and teaching can be harvested and gathered for me to apply to my life. I’m not diminishing that at all. They show us who Jesus is, how he lived, his example for us to follow.

But sometimes, I need to simply read the Bible just to get to know Jesus- that’s it!

So, that makes me ask another question, “In other areas of Christian life, how much of what we do is for God, or is it for us?”

Music…do you listen to that Christian music because it makes you feel good or is it bringing you into God’s presence?

Church….do you go to church to see what you can get out of it or what the service can do for you? Or, do you prepare yourself for what you can give at church?

Bible studies, volunteering, attending classes, events, communion…do you do all those activities because of what it can do for you or how it makes you feel?

In ministry, are you studying, praying, searching for only what you can use in your sermon or your class? Do you consume Christian material only so you can have something to output?

If we’re not careful, those of us who live in a Christianized culture can fall into the rut of doing these good and right activities because that’s what is expected of us as “good Christians”. We can do these things out of obligation or “that’s just what we do” mentality. We might even be selfishly thinking ‘What’s in it for me?’ We can get too focused on what we’re doing and forget about Who or Why we’re do it. Sounds a bit like the religious Pharisees, doesn’t it? ouch.

I’m guilty of this……I’ll read an article and reference it for a blog post. I’ll hear something on the radio and think ‘I’ll use that in my Wed class’. I’ll hear somebody say something and I’ll think ‘that will be good for the next worship service’.

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Of course, all these activities, disciplines, and pursuits are what we’re supposed to be doing. Of course, we need these disciplines to keep us going in the right direction. We’re always going to be human, and we need these tangibles to help us develop a relationship with God. I’m not suggesting we throw out our studies, music, or activities. No! We need to do these things….yes God grows us and develops us. And YES, we are supposed to seek Him for what to say and do in life and in ministry. He uses all of these practices to communicate in us and through us. But be careful not to fall into the rut of using these things solely for your benefit.

If you find that you might be using God instead of knowing God, I’ve written a Bible study that could help:

3 Signs You Need to ReNew Your Ministry

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This short study sent to you by a series of emails will help you examine your relationship with God, your ministry, and those around you. It will give you some encouragement in knowing Jesus better.  You will have a better understanding of how your relationship with God is the driving force behind your ministry and how that ties into loving people.

I’d love for you to join me! Sign up here for this *free* Bible Study.

I’m looking forward to getting to know Jesus better. Hope you are too!

~Amy

How I learned not to need ministry more than God….

I don’t need ministry anymore, and I’ve never been more fulfilled!!

Stay with me…..

Early on in my 20’s, I was such a zealous thing. I grew up in a family where our lives revolved around ministry, and I loved it! I was the good-girl, preacher’s kid who didn’t rebel. I wanted more than anything to sing, teach, volunteer….anything! I genuinely wanted to serve God in a real and effective way.

Looking back, though, I was also striving. Hard. I wanted so badly to prove how much I loved and was dedicated to God. I sincerely thought that if I did all the right things…especially ministry, I’d make Him happy with me. I hoped to do enough, to be enough, so I could be accepted enough.

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Photo credit: Nancy Rutledge

As much as I loved ministry…I also needed it to prove myself acceptable. Somehow, people’s approval fueled my efforts and my need for affirmation. People’s approval equated God’s approval which also stirred the battle between insecurity and pride.

Slowly, but surely…..through years of learning how much God loves me and not needing to earn God’s approval, my perspective on ministry changed. I’ve grown into realizing that ministry is the fruit of what flows out of my relationship with God. Not the other way around! Ministry is the overflow of what God is doing in me, not what I can do to prove my faithfulness to Him.

I didn’t realize this maturing process was even happening. A few years ago, I was able to fill in for the worship leader at the church we had just began attending. She had experienced a personal tragedy and needed to take some time off from leading worship to recover. So, I was asked to fill in and was more than happy to do for her and the church. She was my friend, and I wanted to help her in any way I could. To my surprise, this temporary fill-in turned into a regular gig.

When this opportunity was laid before me, something very special became apparent….I didn’t need this ministry opportunity. I was excited and thrilled because I never thought I would get an opportunity like this! I thought my music days were over. But rather than this chance at ministry scratching some itch rooted in my ego or insecurity, or striving to make me more acceptable to God, it simply made me thankful to God that the door was open. Ministry could overflow because I didn’t need it anymore!!!

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Photo credit: Nancy Rutledge

Do you feel like you serve in your ministry out of need or out of overflow? Do you find that sometimes you love your ministry more than God?

Are you asking yourself, “Am I using God or getting to know God?”

If so, I have written a short Bible study to help you answer questions like this. This email study that comes right into your inbox, 3 Signs You Need to ReNew Your Ministry, will help you examine your relationship with God and how this affects your ministry and your relationship with people. It will help you reflect on your priorities and motivations in ministry and help you gain a clearer understanding for your purpose in ministry.

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If you feel you need your ministry a little too much, please join me on this journey together. Once you discover how you don’t need your ministry, then you’ll be effective than ever in the overflowing work God has invited you to do!

Sign up for 3 Signs You Need to ReNew Your Ministry here.

~Amy

What Keeps You From Intimacy with God?

What God wants most is your heart.

He is actively pursuing you. He has made a way for you to have an eternal relationship with Him. He knows you better than you know yourself.

So, what’s keeping you from intimacy with God?

In the name of being a good Christian, we do a lot of things for God. We do a lot of good things in the name of God. We somehow think if we check off all the right boxes of good behavior that God will be satisfied. At the very least, we do them because it’s what we’ve always done (if we’ve grown up in church or gone to church our whole lives).

Go to church. Check.

Pay tithes. Check.

Go to Bible study. Check.

Volunteer for Children’s Church. Check.

Cook meal for family. Check.

Read Bible. Check.

For a lot of people, they don’t even do everything that’s on this list, but that’s another issue for another day.

We do this Christian Checklist thinking this will make God happy. We’ve done our Christian duty, and we’re good to go.

But then something is missing deep in our souls which may even make us wonder if this Church thing is all there is. We long for more but can’t really put our fingers on it as to what’s missing.

Peter Scazzero calls this “Using God to run from God”- doing all the Christian things for the sake of God, all the while, not really having a deep relationship with God.

God never meant for it to be this way. Even in the Garden of Eden, God longed to walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. Then, the Fall happened, and they hid from God.  The whole epic story of the Bible has been how God intends to bring everything back to that initial state of intimacy.

How do you hide from God? How do you run from God? How do you keep God at arm’s length?

There are lots of reasons why someone would keep from God. Some deep questions that lie behind our arm’s length distance might be- “Can God be trusted?” “Is God good?” “Does God really want me?”

The answer to all those unspoken questions is YES!

But, I can’t convince you this is true. I can’t reason with you until the light bulb goes off in your head.

You’ve got to stop doing for God long enough to BE with God.

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(Don’t stop all those good things forever because they ARE good things, ok?)

I challenge you to get in a quiet place with no noise, no distractions, no interruptions and just sit before God. Do nothing but just think about God. Don’t ask for anything. Don’t pray about anything. It’s ok, you can do those things at another time. Just think about God’s Love, His Goodness, His Creation, His Character.

It won’t be easy at first, but it will be worth it.

If you need a some help, here’s a little thing I put together to help you with developing silence and solitude before God. After this week, the Summer Gardening Series will be tucked away until next summer since it’s now feeling like fall. I hope it helps.

Sign up here.

~Amy

What God wants most of all……

Remember when we talked about how much God delights in us? We also talked about how much God takes delight when we do what we were created to do.

We love to ‘do’ stuff. It makes us feel good when we ‘do’ something. We want to feel productive and successful and useful. It’s in our nature to ‘do’ stuff.

It’s no different when it comes to the worship of God.

We want to be about the business of doing something……so we sing, we serve, we give, we make.

In the process of all this doing, what is supposed to be worship of God becomes a whole lot of busyness. Somehow, a human being becomes a human ‘doing’.

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I’ve been guilty of this. I want so much to please God with all the good stuff I can do. I want Him to be happy with all the stuff I can produce as a good Christian should.

But God wants more than that. He wants my heart.

Yes, God wants me to do all those good things. In fact, He’s created me to do all those good things for His Glory. But, He doesn’t NEED me to do those things for Him.

What He wants is my heart. He wants me to just to be with Him. He wants intimacy. It’s hard to have intimacy with God when I’m busy running around doing all the time!

God wants intimacy with you like a husband and wife know each other. Does that seem a little weird? But, it’s true.

Well, how about God wants intimacy like a Father and a child. Yes, God wants that kind of closeness with you.

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Even still, God wants to be close to you like two brothers or two best friends.

There are a variety of ways that God describes His desire for intimacy with us, but the bottom line is He wants us to just ‘be’ with Him!

While I’m spending time with God, my mind can race with all the ideas of what I should be doing and all the things I need show accomplish. Even during my prayer, I talking out my plans with God.

But then I try to stop. “Hey Father God……I’m just going to stop and focus on You. You are all that matters right now.”

I have found that when I spend time just being with God it makes the things I do for God more effective. I feel more joyful and the doing flows more easily. It’s not an obligation or burden because being with Him overflows into the things I am doing.

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Getting up to the mountain to pray

One of my favorite worship songs says,

“I’ll bring you more than a song ‘

Cause a song in itself is not what you have required

You search much deeper within through the way things appear

You’re looking in my heart……

I’m coming back to the heart of worship cause it’s all about You,

It’s all about You, Jesus

Do you feel like God wants intimacy with you?

Do you get lost in a whirlwind of busyness and forget to spend time with God?

Are you a human ‘doing’ more than a human ‘being’?

Yes, God loves all those things you do. He made you to do those things to bring Him glory.

But what God wants MOST is to just be with you. What God wants MOST is your heart!

Take the time to be with God.

~Amy

If you need some ideas on how to be with God, try this little study guide I created. I know, summer is over, and it’s finally fall (yay!) So, this will be the last time I offer the Summer Gardening Series until next summer. It will help you discover some ways to practice being with God. Hope it helps. Sign up here!

 

God Delights in Me when I do this….

I am a list maker. I really like need to check my responsibilities off my list. I feel productive and effective when I am able to accomplish all the tasks on my list.

If I am not careful, I can make my Christian life a to-do list.

I mentioned before about all the things I’m supposed to do that will make God happy. If I want to please Him, I will make sure I do all the right things.

Read my Bible, pray, go to church, pay my tithes, serve, and volunteer- all these things are on my list.

Yes, all the these things are necessary to sustaining a proper relationship with God. All of these things are good. I enjoy them, and I like them. God is pleased when I do them. Great!

But, what if there was something more?

What if God not only is pleased when I do those good Christian responsibilities, but He is also  happy to see me do other things I’ve been created to do.

I was created to do all those good things. BUT…..there are also many other wonderful, enjoyable things I was also created to do. Stuff just for fun and enjoyment.

There are so many things that I SHOULD be doing, I feel like there’s never enough time for things that I LOVE doing. I am tempted to think that God will only approve if I do my responsibilities.

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Here’s the thing: God takes delight when I do what I love.

If I love creating music or baking or reading and if I get a great sense of joy from doing those activities, God takes great delight in my joy!

If my heart and spirit spring to life when I swim or dance, then God’s heart bubbles over when He sees me too!

My daughter started playing volleyball this year, and she really loves it. I told her that when she plays volleyball, it makes God happy to see her enjoying herself. Playing volleyball is worshipping God because she is doing what God created her to do. God delights in seeing her enjoy her sport.

God doesn’t want us to just do what we have to do or what we should do. He wants us to do what we love to do! When we do what we love to do, we are worshipping Him.

Imagine you give your child a special gift. You know this child will really love it because you know your child inside and out. You give it to him, and he loves it. But, the child is so busy doing all the things you told them to do- chores, study, clean up that they don’t feel they have time or should do those activities that might feel frivolous. The child is being dutiful and obedient, exactly what you want them to be. However, that special gift you gave him is stored up in the closet.

One rainy Saturday afternoon, you get the gift out of the closet and sit down with your child to explore it. As you play together, he starts to smile. His eyes light up. Joy breaks out over his face, and his body overflows with excitement! What happens to you? You delight in him because of his joy. You were right! That special gift was exactly what he wanted. What delight!

So, what is it that you love to do?

There is something you love, but you don’t feel like you can give yourself permission to enjoy it. Guess what?

When you don’t do those things that God created you to do, God is missing out on the great pleasure seeing you enjoy the great gift He’s placed in you!

Sure….we have to take care of our responsibilities. And yes, we learn to love the disciplines that cause our spirits to thrive even when our bodies protest. But, God created in us the desire to create and play and have fun so that we can enjoy life. We get so caught up in doing the right things, we run out of time for the fun things!

I love what Eric Liddell says, “God made me fast. And, when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

Take some time to enjoy what you love to do, and feel God’s delight in you!

Do you need some help finding out what you love to do?

Sign up for this *free* video course to help you ReNew your relationship with God. In it, I talk about ways you can develop ways to delight in God as He delights in you!

Sign up here!

~Amy

 

 

We’re supposed to delight in God, but does He delight in us?

It takes a lifetime to delight in God.

In my effort to live for Him, the struggle against my flesh to do the disciplines I know I’m supposed to do isn’t always easy.

I wrote back in the summer about discipline turning into delight which has been a beautiful journey. Like any relationship it takes intentional thought and practice to delight in someone. With learning any skill, it takes practice and work to develop habits for a quality spiritual journey. It’s worth it because, you know, it’s God.

Sometimes, I’m trying so hard to do Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” that I forget something critical. God delights in me too!

I get so wrapped up in myself being the one who is loving God with all my heart that I lose sight of the fact He takes way more delight in loving me!

God delights in me.

In my humanity, I’m trying to work for God’s love and acceptance. So, in my effort to make Him happy with me, I strive to do all the things I’m supposed to do.

Ok, I’ve got to read my bible because if I don’t, God won’t like it. I’ve got to pray or God won’t like it. I’ve got to go to church or God won’t like it. I’ve got to live right or God won’t like it.

But God is not like that.

God doesn’t withhold his favor until I do all the right things waiting for me to get in line in order for Him to be happy. No….

God delights in me.

When I pray , God is delighted. When I say pure words (Prov 15:26), God is delighted. When I have integrity  or am honest , God’s happiness for me bubbles over.

I don’t have to earn His favor. Instead, He cheers for me when I heading in the right direction.

I see it the same as with raising children. I don’t want my kids to do their chores because if they don’t I’m gonna be mad. I want to cheer for them when they’ve done their chores because it was the good and right thing to do. See the difference?

But that’s exactly what they’ve learned from me. “Uh oh, momma is gonna get mad if we don’t get it done”, and it’s obedience based out of fear.

It’s the same way with us and God. “Uh-oh, if I don’t do this, God isn’t gonna like it, and He’s gonna be mad at me.” We’ve got to obey or it’s going to get ugly.

Reading in Proverbs, there are so many verses that state how God delights in us. He delights in us when we pray (Prov 15:8), He delights in us when we are honest (Prov 12:22), He delights in us when have integrity (Prov 11:20).

Finally, I see His loving perspective. God is cheering for me when I do those things that are good for me and draw me closer to Him. He’s not waiting to zap me.

Lazy summer days are the best!
colorful sunset at the sea shore

Is this you?

Are you striving to do right and live right so as not to make God mad or upset?

Here’s the truth: God delights in you. He’s not waiting for you to get it right so He can delight in you. He already does.

And when you do those right and good things that we’re supposed to do as good Christians, you aren’t earning His Favor. He is already cheering for you!

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Jesus Christ Monument, Swiebodzin, Poland

Take heart-

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

How does this change your spiritual disciplines? How does this change your motivation to seek God?

I hope this encourages you like it has me!

If you could use some help, check out this Bible study, “3 Signs You Need to ReNew Your Ministry” Even if you don’t have a ministry, it talks about pursuing and seeking God with all your heart. By signing up, you’ll get the WoW monthly newsletter! Sign up here!

~Amy

 

Would All the MODERN Women of the Way Please Stand Up?

All month long I’ve been talking about how Women of the Way got its name, the very first Women of the Way, and a very inspirational Lincoln County woman who showed us what it means to be a passionate, devoted follower of Christ.

Now, let’s hear from you!

Who are the modern day women that set the example of being passionate and devoted in our time?

Ann Hatcher– Ann Hatcher serves as associate pastor of the Fayetteville First United Methodist Church. She was one of the first to say, “YES” to trying this idea of Women of the Way back in 2012.  Here’s what a friend had to say about Ann: “She simply oozes with the Lord of Jesus. After time with her I leave refreshed, encouraged, feeling like I belong and have a place.”

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Ann Hatcher with granddaughter

 

Tina Hudson– This wonderful lady serves as the administrator for Hope Assembly. She also founded and operates Hands of Mercy, a local food pantry for those in need. I love what was said about her as a Women of the Way: “Compassion flows from her like a river. She brings great strength and stability to those around her and lets His love flow through her!”

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Tina Hudson with son, Trevor

 

Trish Pierson–  Trish serves as the pastor’s wife at Stewart’s Chapel out in Vanntown. She spoke at WoW 2017. Here’s what her friend had to say, “Trish loves Jesus. When she talks about him her face lights up. She is encouraging, loves her husband and her family. She works hard at church, and when there is something that needs to be done, she serves. She teaches women and comes along side of us in pray.”

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Trish Pierson with friends.

Elizabeth Chaplin– This young Lincoln County native shared with us back at WoW 2017 about her preparations to do mission work in New Zealand. Her dream is finally taking shape as she left for her post this month on August 11th!

Elizabeth Chaplin
Making her way to New Zealand to share the Good News!

Here is what she says:

I’m having to really reflect on God’s sovereignty in my life and remember truth. I had no clue what I was getting myself into the last two times I went to New Zealand, yet, because all good things come from the God of infinite resources, I was able to do my job and love and point students to Christ. I’ve never been ready. I’ll never be ready. I simply have to be willing to step into what God is calling me to do and trust that He will use me to carry out His plan. Even the best preparations and degrees and courses and book knowledge and experience will fall flat if I am not walking in what God has prepared for me. It’s really comforting and freeing to realize that we are not Christ (John 3:28), and that apart from Him, we are nothing (John 15:5).

A Special E. B.- If you attend the WoW sessions for 2018, you’ll remember a young woman who shared with us her preparations for heading to the mission field in an undisclosed location. She couldn’t tell us much about where she was going and what she was doing with the International Teams organization. She is also a native Lincoln Count *triplet* who inspired that even a small town girl can do big things for God!

In the Field with E. B.
This photo was taken on the field for my confirmation trip with the team. Please pray for the Muslim world to be drawn Jesus! I’d especially ask for prayer over women in Islam who come to faith. God make them courageous!

She said,

Thank you for the opportunity to share just a glimpse of the vision for serving refugee women during WoW 2018. The gifts were a huge blessing and the encouragement from the ladies meant so much to me. I look forward to sharing more of God’s work among courageous women!

All of these women in their own unique way show us what it means to be passionate, devoted followers of Christ. There are so many more too. If I included all the women I knew just in Lincoln County alone, I could write a book about the amazing work God is doing through each of you!

It’s amazing to see how good God is through the beautiful hearts of women like these and so many more!

We’ve been inspired by remembering the first Women of the Way and how they were used to usher in the Kingdom of God. Could it be that those of us in this day and age are called to complete God’s work in His Kingdom? Are we the women who’s passion and devotion will be instrumental in bringing many around the world to Christ in these final days?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2

Keep being passionate and devoted. Keep oozing Jesus. Don’t stop pouring love out on the people around you. Go into all the world and spread the Gospel. Be brave and fearless. Bring Christ into every situation He leads you.

Be Women of the Way!

~Amy

This Lincoln County Woman from history inspires us to be Women of the Way

A very special post…….We’ve been talking about the First Followers of The Way and the First Women of the Way. Angie Gray, co-pastor of The Rock, Fayetteville campus, is sharing about an amazing woman of Lincoln County, Selina Moore Holman. This woman was a wonderful example of being a passionate, devoted follower of Christ in a day when women were expected to stay silent. Angie shares how Selina made a significant impact on her decision to join this wonderful community!

 

Who Can Find a Woman of Noble Character?

Eight years ago, when we were asked by our pastor to be the campus pastors of the Rock Family Worship Center Fayetteville Campus. I asked my husband to tell him “NO!” I was even angry with God. Why would I want to leave my home and the church family that I dearly loved? I began to research online about this little town called “Fayetteville”. My research revealed the early settlers came from Fayetteville, North Carolina to establish this city. I also discovered that “Fayette” was French for “faith”.  Seriously???…God was introducing me to FAITHville and I knew immediately what that would mean…He was about to take us on a journey of faith as He was calling us to this city of Faith.

So, my journey began with me delving into the rich history of this beautiful city.

As I looked at all of the demographics and researched famous people of Fayetteville, I discovered a courageous woman who made a tremendous impact on this region and even our wonderful state.

Her name was Selina Moore Holman and I truly believe she was a Proverbs 31 woman.

Selina Moore Holman

Selina was born in Dechard, TN in 1850. Her father J.L. Moore was a Captain in the Confederate Army and was killed in battle during the Civil War. She was the oldest of 5 children. She had 3 sisters and 1 infant brother when her father died. Her mother was forced to sell the family home when Selina was only 14 years old. So she did the only thing she knew to do since there were no male relatives in the picture – Selina began teaching in a county school and singlehandedly supported her family. Over the next few years she saved enough money to buy back her family home.

Selina married Dr. T. P. Holman of Fayettville, TN and became the mother of 8. She was born at a time that did not welcome other perspectives. It was a time of the emancipation of slaves – yet people still embraced an old mindset towards African Americans and Women. Yet, it was a time of progress for white males.

Selina took her faith in the Lord very seriously.

She testified to the unspoken distress of many women who were taught that they were inferior and a burden. Selina stated, “Mothers always wanted their children to be boys, because boys have so much better chance in life. Girls regretted that they were not boys, because then there would be some place in the world for them, at least until they were married. Girls were trained to believe that their lives were a failure if they did not marry.” So, it was a time when marriage and having children were the only real value for women.

Holman also said, “It was men, not women that gathered in council to actually debate if women had souls or not. The prejudices of heathenism cling to us in our attitudes toward women.”

Bobby Campbell who wrote about the Stone-Campbell Movement stated, “Selina did believe that the husband was the head of the wife…and that a woman’s greatest fulfillment was in having a wonderful home. But that home included a woman who was intelligent, cultured, involved in the world and was recognized as a person of value because she had value in and out of the home. Proverbs 31 was the New Woman! The new woman would produce better wives and mothers rather than hinder motherhood. Men had, for centuries lived far below the inspired Word of God in relation to women and it was only in her own day that many were coming to see what was in the Bible all along.”  

Selina took a stand in a day when women had no voice. She took on the religious and secular establishments and forced them to take a good look at themselves. Yet she did so with humility, gentleness, and respect… something she was rarely shown in return. This Fayetteville woman and her husband were members of Washington Street Church of Christ where her husband was an elder.

Selina became the President of the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement which grew from 200-4,000 women during her 15-year tenure as president. The state of Tennessee honored Selina Holman by placing her portrait in our state capitol. She died in 1915 and her funeral was conducted on her own lawn which drew over 1000 people. She is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery (on the left as you enter the gates, you can see the Holman family plot).

Selina is a woman of God that should not be forgotten. Her courage is an inspiration to women and men alike. Her legacy so impacted my life that she was influential in my “Yes” to the call from the Lord to come here. And like Selina, we all should take up the torch and stand for what is right even when it isn’t popular to do so. Women you have a voice – you are valuable to our Heavenly Father. You have so much worth in His Kingdom.

When I think about what Selina Moore Holman might say to us today in 2018……..

bodyofChrist
Women of the Way 2013

Well I think it would be something like this – Ladies, what are you waiting for? It’s time to take a stand for Christ every day – in big and small ways, in your homes and in your community, with your family and with your friends. If you’re afraid, that’s all right. Do it afraid and know that’s the place where faith meets fear and God shows up!

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is

deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord

is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her

works bring her praise at the city gate.” ~ Proverbs 31:29-31

~Angie

 

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Jesus would approve of a “Hall of Fame” for the FIRST Women of the Way?

If there were ever an elite hall of fame for Early Christians, the men included would be many. There would be Great men of history that did significant things to further the cause of Christianity. Hebrews Chapter 11 comes to mind with its list of great leaders of the faith from the Old Testament. The New Testament would have its own noteworthy contribution of great men of the faith as well.

art design gallery group
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Any Hall of Fame for Christians wouldn’t be complete without including the women who’ve made their mark in early church history and in the Christians faith. Even though Hebrews Chapter 11 doesn’t mention any women, and early Christian history doesn’t site the contributions of women very often, we know that Jesus would approve of a special wing in this Hall of Fame to honor to the women who were the first followers of THE WAY.

Through His relationships and communication with women in the gospels, Jesus elevated the status of women during His earthly ministry. Women were a significant part of his financial support. The followers of The Way included both men and women where the girls were just as vital to the ministry of Christ as the guys.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

This special wing of our Hall of Fame would include the very FIRST followers of the WAY. They would be the women who actually walked with Jesus, talked with Him, and participated in His ministry during His time on earth. These women must be honored for their whole-hearted passion and devotion to our Lord!

Of course, first in line would to be honored is Mary.

As the mother of Jesus, Mary was the first person ‘to carry the gospel’. We all rise and called her blessed because of her willingness to say yes and her obedience to being apart of God’s great plan of salvation. She knew being a Christ follower wasn’t a short term gig; she knew it was a lifelong commitment.

Mary and Martha were friends of Jesus.

Mary and Martha were not only followers of Jesus, but they were also friends of Jesus. They mirror back to us the common struggles of all women who long to balance what’s good with what’s best. They had a special connection with Jesus where he dined with them, sat with them, and wept when their brother died.

Woman with Alabaster Box worshipped deeply.

If you’ve ever had a debt paid or a loan forgiven, you have just a tiny glimpse what it could have felt like to be this woman. She was forgiven much so therefore, she loved deeply…..to the point of using her own tears and hair as acts of worship. Pouring out her love on Jesus was such an overflow of her gratitude that she didn’t care who was watching. Jesus was so moved by her expression of love that he said it would be remembered and discussed for ages.

Mary Magdalene was the first of many.

Good Ole’ Mary!  Even though she wasn’t family, she positioned herself at the cross with His Mother. She made sure she was one of the first ones at the tomb and was one of the first to see the Resurrected Christ! She was the first person to tell others the Lord is Risen- the first evangelist! She wasn’t just a fan, like Kyle Idleman would say, she was a follower. No doubt her influence as a first followers of The Way was great!

We are the modern Women of the Way….

As we discover who we are as the modern Women of the Way and what it means to be passionate, devoted followers of Christ, it’s such a delight to pause to reflect on the very first Women of the Way who paved the way for the rest of us to follow Him too! Even though these women lived thousands of years ago, they struggled with the same issues that we still struggle with today. We can identify with their hopes and dreams too. They are shining examples of how God used them to further His Kingdom which gives us hope of how God can use us to further His Kingdom. These precious women were the beginning of this Kingdom which helped to lay its foundation.

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Women of the Way 2013

Could it be that we will be apart of finishing this Kingdom helping to usher in Christ’s completed Kingdom in the world??

Which one of these women can you identify with most? Who inspires you to be more passionate and devoted to Jesus?

Who else would you add to the list?

Let’s continue to talk about women throughout history who were Women of the Way……..

~Amy