I tiptoed into the expansive, elegant great room at The Lodge this morning, to catch a bit of Revive Our Hearts’ first Women’s Ministry Directors' Retreat.
Eleven women were standing in a circle, each holding a large sheet of paper. From what I can tell, one side listed a current sin they were struggling with, and the other side explained how Jesus was freeing them from this. Afterward, they had a lively discussion about the importance of vulnerability. It beautifully mirrored what I’d read earlier this morning in Romans 15:7: “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” As leaders lead the way in being real and accepting others, they reflect the fact that the Church isn’t a place for perfect people, and that Jesus really does forgive our sins!
The women then sat down with hot tea and marvelous chocolate chip cookies, to hear Sarah Stevenson speak about how to model biblical womanhood. She emphasized the importance of growing in intimacy with Jesus, being a woman of the Word, prioritizing husband and children (if applicable), serving under the covering of the church’s authority, protecting a balanced schedule, living a life that matches our talk, recognizing ministry opportunities and responsibilities, and equipping other women to serve the Body with their unique gifts. As I listened, I had to repent of my competitive spirit (pride), and ask God to help me delight in, affirm, and equip women to excel at fulfilling their God-given gifts.
This retreat is practical, interactive, intimate—and true to name—refreshing. The schedule consists of small group discussion and activities, time alone with Jesus, sessions with Revive Our Hearts’ speakers, free time, and amazing food. I asked one woman why she came, and she said she wanted to meet women in a similar position and exchange ideas. I was struck with how most women’s ministry leaders are lone rangers, and don’t have many opportunities to network with others.
If this is true of you, I encourage you to sign up for one of the remaining three retreats this year: May 14-16, Oct. 8-10, and Nov. 12-14. I highly recommend the property, the speakers, the food, the format—all of it!
Does your church have a women's ministry leader? If you are one, do you feel like a "lone ranger"? What do you think of the sound of a retreat like this?