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Archive | women’s ministry

Color Grace for a Chance to Win

Coloring giveawayIf you could color grace, what color would it be?

A couple of years ago, I asked my Facebook friends: “If grace were a color, what color would it be?” The response was overwhelming! Many said “blue” because grace is “fresh” and washes away our sins with the Living Water of Jesus. Others said “red” because God extends His grace in the “blood of Jesus.” Still others said white, yellow, green, purple, and just about every other color you can imagine.

What color do you imagine grace to be?

I would love for you to show me the way you would color grace! To celebrate the release of my new Bible study “Lavish Grace,” I commissioned three beautiful coloring sheets that correspond with the three sections of my new Bible study, “Lavish Grace.”

Color Grace for a Chance to Win!

The first sheet is available to download and print today! Help me spread the word about “Lavish Grace” and enter the weekly prize bundle giveaway by coloring your sheet and posting a pic of it on Instagram or Facebook with the hash tag #LavishGrace.

Click here to find out more and download the first coloring sheet.

Delightful Dangles earringsStart coloring and posting pics of your colored sheets! Entries for the first sheet will be accepted now through August 10 at noon. This week’s winner will receive: Delightful Dangles Earrings from World Crafts artisans and a book bundle from New Hope Publishers.

A big thanks to New Hope Publishers and World Crafts for partnering with me in the “Lavish Grace” launch. You can find out more about the free trade products at World Crafts. Select your own beautiful piece and save 20% off your purchase of WorldCrafts products with code KH16 through January 31, 2017!

More Grace to Celebrate

In case you missed Monday’s post, you will want to check it out so you don’t miss any of the excitement happening this month. I want you to be a part of everything! Giveaways, chatting, fun, and lots and lots of GRACE. Download your Lavish Grace Poured Out coloring sheet now!

So, what do you think? If grace were a color, what color would it be? And why?

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Sex Trafficking, Hope, and a Bracelet Giveaway

Bracelet giveawaySadly, the following story is not only true, it’s just one of many like it. There are currently 24 million women and children enslaved in sex trafficking across the globe today, many of whom are trapped in brothels in India and Nepal. This story is told by Vision Beyond Borders, a Christian ministry that works to rescue women like Anna (named changed for protection) from sex trafficking in Nepal and India. Keep reading to find out how you can help. And comment for a chance to win a beautiful bracelet made by a woman like Anna.

Anna was raped by one of her mother’s relatives when she was just 10-years-old. Although initially imprisoned, the relative was later released when Anna’s mother accepted 20,000 rupees (about $200) from him as payment.

When Anna was a little older, she was followed home by three men who raped her again, then abandoned her on a dirt road. When Anna told her mother what happened she would not believe her. Just like she ignored the worsening sexual abuse by Anna’s stepfather. Not only did Anna’s mother refuse to help her, she verbally abused Anna herself.

Vision Beyond BordersIn desperation, Anna decided to run away. She left home with two friends and some other girls who told them they knew of a better place where they would be safe and able to make money. They took her near Nepal’s border with India where Anna then worked in a dance bar. She was the youngest girl working there and the customers touched her inappropriately. But Anna desperately needed money.

Not much later, the police found Anna and her two friends. But the girls who had taken these three young girls to the dance bar could not be found. Later, the police discovered that the older girls had planned to sell Anna and her friends in India, where they would earn a greater profit for their youth.

Anna was imprisoned for several weeks while her case was reviewed by several non-government organizations. When her paperwork was finally completed, she was brought to the Vision Beyond Borders safe house to recover from all she had endured. By God’s grace, Anna is doing well and has recently come to know Christ as her personal Savior! She recognizes God’s great love toward her, and He is healing her from the pain she’s endured.

Now 15 years-old, Anna is in school and is also learning skills in hair styling and jewelry making in the safe house. She is one of 16 girls currently in the safe house, including the 5 year-old daughter of one of the girls. Many of the girls share similar stories and have been sold by family members due to the lack of respect for women in their Hindu culture.

All these girls have come to accept Jesus as their Savior. Their transformation after salvation is miraculous! Some of the girls want to be in Christian ministry and others businesswomen, but they all love sharing about the Lord and radiate His joy and faithfulness.

sex trafficking in Nepal

4 Ways You Can Help VBB Fight Sex Trafficking

  1. Pray for the continued healing of the girls in the safe house and for their Hindu families (Download 15-day prayer guide).
  2. Purchase bracelets made by the girls to support their futures. Each piece was handmade in the VBB safe house in Nepal. One hundred percent of the proceeds go back to helping them.
  3. Go on a VBB mission trip to India or Nepal.
  4. Donate to the Vision Beyond Borders ministry to women.

This post is a giveaway! Comment below for a chance to win a bracelet made by one of the girls at the VBB safe house in Nepal. Leave a short prayer, words of encouragement, or simply tell us what color bracelet you’d like to win! Giveaway closes on Wednesday, June 8th at 5pm.

 

More about Vision Beyond Borders ministry to women:

VBB works in Nepal and India to rescue women in the sex trafficking industry and help them discover new lives in Christ. They provide safety, training, and healing and guide them into jobs and businesses to eventually support themselves. Sine VBB’s safe house in Nepal opened in 2014 more than 30 women have been rescued. VBB also operates a hair salon in India that’s a ministry base for women. Vision for Women is working to expand into other countries as well.

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4 Tips to Stay Connected this Summer

It is hard to stay connected with other women through the summer. Last June, I met with some of my Bible study teachers. When Megan arrived, she settled in a chair, looked at the ladies gathered around the table, and with a sigh announced, “I have missed being with women!” The rest of us felt the same and it was only the second week of summer!

Summer is a great time for families and relaxation. But the erratic schedule and unique dynamics of the season sure puts a strain on women’s ministry and women’s relationships with each other.

stay connected

Whether you’re a women’s ministry leader trying to maintain contact with the women of your church or a busy mom who needs adult conversation, you can proactively work to stay connected through the summer months. Then when “normal” returns in September, we won’t have lost the momentum of ministry and our friendships will still be warm. And you can do it from wherever you happen to wander this summer by taking advantage of technology and social media.

Stay Connected through the Summer

Here are a few ways to continue ministry, maintain contact, and foster relationships during the summer:

  1. Bible Study – Organize or participate in an online Bible study group for summer. Use a closed Facebook group for women to share insights and ask questions anytime that works for them. (See this post for a few suggestions!)
  2. Prayer – If you are a WM leader, organize your women into small prayers groups. Assign a leader to keep things moving. They can share requests via group texts or email. If you’re an individual, message a few close friends and start your own prayer group!
  3. “Spontaneous” Fellowship – Whether you’re a women’s ministry leader or just a gal missing her friends, don’t be afraid to be spontaneous! Use your women’s ministry’s social media accounts to publicize “spontaneous” fellowship events or message a few friends. For example, plan a picnic at a local park for moms and their kids. Since families keep a super flexible summer schedule, don’t publicize the event in advance. Instead, blast social media with invitations the night before and the morning of the event. Keep it simple! Invite them to bring their kids and a sack lunch. The point is simply to get your women together.
  4. “Meet” New Friends – If you’re a women’s ministry leader, take advantage of your ministry’s social media accounts to foster relationships between the women of your church. Once or twice a week, introduce a woman and her family to the women of your church. Share a photo, hobbies, and interesting facts. The goal is to encourage the women to connect with each other and make new friends. If you’re an individual, purposefully work to expand your circle of friends. For example, make a play date with a mom and her kids who are new to your neighborhood or ask a casual acquaintance to meet for coffee.

With a small amount of effort, you can keep ministry moving and your relationships growing, all summer long!

I would love for you to share some ways that you purposefully work to stay connected with other women through the summer!

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Lavish Grace is Coming

Lavish GraceHave you underestimated grace? God’s lavish grace is not “just enough” and it’s far more than “sufficient.” His grace washes through and over every aspect of a believer’s life. It’s like a free-flowing river that knows no bounds. Yet, sometimes we fail to jump in!

A few years ago, God began to show me my desperate need for His abundant, lavish grace. In every day, in every situation, and in every relationship. So, I began studying about it in His Word and talking about it at women’s events. Then the next thing you know, I’m writing a new Bible study. And you guessed it, the new study is about God’s exceedingly, abundant grace.

This writing journey has been particularly personal. God has given me lots of opportunity to put what I’ve studied into practice. Of course some days it’s felt like two steps forward and one step back. And I’ve had the incredible blessing of witnessing God’s grace at work in the lives of people very dear to me.

So, it is with great excitement and anticipation that I announce:

Lavish Grace is coming August 1st!

Lavish Grace is a 9-week, in-depth study through Paul’s experiences with and teachings on grace, designed to help us discover the riches and abundance of God’s grace for our lives today. Lavish Grace includes contemporary examples of God’s grace at work in the lives of women today to help you also embrace God’s amazing grace. The study is divided into 3 sections:

  • Poured Out – Explore God’s work of grace in our eternal salvation, continued spiritual transformation, as well as our call and equipping for ministry and service.
  • Poured Through – Discover what it looks like to be channels of God’s great grace, not just stagnant pools.
  • Overflowing – Learn how to rest in and rely on His grace in the inevitable times of trials, struggles, and difficulties.

You will hear a lot more about Lavish Grace and all the exciting book launch activities in the coming weeks. But here’s a bit of a teaser: Online study opportunities, giveaways, Facebook party, coloring contests, and more! I would love for you to be a part of it all. If you can help get the word out about God’s lavish grace – host a blog, share on social media, lead a study – let me know in the comments below!

Praise for Lavish Grace

Kathy has beautifully woven an account of how the grace God so incredibly pours into us, and practically shares with us ways we can exhibit grace to others. You will be blessed by this book! I know I was.  Jennifer Rothschild

If you want to renew, revive, and rejuvenate your life with God’s lavish grace, then the pages of this book will shower you with hope and help you embrace the exuberant, abundant grace-filled life we all long for! Pam Farrel

Kathy Howard does more than point out our need for grace; she teaches us to not only pour it out, but also to lap it up. A must read for a needy world.  Kathi Lipp

If you’re ready to understand and embrace this life-altering love in a fresh way, then don’t hesitate to take this grace-walk with Kathy. Gwen Smith

Kathy Howard pinpoints what each of us needs—a fresh awareness of God’s grace. Debbie Taylor Williams

A few links to check out:

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3 Bible Studies that Impacted My Faith

People often ask me for Bible study recommendations and usually I have some suggestions. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of experience with Bible studies from many different angles. I have been a student of the Bible and a “consumer” of Bible study curriculum for almost 30 years. I have also taught Bible study, chosen curriculum for church ministries, and written Bible studies.

But recently, a conversation I had with a friend got me thinking about the Bible studies that have had the greatest impact on my own life. I want to share those with you today.

First, I want to emphasize that our first source for growing in our faith and in our knowledge of God is His Word. The Bible should always be our primary study book. The Holy Spirit is our teacher; we need no other. But God has also given us gifted teachers with great biblical insight. Their material can supplement and enhance our personal study of the Bible.

I’ve lost count of the number of study books I’ve used over the years. However, these three stand out because each of them profoundly affected my faith. They guided me into a deeper understanding of Scripture. Each provided multiple “aha” moments by connecting some biblical dots or making me aware of an aspect of God’s character or ways I had somehow missed before.

They are deep and thoughtful. It’s obvious the authors walk closely with God and take the teaching of His Word very seriously. I know two of the authors personally and their lives match their writing. And although I trust their teaching, I also check everything they write against the Bible. So far, I have not been disappointed.

Here are my top three:

  1. Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby & Claude King – This study highlights truths from Scripture that helps readers know how God works in the world and how He relates to us.
  2. Live a Praying Life by Jennifer Kennedy Dean – This study wipes out our misconception about prayer by pointing us to what the Bible says about its purpose and working.
  3. Believing God by Beth Moore – Too many Christians settle for belief in God when we could believe Him.

I have done some Bible studies over the years that have encouraged me in a particular area or increased my knowledge of God. Others have wasted my time. But these three address foundational truths of our faith and directly impacted my relationship with God. The first two I’ve done more than once, and I know I would benefit from doing all of them again.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you done these? Are there others that God used mightily in your life?


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A Psalm to Pray for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving PsalmHappy Thanksgiving! In the midst of the cooking and eating and cleaning and visiting, let’s purposefully pause to reflect on the God who deserves all our honor and praise, and thanksgiving.

The Lord Almighty, the one true God, Creator of all that is, sends rain to the earth and provides us with a bountiful harvest of food. This same Mighty God, who formed the mountains and causes the sun to rise, also hears our prayers and forgives all our sins.

This Psalm of David is a beautiful expression of God’s goodness to us. May it lead us today into praise and thanksgiving to our Great God!

What mighty praise, O God,
    belongs to you in Zion.
We will fulfill our vows to you,
    for you answer our prayers.
    All of us must come to you.
Though we are overwhelmed by our sins,
    you forgive them all.
What joy for those you choose to bring near,
    those who live in your holy courts.
What festivities await us
    inside your holy Temple.

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
    O God our savior.
You are the hope of everyone on earth,
    even those who sail on distant seas.
You formed the mountains by your power
    and armed yourself with mighty strength.
You quieted the raging oceans
    with their pounding waves
    and silenced the shouting of the nations.
Those who live at the ends of the earth
    stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
    you inspire shouts of joy.

You take care of the earth and water it,
    making it rich and fertile.
The river of God has plenty of water;
    it provides a bountiful harvest of grain,
    for you have ordered it so.
10 You drench the plowed ground with rain,
    melting the clods and leveling the ridges.
You soften the earth with showers
    and bless its abundant crops.
11 You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
    even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,
    and the hillsides blossom with joy.
13 The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,
    and the valleys are carpeted with grain.
    They all shout and sing for joy!
Psalm 65:1-13, NLT

I pray you have a blessed day with family and friends. But let’s remember to praise God today and thank Him for all His good gifts!

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De-Stressing Christmas Step 3: Eliminate

De-Stressing Christmas 3What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear “Christmas?” Is it “worship,” “family time,” “rest and reflection?” Or is it cooking, shopping, busyness and exhaustion?

Our culture has perpetuated a “Christmas” that pushes us to do more, spend more, eat more, and say “yes” to everything. We are often relieved when December 26th hits and the frantic activity finally ends.

That is NOT how it has to be. This post is the third in a series to help us take some of the stress out of Christmas. In the first post, I encouraged you to ASK yourself and your family what traditions and activities are most important in order to determine what you can cut right at the start.

In the second post, we made a complete list of everything you do during the Christmas season and EVALUATED those things with the following questions:

• What activities consume the most of your time and resources?
• What activities do you dread? Are these activities necessary?
• Does the item help you or your family worship our Savior?
• Does it put people over things?
• Does it focus on spiritual things instead of physical things?
• Does it further things that last or things that are temporary?

Now that you’ve asked and evaluated, it’s time to follow through and actually eliminate some activities and cut back on others. I’m not saying we should cut out every fun activity if it doesn’t meet the criteria above. But we can find a balance that leaves plenty of room for Jesus and family.

The first things I eliminated were things we dreaded. It was so freeing! Really, it started with my husband. He always dreaded hanging lights on the house. And I dreaded pushing him to do it. One year he simply said he didn’t like it, he didn’t have time to do it, so he wasn’t going to do it. And that was that.

The neighbors didn’t start a petition. No one egged the house. We just didn’t have lights. We may hire it done some year in the future. Or my husband may do it himself after he retires. But it’s okay to just say no.

Even changing the way you do some activities can help. Don’t want to make homemade cookies for the cookie exchange? Then don’t go or buy 6 dozen from a local bakery. Totally hate decorating the tree? Then don’t do it! Or buy one with the built-in lights, set it up, plug it in and call it done!

Look at it this way, even buying a prepared pie crust or cookie dough in a tub redeems time you can use to play games with the family or read the story of the first Christmas in a recliner by the fireplace.

Now it’s time for the elimination challenge. First, set a goal, such as cutting your list by a third or even half. Now work your way through these steps:

  1. Pull out the list you made last week. (If you missed it, you can do it now.)
  2. Put a check mark by the chores and activities you dread.
  3. If they’re beneficial to someone in a meaningful way, mark them off your list.
  4. Put a star by the chores or activities you can simplify, like buying cookie dough in a tub.
  5. Now alter that item on the list to the simplified version.
  6. Put a hashtag by any chores or activities that you don’t necessarily dread but that consume a lot of time.
  7. If you enjoy then and would miss them, leave them on your list. But if you really don’t care either way, mark them off!

Congratulations! You have just taken a bold step to cut back on the busyness of the season and redeem that time for your family, for time with Jesus. How do you feel???

I’d love to know what steps you’ve taken to de-stress your Christmas! Will you share?

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10 Tips to Help Your Speaker Do Her Job

Women's MinistryNot long ago I spoke at a women’s retreat in another state. When I arrived at the hotel, a few members of the women’s ministry team were gathered around the registration table in “panic mode.” Several things had gone wrong at the last minute, the name tags were missing, and a snowstorm was rolling in.

You know what? The women who attended didn’t notice any of these things. They enjoyed the fellowship and God’s Word ministered to their hearts. The weekend was wonderful – snowstorm and all – because the women’s ministry team had focused on the most important things.

We women do love all the special touches at an event. But decorations and door prizes are like fancy wrapping on a package. It’s the contents in the package – the spiritual message and personal ministry – your women will take home.

This women’s team made sure the content of the event met the needs of their women by providing me with everything I needed to prepare and taking good care of me while I was there. They enabled me to carry out my ministry to the best of my ability.

Want your event to meet the needs of your women? Use these tips to help your speaker minister as effectively as possible to your women.

  1. Give her one contact – More than likely, your speaker is working with multiple churches at a time. If every member of your team contacts her about different aspects of the event it only distracts her from her task. Appoint one woman on your team to be the speaker’s contact. Then let her handle all communication with your speaker.
  2. Pray for her – Your speaker needs your prayers both before and during the event. She may have spiritual struggles, family issues, or illness. Be purposeful by putting it on your event to-do list. Ask your team to join you in praying for her and help them know how to pray. (See “6 Ways to Pray for Your Speaker.”)
  3. Remember her job description – Over the years, I’ve been asked for decorating input, sample retreat schedules, and help with technology. Even though I don’t mind helping when I can, it does take me away from my primary task – preparing the message from God’s Word. Your speaker probably has multiple women’s events for multiple churches on her calendar. Help her keep her focus on her God-given task. Don’t ask for her opinion on the food or with games.
  4. Diffuse any “landmines” – A couple of years ago, I was half-way through a retreat when one of the members of the ministry team told me the church had recently discovered their pastor was having an affair. I quickly reflected on the talk I’d already given. Had I said anything that would have poured salt in the wound? Make your speaker aware of any big issues happening in your church or with any of the women in attendance that could affect her messages or her interaction with the women before she comes.
  5. Give her the demographics – The more your speaker knows about your women the better she can target the message. Give her details like age range, level of spiritual maturity, and church background. Are most of them stay-at-home moms? Or do they work outside the home? Is your church in an affluent suburb or the inner city?
  6. Share the purpose of the event – Make your speaker aware of the primary reason you’re holding the event. Is the event your big, annual outreach event or a retreat for spiritual renewal? The nature of the event greatly affects not only your speaker’s message, but her delivery as well. She wants to help you reach your goal.
  7. Set aside a “ministry area” – When I speak at a women’s event, my ministry task goes beyond just voicing a message. I believe God has me there to minister to the spiritual needs of the women in attendance. Yes, that’s giving the message, but it’s also praying and talking with women one on one. But that requires a quiet corner. Set aside a spot – either a separate room or a discreet corner where your speaker can meet individually with women.
  8. Enable her larger ministry – Many women’s speakers bring books and other materials to your event. Provide outgoing, dependable women to run her product table so she can focus on your women. Bless your speaker by telling the audience about the book table yourself and encouraging them to visit it. Many speakers feel awkward “marketing” themselves. Do it for her so she can minister freely.
  9. Watch for “monopolizers” – You know these ladies because they’ve also demanded a lot of your time. Whether she wants to share her life story, pour out all her problems, or talk to your speaker about how she can get into speaking too, you may need to run interference so all your ladies have an opportunity to connect with your speaker.
  10. Provide a private sleeping room and bathroom – Many speakers ask for this in their speaking agreement. It’s not that she is “anti-social” or demanding (usually anyway!). No, your speaker needs a quiet, private place where she can go to pray and prepare to speak to your ladies.

Your speaker longs to be effective. She desires for God to use her in the lives of your women. You can help her help them.

What other ways can you think of to help your women’s event speaker?

 

 

 

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6 Ways to Pray for Your Event Speaker

The fall season for Women’s Ministry events is in full swing! It’s very likely your church will be having a special event with a guest speaker before the holidays hit. Whether you are in women’s ministry leadership or an attendee, your speaker needs your prayers! This post gives direction for ways you can support her in prayer.

Pray for SpeakerI was nearing the end of the message when I felt the first tickle. I cleared my throat and continued. But the tickle grew more persistent. Someone handed me a glass of water, but the need to cough grew stronger. While a volunteer read a Bible passage, I turned to the wall, hacking loudly behind my hand and praying fervently the coughing fit would quickly end.

The speaker you have scheduled for your next women’s conference or retreat desperately needs your prayers – before and during the event. She may have spiritual struggles, family issues, deadlines – or allergies!

We all know prayer is vital, but we often allow the busyness of those last days to distract us from the event’s primary purpose – the spiritual growth and encouragement of your women. Dozens of details press in and each day we tell ourselves we will “pray later.”

Be purposeful in praying for your speaker. Put it on your to-do list. Ask your team to join you in prayer and help them know how to pray for her.

Here are six specific ways you can pray for your speaker and her ministry to your women:

  1. Message Preparation – Your speaker wants the message she prepares to touch hearts and meet the needs of your women. Pray God will give her wisdom and discernment as she studies and prepares (Colossians 1:19).
  2. Physical Needs – Pray for your speaker’s health, relationships, travel safety, and even her technology tools. Everything area of her life can impact her ministry (Romans 1:9-13).
  3. Spiritual Protection – The enemy does not want your speaker’s message to be powerful and effective. Pray that God will “protect her from the evil one” (John 17:15).
  4. Spiritual Growth – Your speaker is still growing spiritually. Pray she will grow in her knowledge of God and live a life that pleases Him (Ephesians 3:14-19; Colossians 1:10-11).
  5. Message Delivery –Your speaker can’t leave life behind when she approaches the front of the room. She may be dealing with a scratchy throat, a rebellious teenager, or a packed schedule. Pray she can deliver God’s message with clarity, boldness, and grace (Colossians 4:4-6, Ephesians 6:19).
  6. Message Effectiveness – This is the end game! Pray her message will hit its mark and bear much spiritual fruit (Colossians 1:10).

Don’t forget to let your speaker know you’re praying for her. It’s great encouragement.

Do you have a speaker coming to your church soon? Can you think of additional ways you can pray for her?

Note: If you need a speaker for you next event, check out Kathy’s speaking information!

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Say Yes to the Cupcake: Why We Need Food & Fun in Women’s Ministry

Cupcake YesI am a Women’s Ministry leader and I have a confession to make: I love cupcakes. And ice breaker games. And door prizes.

Does that make me shallow?

I also crave transformational Bible study and deep spiritual conversations about the things of God. I love to discuss theology. I long to pray in intimate circles of Christian sisters about things of eternal value. I want to impact the world for Christ.

Cupcakes and theology are NOT mutually exclusive. There is room – and need – for both in women’s ministry.

In October 2011, author Sarah Bessey posted an open letter to Women’s Ministry on her website which has been republished (FaithIt.com and ChurchLeader.com), applauded, and condemned.

Although four years have passed, the article recently began popping up in my Facebook feed. Then a friend from church emailed me the link, wondering what I thought about it. So I decided to think about it. Really think about it.

Basically, I agree with the heart of Bessey’s article. Women always need deep, spiritual connection to other believers. We need encouragement to fulfill God’s purposes for their lives and to grow into Christlikeness. We need accountability and equipping. Solid biblical teaching and sound, godly leadership.

Yes, all women need these things. This should be the heart and soul of our women’s ministry. It is in fact, the church’s calling.

But if we’re honest, we’ll acknowledge that not all women recognize this need in their lives. If we want to reach all the women in the church – and the community – we must also minister to the felt need of cooking, friendship, and yes, maybe even crafting! We must connect with the women who aren’t ready to jump into the deep end of the spiritual pool. We must provide a way for them to get their feet wet.

The women’s ministry at my church is both deep and wide. We provide in-depth Bible study at various times during the week. We train teachers and mentor moms. We reach out to new women in the community. We sew reusable feminine products for women in South Asia. We reach out to those caught up in the sex industry in the inner city. And we have “girly, girl” events.

For instance, my church has a yearly “Table Top.” You know, that dinner where women show off their table decorating skills and act as hostess to a table full of women. It’s fun, it’s festive, and yes, some think it’s frivolous.

But the guests hear a strong Gospel message and are given the opportunity to get involved in specific mission efforts. Women who won’t come to Bible study or a spiritual retreat accept their neighbor’s invitation to Table Top. And the women in our church who hang out on the fringe of things come. They meet and mingle, and move a little deeper into the spiritual water.

Jesus often paved the way to deeper things over a dinner party. And He bonded with the guys in a fishing boat. He fed the crowds and the twelve with both physical and spiritual food.

Food and fun can foster relationships. Few of us will pour our hearts out to strangers or ask some woman we don’t know to be an accountability partner. But give them an opportunity to bond over a cupcake and then they’ll reach out when a crisis hits.

There’s room for cupcakes and spiritual depth.

We can have the cupcake and eat it too.

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