President … Spring 2018
… reaching women and girls for Christ …
A couple of small events during the last few weeks seem to have made a real impact on my thinking.
Let me start by saying I’m not much of a “morning person”. I admire those who get up bright and early and spend quality time with God.
It doesn’t matter how well intentioned I am I just can’t seem to accomplish that goal. The best I have accomplished is to read my devotional thought in my little pamphlet I have subscribed to. I manage to work this reading into my morning routine most mornings. At the end of each devotion is a FAITH STEP:
The FAITH STEP is a simple suggestion of encouragement. One morning I read: If there’s an area of your life where you feel defeated, check your arsenal. Your most effective weapon is the one Jesus used – Scripture.
When I’m in any kind of bad place, whether I’m feeling troubled or defeated, I can honestly say I don’t always head first to Scripture. I try to fix it myself.
The other event that happened was at a meeting with the Leadership Development Committee when my thought process kicked in and I said, “we are supposed to be reaching women and girls for Christ”.
Many of you reading this may be thinking, “DUH!” But admit it, sometimes the obvious just isn’t and it’s like one of those “AHA” moments when it all suddenly becomes as clear as day.
When I put all of this together, I went to Scripture. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? Or are you again thinking, “DUH!”? Well I can’t say that I can blame you for that.
I’ve been increasing concerned about our ministry to women. For more years than I care to count we have been lamenting about the lack of interest in the ministry by younger women.
Everything that we come up with, that we believe is what God wants us to do, seems to not produce the results we would like to see.
In spite of all of our efforts, women’s groups in the local churches are dissolving and that directly affects the work of the associations and of the statewide ministry.
I found these words of encouragement from Paul, in his Second letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 4:1-9, 16-17 (NIV):
“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we comment ourselves to every woman’s conscience * in the sight of God. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
* (Note: The change from man’s conscience to woman’s conscience in verse 2 was my editorializing.)
I am confident that God has a plan for His ministry to women in New York State. Every year our number of attendees to convention decrease and this past convention was not as well attended as we would have like to see.
What we lack in quantity of we gained in quality of inspired teaching, relation building opportunity with those who were able to attend. And we were blessed by the opportunity to meet our new Executive Director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries, Rev. Gina Jacobs-Strain. I pray that many of you were able to tune into the webcast when she shared her vision for the ministry we share.
You can watch the replay of the webinar here. (You have to sign in with your name and email address.)
What Are We Doing?
Now that I have acknowledged my concerns, I want to share what we are doing to continue to “reach women and girls for Christ”.
GIRLS Retreat & AB GIRLS
We have contracted with Vick and Pathfinder Camping and Conferences of NYS to offer a retreat opportunity to girls grades 5-12 at Pathfinder Lodge, July 22-27, 2018. This GIRLS retreat is an effort to introduce upstate girls to the AB GIRLS conference. It will be a separate event from the conference but using the same basic program that is designed by the Commish, with a few additional adjustments needed to fill the week with activities for the girls attending.
(In case you were not aware the Commish is made up of girls elected by their peers to plan the conference.)
The AB GIRLS conference has been struggling to reach girls, especially upstate girls, for too long. We are hopeful that this effort will entice girls to think about attending AB GIRLS conference.
Let me stress that this is an experiment and we will be analyzing it to decide on the success. We don’t want our girl’s conference to die out; they are the future.
We need volunteers to mentor/counsel the girls. Our hope is to attract at least 20 girls to the retreat and we will need 1 mentor for every 4 girls. We also need a nurse and a pastor.
Please pray about this and how you can be of assistance. The success of this experiment is up to each one of us “UPSTATE” women and girls.
One Day Retreat
In addition, the Leadership Development Committee is working on the development of a ONE DAY retreat to give women the opportunity to share some spiritual food with their peers.
We would love to come to your church or your association to encourage these women who are increasingly too busy to take a weekend off from their responsibilities to share with other women their need for spiritual growth.
Continue to Pray
Please pray for the committee as they work on this and for the women of your church and association who could benefit from the effort.
In Christ’s Service, Lillian