Adult Team Blog

Enter Another’s Story

Being a leader isn’t easy. But then again, being a follower isn’t always easy either. Maybe “easy” isn’t what we should be going for.

I work at WMU and it’s a huge blessing. My team recently had the opportunity to visit a ministry site where I made a new friend. God gave us a moment together on a bench outside. “Easy” wasn’t in her vocabulary, if you know what I mean. What she shared was more like a journey. She is trusting God in new ways and taking one step at a time. I look forward to going back and seeing her again. But what if I had missed the opportunity to make a new friend, to enter into another’s story?

It isn’t easy to slow down, to listen, to act, to love, and to find the time. As leaders, we sometimes feel the pressure to be a few steps ahead, setting the pace, being responsible. What if we could learn to be more intentional in our presence with people? What would it look like to lead others to do the same?

Pray for the World

You only need to glance at a newspaper or listen to the news to become aware of the urgent need for prayer. No longer can we be concerned with praying only for our family, community, church, and state. As leaders, we need to engage our members in sincere prayer for the entire world.

Why not start with the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer on November 7? Consider implementing one of the strategies Gwen Moor, former president of Northwest WMU and member of Dayspring Baptist Church in Chehalis, Washington, used to involve her church in the Day of Prayer:

• Involve all the Baptist churches in your area. Make phone calls and send invitations. Enlist a contact person from each church and ask her to personally invite women to attend.

• Plan to alternate which church hosts the prayer event each year. Or host the event at a Christian Women’s Job Corps site to highlight the ministry hosting the prayer event.

Valued

On a daily basis I deal with individuals who have committed some type of crime. It could be speeding, a DUI, drug possession, or an alleged murder. I work in a county jail as an administrative assistant. People come from all walks of life, different races and from around the world. Then I interact with their families and friends. For a person who is an introvert, I’ve been moved out of my comfort zone.

For years I’ve struggled with my worth as a person, my value to others, and why was I created. Then came the day when I finally understood the depth of God’s love for me and how He sent His only begotten Son to pay the price for my sin (John 3:16). Psalm 139:14 (NIV) states we are all "fearfully and wonderfully made” and the book of Colossians tells me who I am in Christ.

Studying and knowing God’s Word shows me every person is valued by God. Christ died for everyone, and only He can forgive and transform hearts. So as I interact with others, I am more aware of the need everyone has to be valued. It is my responsibility to show them Christ!

Called

Last month I broached the topic of my calling. This is one of those topics that remains popular in the Christian world.

But what happens when you have no clue what your “calling” is? As I mentioned last month, we as Christians are all called to share the love of God with all people, but what about you specifically? How will that calling take shape in your life, especially as a mom?

I was recently at our Arkansas WMU Annual Meeting and heard a missionary say, “God gave you the talents and hobbies that you have so that He could use them to share His love.” That’s something I think I sort of knew in the back of my mind but never really took to heart. Are you a baker? Do you absolutely love fitness? What about reading? How can you use those fun things about yourself to glorify God? (Can somebody say book club?!)

I Am Enough

I am accepted by God just as I am and I do not have to prove myself to Him or anyone else. What a freeing revelation! Like most people, I spent so much of my life trying to be the strongest, smartest, kindest, holiest, best person in the group.

I was a Christian but didn’t feel like it was enough.

A dear friend summarized it when he said most people spend their lives playing king of the mountain. They think they have to be at the top of the mountain to stand out and be counted worthy. To get to the top, though, they have to throw others down to eliminate anyone who threatens their idea of self worth.

It was a game I had played most of my life—and I was ready to retire.

Once I realized that I already am enough through Christ, I suddenly felt free to love others. I didn’t need to compare myself to them or feel threatened by them. I am accepted, and out of my confidence I could help others see that they are accepted, too.

Weaving and Working

Years ago, at the end of the church service on the first Sunday of a new year, I stood before my church mumbling something about sensing God’s calling on my life to minister to women. I had no clue what that meant or looked like. I just knew I was to surrender my life to Him and His purposes!

I started my journey with intense Bible study. I had to know Him, who I am in Him, and I learned I had a responsibility to make Him known. Over time came invitations to speak, developing a ministry which led to serving on the state WMU visionary team (I had no background with WMU), and opportunities to write. God was weaving and working in my life, moving me out of my comfort zone, challenging me, and opening my eyes to live more intentionally on mission. Ministering to women as I go.

Jesus knew who He was, God’s Son, with a mission, providing redemption to all who would repent and believe in Him. Are you sharing this Good News? Are you allowing Him to weave and work through your life for His purposes? Where are you on mission?

Promote Missions Growth

Our pastor concludes every Sunday morning service with the same reminder: “We are the people of God, sharing God’s love, because God’s love changes the world.”

At any time, our church has members on one or more missions trips or we’re planning trips—domestic, international, or both.

We have an international university student outreach program with welcome activities at the beginning of the academic year, an international Bible study, and friendship families who open their homes to students. For many of these students, this is their first time to attend church or hear the gospel message.

Our church also plans local community outreach, either one-day blitzes or ongoing activities, such as Bible studies at the jail or support of the local crisis pregnancy center. (The pregnancy center rents a house from the church for $1 a year.) In addition, we partner with the university’s Baptist Campus Ministries for local outreach and missions trips.

Identity and Purpose

Jesus was aware of who He was. He knew why He had to humble Himself and take on the likeness of man. He was obedient to the point of death and died on a cross for our sins fulfilling the requirement of the law. And because of Jesus’ resurrection from the grave, we have hope of life eternal with Him.

Just as Jesus knew who He was and what His purpose was here, those of us who have believed in Jesus by God’s grace can also know who we are and what our purpose is here. When we read the Bible, it is easy to see that our purpose is to bring God glory. The difficulty comes in knowing how to use our gifts and skills to bring Him glory.

God has made us each with distinct interests and gifts, and we can look at those and begin to see what the Lord has in mind for us.

Just As We Are

I remember the feel of the worn hymnal fabric in my hand as I held the songbook and belted out the words, “Just as I am, without one plea.” As a child I understood the heart of the song: God accepts me and loves me just as I am. What a sweet and reassuring love!

The harder lesson, though, has been to love and accept others just as they are.

I find that the more I understand God’s forgiveness and love for myself, the easier it is for me to look at those around me through His lens. Rather than seeing a hardened, bitter woman, I can see her as God sees her: a wounded daughter who feels rejected and alone. Instead of seeing a coarse, rude man, I instead see someone who has never experienced God’s love and forgiveness.

When I look at the people around me through God’s lens of love, I see their brokenness and their need rather than their failures and shortcomings. And rather than be offended at their sins, I sense God’s deep abiding love and longing for them.

We are all loved, we are all accepted, and we are all in need of God.

Time to Fish

When I was a little girl I looked forward to traveling with my Dad to Minnesota. We spent a week focused on catching bass, walleye, and northern pike; he was a great teacher. “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” This is not a Bible verse, but a principle as a way to alleviate poverty by promoting self-sufficiency.

Jesus said, “For you will always have the poor with you” (Matthew 26:11a ESV). It is an issue which will never be eradicated. So how do you and I apply a biblical response to such a vast need in our world? Study the Word, pray, and read books about poverty written from a biblical perspective with economic principles.

“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus told his disciples. As we meet people who are living in poverty we begin with providing the food, building relationships, and teaching them how to fish. Remember: someone has to grow the worms!

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