One of the best decisions that I ever made in my life was the decision to join a ladies bible study group nineteen years ago just after the birth of my daughter Annie.
At first I was a little unsure and nervous about it because I had never done bible study in a group setting before. I'm so glad that I fought through those insecurities and did it anyway because that bible study changed my life forever.
Nineteen years later, I'm still doing bible studies with small groups of women and my knowledge of God and my relationship with Him has grown immensely as a result. However,that's not the only thing that has grown in my life. The relationships and friendships with other women that have come through those studies over the years have shaped me into the woman, wife, mother and Christ follower that I am today.
There have been so many women who have walked with me throughout the different seasons of my life. Seasons as a wife over the course of a 26+ year marriage, seasons as a mom raising a daughter from diapers to college(independence), seasons as a pastor's wife in different stages of ministry, emotionally hard seasons, joyous and fruitful seasons. Those women have laughed with me, cried with me, prayed for me, and encouraged me in my faith and without the presence of those women in my life, navigating those seasons would have been drastically harder. Over the years I have come to realize that I need other women and that other women need me. God has shown me that the things that I have walked through and learned in my life and the things that He has taught me haven't been just for my benefit, but also for the benefit of others. Now more than ever I realize that other women have a role to play in my life just as I have a role to play in theirs. Generation Z & Millennial girls need us Generation X & Boomer girls and believe it or not we need them too!
In Sophie Hudson’s book, “Giddy-Up Eunice,” she speaks of “cross-generational friendships.” She says, “it’s how we are supposed to live our lives: older women need younger women and younger women need older women. It’s how we’re meant to walk through life together. Blessing and learning from the ones ahead of us and investing in the ones behind us.” Titus 2:3-5 also reiterates this concept as he exhorts older women to “teach what is right and good, so that they may encourage the younger women to tenderly love their husbands and their children, to be sensible, pure, makers of a home (where God is honored), good-natured, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” (AMP)
That is my heart for Women’s Ministry at Gateway! That we as women realize that God has placed us in each others lives for a reason and that our growth and development as spiritually influential women hinges on our relationship with each other.
There are three key components that I feel are crucial in the development of our women’s ministry here at Gateway and they are IMITATE-INVEST-INFLUENCE.
Paul says in Corinthians 11:1 "Imitate me as I imitate Christ." Our desire as followers of Christ should be to pursue our relationship with Christ in such a manner that we strive to imitate Him. I will speak for myself, but the thought of someone imitating me is a bit scary. If I’m honest, I really only feel the weight of that responsibility when I am trying to do things through my own strength and knowledge, but when I seek God first and imitate Him then the weight of that responsibility is lifted knowing that when I imitate Christ then I can have peace and confidence in others imitating me.
"INVEST IN OTHERS"
If we are not careful days, weeks, months and even years can fly by so quickly without us ever taking the time to invest in someone else's life. We are all busy and it takes time and patience for relationships to grow. It also takes intentionality for the quality of those relationships to develop into what God truly desires for them to be, as referenced in Titus 2:3-5. Titus doesn't specifically address the role of younger women in this passage of scripture but clearly both young and old benefit from this relationship. Yes, relationships can be hard at times but the joy and blessings that can come from them are irreplaceable.
If I’m imitating Christ and I’m investing in the lives of others then spiritually influencing others will be a natural result. A simple definition of spiritual influence is “someone moving one step closer to Christ as a result of our connection.” Relationships are what make life rich. Spiritually influential relationships make life eternal!
- Gina Weir