Are You In?

If you missed our opening time last Tuesday, here is a transcript of the panel discussion we had on leadership. If you’d like more information about how you can get involved, please contact Shereen at sschwaninger@lincolnberean.org.

Shereen:  I just love it when God brings themes together within a church body. In
our weekend services, we’ve been learning a lot about leadership, right? In the
past few weeks, Bryan has challenged us specifically to step into our places of
influence, rather than sitting on the bench! Without knowing any of that, our
Equip Her team planned to do the same thing. How fun is that?!

are-you-in_001INFLUENCE: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or
behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
Latin: in + flow … I love that!

It says to me that what is flowing into my life should also be flowing out. We
believe that when the Word of God flows into our lives, we are equipped with the
very best that God can give for any situation we face. Then, living out the Word
flows into our homes, our workplaces, or friendships. We live in truth. That’s
what Equip Her means. We equip you with the Word, an attitude of worship, and a
spirit of prayer in a community of women. When that flows into your life, we believe you’re equipped to let that flow to others!

Some of you are wired and gifted to lead as teachers, writers, administrators . We’ve equipped you here . . . but that inflow has not flowed out yet. We need YOU to teach, write, coordinate so our ministry can grow and flourish–so our church body is healthy. We’re here to equip you, to be the place where you hone and use your gifts.

With that in mind, I’ve invited some of our leaders to share their experience as influencers.  Kathy, you’ve helped in nearly every area of our ministry over the years. Can
you describe how that worked for you? Was it frustrating or more like an adventure?

Kathy: Ha. I don’t think it was either because I was so clueless I didn’t even know I was on a journey. My dad was a missionary pastor and my parents were always involved in some type of church plant. I guess I learned early-on the mentality that if I was part of a ministry, I got involved. So over the years, I’ve filled a LOT of different roles. If there was a need I thought I could fill, I did. (Notice, you never saw me singing on the worship team.) Most of what I did when my kids were small involved behind the scenes, “helps” type stuff. It’s only been the past five or six years where I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone into more challenging positions.

Shereen: Katie, can you share how long you’ve been coming on Tuesdays and what made you want to serve here?

Katie: I have been coming to Equip Her for 10 years now. I started attending about a month into becoming a brand new mom. At first, Tuesday mornings were a way for me to connect with other moms. That whole transition into parenthood is challenging and so it was encouraging to learn Biblical Truth in the context of mom life.

As time passed, more babies came and life became more messy and I noticed that my reason for coming to Equip Her changed. It really needed to be a time when I could focus on God and my relationship with Him and set aside the “mom role” for a couple hours and just be me . . . a woman desiring to know God more.

I have served as a prayer group leader for most of the years I have been coming. That was just an easy and natural way for me to help. The last couple years I have stepped into the role of the Prayer Team Leader. I would say that the main reason I have always been willing to serve at Equip Her is because Tuesday mornings have always been an encouraging part of my week. Whether we are studying God’s Word together or relating to each other in a particular season of life, God has used this community of women as a source of encouragement in my faith walk.

Shereen: Stacey, I’ve always appreciated the way you lead. Could you share some of your thoughts on leadership?

Stacey: I’ve never fully identified with being a leader. I’m like Moses and tend to tell God all the reasons I don’t feel equipped to lead. I guess the biggest thing I’m lerning about leadership is that it’s a team effort and not a solo act. It’s a partnership with God and other women.

I’ve been coming to Tuesday morning for almost 16 years. I want to serve because of the deep gratitude I have for the women who intentionally served and grew me spiritually in those early years.

Shereen: We hear a lot about “calling” in ministry roles. How would each of you describe that from your experience?

Kathy : For me, I wouldn’t say there was a precise moment when I felt a “call”—like this is THE thing God wanted me to do with my life. My mom encouraged all us kids from an early age to find what we were good at—what gave us joy—and to use that in serving the Lord. In college, I knew I loved teaching others, and I followed that love into a career. I’ve also always loved to write and over the years have used that in whatever opportunity God gave me at the moment. When we were blessed with a family, I felt my “calling” (so to speak) was to teach and raise my children. I also continued to use my teaching skills to help in SS, VBS, and volunteering at my kids’ elementary school.

A benchmark as far as ministry goes happened about six years ago when Bryan Clark was encouraging us to be intentional about our next decade (the decade on purpose). I was pretty involved in my writing goals at that time and knew God wanted me to continue with those, so when we were writing down our purpose statement, I naturally gravitated toward asking God to use my written words any way He wanted. But then there was that voice in my head that said, “And what about teaching?” With my kids in high school, I wasn’t doing any formal teaching and kind of thought that was behind me, but I was like oh, okay, if you say so . . . and changed my sentence to read, “Use my words, written or spoken, any way You want.” Probably within a month or so after that Shereen contacted me about starting a blog for our Equip Her ministry and asked me to come on the Directional Team as the communications coordinator. That was easy to say “yes” to because it aligned with many of my personal writing goals. But when the teaching coordinator at that time asked me to consider teaching in Equip Her, I was like “Really, God? Are you sure?” For some reason teaching peers instead of children was way out of my comfort zone. For me it’s been like Bryan described last Sunday. One of those things where if God doesn’t show up, thing are going to be really, really bad. But I’ve found that’s a great place to be. It’s like God has invited me into this great adventure with Him, and I’m so glad I get to be a part of it.

Katie: Calling is an interesting thing. It takes a certain level of self awareness and intentional thinking on our part. I’ll be honest, I don’t know that I have always been so intentional about defining this area of my life. I want to take some sort of personality test and have it tell me what I am supposed to do.

The more I walk down this road of Christianity, the more I seek to love God and love the people He has placed in my life, the more I find myself being passionate about having a genuine faith. When I say genuine, I don’t mean perfect. I mean an honest, genuine faith. How can I be honest before God in all areas of my life? This momentum in my own life has turned into a calling in ministry. I love seeing other people realize a genuine faith in their own lives. Any way that I can help someone arrive at that place is not work to me. Honestly, it is a privilege and a blessing to witness.

Stacey: I don’t know how I feel about the word, “calling.” Calling has the connotation that what God wants you to do is crystal clear and lines up exactly with your skill set. In my experience, calling has felt like little nudges instead of a big, flashing sign.

I’ve found when I listen to those tiny nudges and step out into obedience, God provides exactly what I need to do what He has asked me to do. It’s exciting to see God show up!
 
Shereen: Speak to the woman sitting in front of us who doesn’t know where she’ll find the time to serve, but feels this internal nudge to step out and lead. What encouragement can you give her?

Kathy: I’d tell her to start small—do what you can do in this season. Find a place to serve just while you’re here on Tuesday mornings or some place (like maybe the blog) where you can serve on your own time once or twice a year. Also, be willing to take a leap of faith in those areas that seem beyond you. It’s a great feeling to be a part of that type of adventure.

Katie: I love this verse that we are praying over this month in Philippians 2:12-13 where it encourages us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling for it is God at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” I am one of those weird people who loves a good work out. The more I sweat, the better I feel. This verse is a reminder to me that our salvation is a dynamic thing. It is not stagnant. It takes work. God is continually at work in us and we get to join Him in that. 

Stacey: Leadership isn’t something you arrive at with a bunch of well-hones skills. It’s small steps of saying “yes” to God. Take the small step. 

 

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