I recently spoke with Suzie Lind about her women’s ministry at King’s Harbor Church and wanted to share with you her insight on  developing an atmosphere of authenticity to bring about transformation in women’s lives. Read her guest blog post and consider her 5 suggestions below.
 

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Women’s Ministry in the local Church, now more than ever, can be a place for women to experience life transformation and Christian community while learning to live like Jesus.  As we are challenged to compete for the time women have in their increasingly busy schedules we must contend to offer opportunities with substantial value.  The women we are attempting to reach are craving more authenticity in community and those who are serious about God desire to faithfully apply the Scriptures to their lives.  With that in mind, there is an increasing reluctance to attend superficial social gatherings where they are forced to hide or live up to a churchy standard they can no longer attain. 

The challenges many leaders face are folding in reluctant participants or the even more formidable task of assisting them in moving past the surface once they are there.  Often, women will say they crave “more” but are less than willing to give more of themselves.

Creating a culture of authenticity is initiated by strong leadership.  Ideally it begins with the Lead Pastor of the Church and within the context of women’s ministry is established by the lead woman and her surrounding team.  A culture of authenticity becomes a safe place for women to tell and glean from stories of where they have been and how God is using joy and sorrow to draw them unto Himself.  God has a very specific design for our authenticity. One that is crucial for understanding and leading women to the place He would have them dwell. 

In the book of Revelation, John tells of a war breaking out in Heaven where those who found victory “overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.” (Revelation 12:11).  When we stand before others clothed solely with the word of our testimony, leaving off our “church face” and putting on truth, the real stories of our real lives emerge.  It is then that those we are surrounded by, the company of women, will truly see the Jesus who has overcome sin and death. Only then do we bring glory to God. 

Glory to God.  This is His purpose for women and His plan for our lives. 

If you are struggling to lead and nurture the women in your ministry into a culture of authenticity, consider:

1.    You go first.  You cannot lead people where you are not willing to go yourself. Tell your story. The down and dirty details are not as important as the big picture.  Tell your story and keep the scope of God’s redemption in the forefront.

2.    Safety.  Create a safe place for women to share.  Direct your gatherings with the help of other leaders.  Communicate why this is sacred ground. Train your leaders to pray, shepherd conversations as needed and encourage women to refrain from giving advice or opinions.

3.    Grace.  Jesus came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17).  If Jesus did not condemn, neither should you or the women hearing the story.  All of us judge and condemn in our hearts, even when we do not want to. Thankfully with prayer and God’s help, you can lead your women by encouraging a spirit of love, grace and compassion.

4.    Develop a prayer team.  A team who prays for women to be released from bondage. When we tell our stories not only are we are set free, we partner with God in releasing others from bondage.  A prayer team that is there to pray before and after women give testimony will alleviate the condemnation, shame and fear that can follow.

5.    After care.  When people tell their stories, they often feel vulnerable in the after-math.  Our adversary does not want us telling of God’s redemptive power and when we testify, we draw our swords against him.  Women need support, encouragement and prayer after they open up.

By creating a culture of authenticity, we create room to see God do what only He can do. Heal the broken hearted, setting the captives free as we proclaim the wonder of the Gospel.

Resources:
Women Reaching Women
Transformed Lives

 SuzieLind.jpgSuzie is the Women’s Pastor at King’s Harbor Church in Torrance, CA. At any given moment, and “in” just about every moment, she is teacher, mom, wife, leader, speaker, student, diaper changer, and writer. Her joys, gleanings and moments of sheer lunacy are birthed out of all these roles. Her greatest joy is soaking up the truths and revelations of God’s word and sharing them with others through teaching Bible Study and writing on her blog, Hemmed In. Suzie lives in San Pedro with her husband Steve and four boys, Jason (10), Silas (8), Judah (6) and Nathan (7 months).  They also have a dog, a girl named Marley.

Comments

  1. Love this post Suzie! I agree there is so much power in the stories of God’s people. You are certainly leading the way at King’s Harbor Church. All your points are valuable. I especially appreciate the purpose and need for a prayer a team. Anything is possible with the undergirding of prayer and the power of God.

  2. Love this statement: “Often, women will say they crave ‘more’ but are less than willing to give more of themselves.” This is so true. It starts with one – when even one is wiling to be authentic, it often opens the door for others to feel open to sharing their story. Creating an environment of love and grace is key, as Suzie shared. Thank you for this encouragement!

  3. I think you’re right on point that authenticity is essential to transformation! I find that to be true in my own life, as well as the lives of other women I encounter.
    Thanks for the 5 helpful tips on how to foster that authenticity in the women we love, shepherd, and attempt to lead to the foot of the cross by example!

  4. Chris Adams says:

    So glad this post have resonated with you all. Thanks Suzie for lettIng me share your thoughts!

  5. Kelly Matson says:

    Thanks Suzie for writing. “Going First” really spoke to me. I see now that telling my story isn’t selfish, keeping it to myself and then expecting others to go deep, is selfish. I think many women will feel the freedom to peel off their church face when they see their leader doesn’t have one.

  6. Suzie, your leadership style of authenticity translates very well to the community of Kings Harbor and neighboring churches nearby. You have ignited a flame of passion in women to help us understand that our value is of far greater worth. With that said, I admire your strength in leading with purpose. You do indeed set a lovely banquet table of rich delicacies when you create your women’s events. Shalom, dear sister.

  7. Linda Massey says:

    Suzie, I am thankful for your leadership and for your authenticity in living your life and leading the women at King’s Harbor Church. God has worked through you to create this environment, and He is moving in amazing ways in the hearts of women. All for His glory!

  8. Starr Merten says:

    Loved your point on after care. Authentic relationships need to be fostered. Sharing issues doesn’t make one feel known/cared for…working with someone through those issues does. Important for me to remember. Thank you, Suzie! Your desire for authenticity is reflected in how you lead and what you write.

  9. Jessica Patay says:

    Suzie, well articulated! Authenticity is key in any/all ministry, and critical to our own personal growth. I so appreciate your modeling this. As I get older I find myself less patient with those who posture and pretend. (Help me Lord!) Thank you for your 5 tips. Thank you for all you do to bless other women’s lives. Truly.

  10. deborah meek says:

    Great words ! Thanks Suzie!

  11. marlo blandford says:

    Love this! It becomes more and more important in this increasingly hectic world that women have a place they can come that is significant, encouraging, and transformational. Suzie describes such an atmosphere. And also to have a safe place where women can tell their personal stories of God….that’s where faith takes hold! This is good stuff!

  12. Angela McDonald says:

    Suzie, I appreciate your heart and understanding for “after care.” Nurturing God’s natural flow of Love that cultivates and supports a continuum of intimacy, transparency and courage- such a beautiful gift He gives us to share with one another. Thank you for loving Him well. It refreshes me.

  13. I love the “You go first” point. We’re all a mess, but when someone with a microphone freely admits it, everyone listening exhales a sigh of relief and thinks “this is someone who gets me.” Their hearts are more open to receive from the Holy Spirit because they’ve let down their guard.

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