Effective outreach comes in various
(February 24, 2002)
Creative leadership, compassion
for the lost and a vision for what God can accomplish through their
lives have inspired dynamic Womens Ministries groups within various
Assemblies of God congregations across the nation.
In Shreveport, La., 65 women drove
to a rural home in terrible weather to share an enjoyable, inspirational
afternoon. The Sunday following that "Christmas in the Country,"
two young women attended services at Broadmoor Assembly of God for the
first time. In Shreveport, Womens Ministries has come alive and
the women intend to keep it that way.
Ministry in action:
Cynthia Smith (left) prays for another woman at the Assemblies
of God Women in Ministry Conference last year in Springfield,
The churchs Womens Ministries
executive committee and President Joyce Sepulvado spent the beginning
of last year in prayer, inviting God to change their lives in whatever
manner He might choose. Armed with vision and fresh ideas, they kicked
off 2001 with an "Out of the Boat" luncheon, inspired by the
account of Peter stepping out of a boat to walk on the water to Christ.
Sepulvado challenged the 70 women in attendance to "step out of
the boat" and believe God for big things to happen in Womens
Ministries. As a result, a record number of volunteers took a step of
faith to get involved in ministry.
Sepulvado is a creative leader,
but she stresses that creativity alone is fruitless.
"Allow your creativity to be
inspired by God, then have the faith to believe God for results,"
she says. She credits God for the strong attendance at the ministrys
event evangelism gatherings and the weekly morning Bible studies that
have grown in attendance nearly fivefold.
While creativity and vision gird
Womens Ministries in Shreveport, its compassion for the
lost that drives the women of Grace Community Church in Englewood, Colo.
God is calling women to get outside the four walls of the church through
an outreach ministry in halfway houses to women who are re-entering
society after serving time in prison. The churchs Womens
Ministries invites halfway house graduates to a special luncheon.
Velma Williams, Womens Ministries
president, explains that, in contrast to the rigid atmosphere of the
halfway house, "this luncheon is a welcome occasion where the women
are loved and pampered with no expectation of anything in return."
Each guest is welcomed by her own
hostess, who is a member of Womens Ministries. Members lend listening
ears, allowing guests opportunities to share about family, hopes and
future dreams. Guests then receive the Book of Hope and other literature
along with a gift bag of personal items.
After the women are released from
the halfway house, most move and do not return to Grace Community Church.
Although Womens Ministries members have impacted these womens
lives, the former prisoners also have changed Womens Ministries.
The encounters have increased members compassion and burden for
A desire to rescue lost lives also
drives Jeanie Turner, who has a heart for women trapped in the sex entertainment
industry. Under her leadership, women from First Assembly of God of
Fort Myers, Fla., have been ministering to nightclub dancers for nearly
four years through a ministry called One Way Out.
Women are responding to the love
of Jesus, but making the transition from the lucrative nightclub scene
to traditional employment is often difficult. Turner had a vision to
open a Safe Harbor Home for women wanting to change their lives.
In September, Turners dream
became a reality. A large home has room for several women and their
children. Womens Ministries helps them with childcare, wardrobe,
learning new skills, job search and, most importantly, discipleship.
The name of the new ministry is Chabash, the Hebrew word for binding
up and protecting while healing occurs.
Local Womens Ministries groups
thrive when they have a vision for what God can accomplish and follow
through with action.