Women’s Discipleship Concepts December 2012—Newsletter
WDC is a 501-3c nonprofit ministry. If you are so led to make a tax-deductible gift, please send checks to 10012 Double Tree Road, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932.
Highlights of 2012:
I had the opportunity to speak to the women of Central Baptist Church, Bearden at their spring banquet. The theme was “Discipleship: Duty or Delight?” I landed on the fact that making disciples of others is a delightful duty. We looked at the question “what are you reproducing?” Everyone is reproducing something whether intentionally or unintentionally. I urged them to cling to the gospel and reproduce in the gospel.
I was so grateful to meet with Women’s Ministry leaders in the spring and to conduct a Saturday workshop in the fall to help Westwood Baptist Church in Cleveland start a one-on-one disciple-making ministry. It was an honor to take Spenser Walsh with me and get to walk alongside their leaders to help them think through logistically and methodically how to build this ministry.
“We are incredibly grateful for the time Jen recently spent with us discussing the impact and importance of women’s discipleship. We are developing a one-on-one discipleship ministry for women in our church, and I could think of no one better suited to facilitate our discussion than Jennifer. Her honesty, wisdom, and heart for seeing women grow deeply in truth and grace were so evident… many have since shared how challenged they were from our time together that day. The knowledge and experiences Jen shared with us were truly invaluable, and we left with great anticipation about the plans God has for this ministry. Thank you, Jen, for your dear friendship, and for your deep love for our Lord. May He continue to bless your obedience and bear much fruit through WDC. ” Cindy Parker, One-on-One Discipleship Facilitator for Women’s Ministry, Westwood Baptist Church, Cleveland, Tennessee
Helping to create and lead a Women’s leadership class (to be disciple-makers) at our church, Fellowship Church, with women in their 20s and 30s. This has enhanced my leadership, as well, to be able to have more tools to encourage the women I walk alongside. I have been reminded, in this process that women in ministry need help drawing boundaries—as natural people helpers, they are driven and often burn out easily because of the pull of others’ needs and their own need to help. We stretch ourselves so thin that we become unfruitful and inefficient in serving the body (like an overstretched rubber band that has lost its elasticity and shape). It has been a pleasure to walk alongside women in vocational ministry on UT’s campus and other arenas in order to help them learn how to care for themselves and their families as well as ministering faithfully to those God has placed in their lives.
We, as followers of Christ are to minister wherever we are, and I find joy in helping others find their personalities, tendencies and giftings in order to serve in the arena that God has prepared them. We are not cookie-cutter believers, and the body of Christ is most blessed when we minister as he has made us and not as we think we are supposed to look. We also find a joy and freedom in serving when we discover who we are in Him. Personally, God has shown me areas that I have allowed to become overstretched and ineffective. In this fall season, I have been off of Facebook and have pulled back more from other social media in order to refocus my heart and ministry.
Fall: There have been several young women who have been connected with Disciple-Makers through WDC this fall. It is a joy to encourage women to pour into others with the truth and grace of the Gospel of Jesus.
Future: This past year, http://www.womensdiscipleshipconcepts.wordpress.com has had almost 5,000 visitors that are curious about resources and ideas for disciple-making. I cannot ignore that interest, and I will be posting at least monthly to help equip women who are interested in helping others grow. Many of my studies, including a Colossians Bible study I wrote, have been used and have been available electronically for no price. I hope to work on copyrights and grow these resources.
“Discipleship has been a life-giving hour this past fall. Ironic how even in full time ministry, one can lose focus on Jesus. Discipleship has been a place where I have been shown the love of the gospel and the truth of the gospel. Each time I’ve been pointed back to my Savior and His strength has been shown to give me the endurance to keep seeking Him and loving others, despite any difficulty. The view of myself is always re-shifted back to the Father as I allow the word to pierce the dark, sad and lonely places of my heart. What a beautiful gift that we do not run this race alone. I am so grateful that Jesus has placed Jen in my life to steer me back towards Him.” Leigh Robertson, Campus Crusade for Christ staff at The University of Tennessee
“Discipleship to me has meant someone inviting me into their life, to do life along side them. The day I first met Jen sticks out to me. I was sharing all about my life and where I’ve been and watching tears stream down her face as they streamed down mine. I don’t know if I could’ve felt more safe in that moment than to see her feel all that with me, barely even knowing me. She took on a mess and became part of my story that day and as life comes and I share it with her, she hears me, and she points me to the gospel. I am challenged to live the life God has created for me to live. I am reminded of the verse where Paul says, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ..” and I believe that is kind of what discipleship is like. Not perfect, but striving after Christ and leading another by example. Discipleship is such a great gift to me because someone stepped in to my life, helped bear the mess of my life with me not just once a week, but everyday if i needed it and constantly points me to the gospel. Sometimes she just happened to be there when no one else was, giving me a hug, letting me cry ugly tears and praying with me when their were no words. In spite of all I’ve said, words just don’t seem fitting for what discipleship really is.” Anna Stevens, 23 years old
There is no greater joy, as a disciple-maker, to see people you’ve poured in to “get it.” When I read Spenser’s blog, I had to pass it on and thank you for your investment in this ministry to invest and change lives! Real Life Lessons in Foundation Spenser Walsh (from her blog)
I think Jesus is so cool. I know I say that a lot. But, He really DOES know us. He knows our wants, our desires, our likes, our dislikes, our everything. What I really like is the way He speaks to us. He speaks to everyone differently, but He always speaks to me in ways that show just how intentional He is. He knows my mind. He knows the things that set off those “a-ha” moments in my head. I overanalyze everything. Probably more than the average human being does. I think about things… a lot… too much… always. Never stopping. When I gave my life to Christ, I started thinking about things in a whole different way. It’s like God is constantly carrying on a conversation with me. Everyone who knows me knows I love fitness. This is where that whole “God knows us so well” thing comes into play. He always allows me to relate His truths to OTHER things that I love in my life… One of those being Crossfit (a fitness program). I started going a couple months back. I think it’s safe to say it has become one of my favorite parts of my day! It has completely changed my outlook on fitness. It changed my view of what “fitness” looked like from one of distortion to one of clarity. So, on Wednesday the WOD (for all those who don’t speak Crossfit lingo, that’s code for Workout of the Day) included Wall Hand-Stand pushups. Before going into the WOD, Coach explained the movement. Now, I’m a go-getter. I like to give things my all. I knew when the movement was explained I could do this. HOWEVER, he explained, “form was most important”. And it is. Before being able to even ATTEMPT the push-up in this position, the foundation of the movement must be established. If this wasn’t established, then we were to to do an alternate movement called a “Wall walk-up”. Over my dead body was I going to do the wall walk-ups. First of all, wall handstand push-ups looked WAY cooler, and second of all “alternate” movement to me was code for “easy way out”. I KNEW I could do the wall handstand pushups. For crying out loud, I did gymnastics when I was 7 years old. I could do a wall handstand push up…. Two rounds into these beasts it hit me….. I could NOT do a wall handstand push up. I could easily get INTO the position, but it required a bounce and a kick, and then I was kind of awkwardly stuck in this frozen movement upside down with jello arms. My foundation was not established. My core wasn’t tight, and I was not moving. The pushup wasn’t happening. “Man, did I look cool though??” Simultaneously, I was really dealing with some things last week. Dealing with my self-worth, my identity, and who I was in Christ – Taking a good hard look at my past and letting the Lord strip me down of all the “stuff “ in my life. To be honest, all really good things, but I was just having a hard time working through it. I was getting super discouraged because I felt like I was failing in a lot of ways. That is when I was reminded of the Gospel, the VERY foundation of my Christian Faith. Jen Pinkner spent weeks going over it with me, and I never really understood why she continued to ask me week after week to repeat it to her. One thing, in particular, she said: “We must ALWAYS go back to the Gospel.” That was it! The Gospel IS OUR foundation. You must lay this foundation before going any further. The GOSPEL. Romans 3 The GOSPEL. We are all sinners, and have broken the law The GOSPEL. Because of our sin we are separated from God The GOSPEL. But JESUS bore our sins, died for US, and satisfied the law by dying on the Cross. The GOSPEL. By placing our Faith in Jesus Christ, we are saved from the judgement of God. Without going back and reminding myself of the very foundation of my Faith (The Gospel) I will continue to set myself up for failure, trying to live by a law and standards of perfection. I must always have my foundation down pat. Should I still strive to uphold God’s law? Absolutely! But, without the constant understanding of the Gospel, I am “holding a hand-stand on a wall with jello arms”. Without having my foundation down in ANY exercise movement, I will never get stronger. I may look awfully good doing it, but I will be making no progress. I think in the same way, the GOSPEL must ALWAYS be our foundation. We can never get stronger in Christ and in our Faith without always keeping our minds and hearts and thoughts on the Gospel. My Prayer for you today is that you will likewise be reminded of where your foundation lies, and speak the Truth of the Gospel!