Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Girlfriends at Grace

While I am away in Israel, several guest writers are filling in for me. Today’s entry is written by Laura Distler, who heads our Women’s Ministry at Grace Church:

In February 2005, I had lunch with one of the gals at Grace Church. When I shared my heart for women’s ministry, the vision for what we now know as the Girlfriends Task Force was birthed. Over the following two months the two of us diligently prayed that God would bring us a group of gals committed to women’s ministry at Grace. By May 2005, the Task Force had its first official meeting with 7 of us. We spent the entire first year evaluating. What did Grace Church have to offer to women? What did the women of Grace Church want from its women’s ministry? What programs were working in other churches across the country? The overwhelming response from the women at Grace was that they wanted a program that allowed them opportunities to grow spiritually, give them opportunity to get to know one another and make connections with other women with the same interests, and be comfortable inviting unsaved friends to participate with them.

When we came across Girlfriends Unlimited we were amazed at how this program seemed to fit the needs of the women at Grace. Girlfriends Unlimited is a ministry movement that creates innovative places for women to connect, have fun and find a purpose. Its about giving women permission to relax, unwind, gab, develop new friendships, and find a place where they belong. The Grace Brethren Church in Norton Ohio had adopted Girlfriends Unlimited and were seeing tremendous results from it, so we headed west to catch a glimpse. We were hooked! We witnessed first hand how this women’s ministry was moving their own gals into action in bringing women into situations where they could hear and respond to the Gospel. After this trip, 5 more gals were added to the Task Force. In June 2005, we spent two full days praying and planning for Girlfriends at Grace and the year ahead of us.

Girlfriends at Grace desires to enrich the heart, mind and soul of women in all seasons of life by offering a variety of activities designed to introduce Christ and nurture hope, purpose and satisfaction in Him. By offering large themed events, women from Grace and the community will be invited to come, play games, experience some pampering, enjoy entertainment, create a craft, eat fun food and just have a good time with the purpose of introducing them to Grace Church and ultimately to Jesus Christ. Girlfriends at Grace offers classes for women to to study God’s word together. Clubs bring gals together in a shared interest. Encouragement Groups are established based on a woman’s age, stage or circumstance in life, and Service Groups meet tangible needs in the lives of women.

I recently listed every gal who is in some form of leadership in one of these groups and counted sixty-six who have committed to Girlfriends at Grace leadership this year. I am also excited about new groups. There is a group forming for women ages 20-30, a “new-comers” group for gals who are new to the community, a cookie bake/exchange to provide cookies for a local women’s shelter, a book club, and the list just keeps going! It is with great anticipation that we look ahead to what is in store for Girlfriends at Grace!

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