The general rule of thumb at our church is "You spot it, you got it". If you happen to notice that one of the light bulbs in the bathroom is burnt out and you mention it to anyone on staff, they will happily tell you where you can find the supply closet. If you think it would be nice to have pretty mums planted in the front garden, you can count on spending some time in those flower beds. You spot it, you got it. You would think that this philosophy would discourage communication, and it may impede it to some degree, but I am continually surprised at how successful it is. We are encouraged to do away with the thought that we are consumers of "church" and that the church we attend exists to serve us. Instead, we are challenged to serve, just as Jesus did.
"Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. --Matthew 20: 26-28"
So, knowing this, I admit that when I felt like I could really benefit from a women's bible study, I didn't say a word to anyone! I knew the church philosophy and agreed with it. In fact, I was convicted during my prayer time repeatedly over this. I felt as though God was nudging me, gently at first and then stronger, towards women's ministry. But I resisted. I kept telling myself I wasn't ready or that I didn't know enough or that I didn't have childcare. The list went on and on.
About three months ago, I had a discussion with my friend Liana that really turned the tide. She and her husband Jim host our small group at their house on Tuesday nights. The group has been meeting for three years now and Liana was sharing with me that Jim was getting burnt out. Apparently, he had mentioned to her that he was considering having everyone in the group rotate teaching. Now, before this, Liana and I had discussed this exact thing and I had told her emphatically that I would not do that because it was too far out of my comfort zone. So, knowing how I felt, Liana told Jim that she didn't think everyone would be willing to participate. Jim's response then was that he needed to find a co-facilitator and that the best person in our group would be me. Of course, Liana told him she didn't think I would want to and that was that. Except that Liana shared that discussion with me. And you know what? For the first time, I considered it. What a difference it made to hear that someone thought I was capable.
So when Jim brought this up to the group, and publicly asked for volunteers to co-facilitate, I started to ask a few questions. I was blown away by what happened next. Everyone in the group began to encourage me. There was a chorus of "Oh, that would be great!" and "Oh, you'd be perfect for it". I was stunned. All along I'd been feeling incapable and inadequate and here was an entire group of people that not only believed I was capable, but was actually encouraging me to do it. Wow.
There was another gentleman in our group that came forward that night as well and so the three of us have begun to rotate leading. I lead our group for the first time two weeks ago and it went really well. After that, I knew that all my fears and hesitations about leading a women's group were unfounded and could be conquered. Tonight, after our study, Jim asked me if I would be willing to pursue starting a new group and I said yes.
My yes was to God.
Yes, Lord, I will step onto the path you've set before me.
Yes, I am willing to go where you send me.
Thanks for believing in me.
A thought for tonight: Who in your life could you give encouragement to? Do you see a special skill or ability or gift in someone that you think they are unaware of? Tell them! Who knows where it could lead.