I have potential in Christ,” echoed the voices of the attendees at the “Equipped to Lead: Women Involved in Ministry” conference at the Gulf States Conference office in Montgomery, Ala. Mary Jo Dubs, director of family ministries for the Georgia-Cumberland Conference, was the keynote presenter and led the women in repeating these words of affirmation.
Cynthia Bush, director of women’s ministries for Gulf States, created the two-day event to offer encouragement to directors of local church women’s ministries. Additionally, women who participate in any department in their local church were invited to attend the event. When polled, women indicated involvement in prison, youth, Sabbath School, and many other ministries. The event wasn’t limited to just the Gulf States Conference; several attendees from other conferences also participated and said they were blessed.
Dubs offered a variety of presentations that covered how Jesus ministered to women, providing attendees a clear view of how highly Jesus esteemed women in His ministry. In many interactions, Jesus noticed the core issues they were facing, and gracefully met their needs. Dubs also utilized a variety of group exercises to engage with the audience. One of these exercises involved attendees being assigned a woman from the Bible as a topic of study. Though many of these stories are just a few verses long, asking the right questions and considering the context brought many encouraging details to light.
Dubs also addressed the “old couch” in our churches, those things churches keep doing despite their poor appeal. They are kept around, however, simply because it is comfortable, just like old couches. “What are some of the ‘old couches’ in your church?” Dubs asked. Some of the responses included a lengthy order of service and poorly conducted Sabbath Schools. Dubs challenged the group to come up with solutions to these old couches, something practical that could be applied when they get back to their churches.
The event concluded Sabbath afternoon with an affirmation service acknowledging the efforts of the women in their churches and communities. Each woman received a certificate and a small gift to recognize their desire to minister for Jesus. Several women complimented Bush for the event, including Pat Hillyer, attendee, who stated, “It really was a great event, I was so glad I got to attend.”
Gulf States | September 2019