As I have read Anne’s blogs on “ A Sacred Exchange”, I have been a silent observer. She has been most courageous in sharing her heart, which encompasses her thoughts, longings and clearly her passion for the Lord. She has been vulnerable and transparent. My heart as well as other women’s hearts have definitely responded to what she has written.
Questions began to arise as I read the blogs and the women’s replies, ‘Why is this occurring? What are women seeking?’ On March 25, Lalainia’s response to Anne’s blog clearly indicates that she agrees that there is a Hunger for women to engage in authentic, transparent exchanges that are sacred. However, there is also Fear that rears its ugly head and causes women to halt and shut down. Lalainia suggests in changing the existing culture, a shift has to happen on two levels. Women need to take the risk of sharing and engaging with one another and that there is also support of this change at the women’s ministry level.
So I will take this risk and share my journey. Fear will not deter me. This is a huge step for me. If you had told me that I would be writing on a blog 6 months ago, I would have said, “Really? I don’t think so!”
Shannon (Director of Women’s Leadership) had a sense that women desired cross-generational relationships that involved mentoring. She approached me in the early fall and asked if I would serve as the Coordinator of the Mentoring Committee for our church.
In my quiet times with the Lord, I processed this role, and pondered about Christian women who had mentored me briefly as well as for short seasons. The open dialogue we exchanged encouraged and helped me in my life journey: spiritually, emotionally, physically and socially. The Lord was nudging my heart. How could I say no to my Savior? I know the immense benefits of mentoring and I wanted it for the women at our church. I accepted the position, foreseeing the role to unfold in a particular way, certain of the expectations. I knew the Lord was probably smiling at me because He knew that what was about to occur was different than what I anticipated. This often happens in my life. The Lord was asking me to reveal my heart and remove my cloak of protection, surrendering to His purpose for me within this newly formed committee.
Meanwhile, Shannon had been approaching other women as well to join the committee. Six women of various generational ages agreed to participate and we have met four times. Cross-generational ideas flooded our meetings as we had extensive, inspiring conversations. Hearts were open, ideas were shared and laughter was heard. The committee’s name evolved with clarity, LEGACY. Legacy, to the committee meant the on going sacred, relational exchanges between a mentor and mentee, between generations. In one of our meetings six keywords became pivotal for encompassing and directing each impending sacred journey for every woman involved: Love, Faith, Grace, Wisdom, Prayer, and Authenticity.
Our lively and engaging conversational journey has taken the committee to unexpected findings. We have come to understand that ‘sacred exchanges’ is both about starting at the grass roots and creating a culture within the church. It is about each woman having the courage to initiate and respond to sacred, providential moments. But hand in hand with this, is the responsibility of women’s ministry to help create a culture that encourages and supports these cross generation exchanges, resulting in a legacy for the next generation.
As we consider how to create this culture we hesitate and are cautious about, introducing more formalized “mentoring programs” because research shows they are not as effective in the long term. Instead, the committee is looking at the term “equipping’, and seeking how best to foster and support women as they start their individual, intentional journey of cross generational, sacred exchanges with other women.
The Legacy committee continues to pray as we navigate this daunting task. Our focus is for women to engage in ‘sacred exchanges’ with Christ at the center. But however we do that, however we move forward, we are cognizant that it must reflect the hearts and needs of the women in our community. We need to have you join our discussions and share your ideas about how we can best move forward.
The Legacy Committee is inviting you to join these on-going conversations focusing on how we can move forward and build a culture of sacred exchanges at a brunch. “Steps to Sacred Exchanges: The Cross Walk”, they are hosting at CAC on Saturday, April 26th, from 10:00am – 12:00.