‘Dig Deep’ – Equipping Women for Leadership
255 women gather at Pacific Palms Conference Center, City of Industry, Calif.
by Charleen Bradley, Major
Have you ever explored a mine seeking buried treasure? Women officers and lay leaders representing the Western Territory did just that at the recent Dig Deep, Equipping Women for Leadership Conference held Jan. 21-23. Did they mine for gold, rubies and diamonds? No, they were seeking an even better and longer lasting treasure—a deeper knowledge of the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God (Romans 11:33A NIV).
Led by Colonel Susan Harfoot, territorial secretary for women’s ministries, and her conference committee, the Dig Deep Women’s Ministries Leadership Conference was a goldmine of riches where leaders were able to:
D—Develop leadership skills and find fresh vision for women’s ministries;
E—Equip leaders with tools and skills to more effectively reach out and win women for the kingdom of God;
E—Enrich women’s ministries programs and strive for excellence;
P—Provide personal spiritual refreshment and growth for each woman in attendance.
The special guest speaker for the weekend was Lt. Colonel Barbara Hunter, divisional commander of the Southern New England Division, Eastern Territory. Hunter’s dynamic and deep devotional messages during the plenary sessions provided a rich treasure from God’s Word, reminding delegates that when the pressures of the world seem most crushing and perplexing, God’s surpassing power is available to meet those demands.
Praise and worship led by Major Lisa Smith was another rich treasure that ushered us into the presence of God during these sessions. The worship experience was also enhanced by rich exposition of the Word of God by Major Michele Lescano, who shared her own experience and love of mining. Dressed as a miner, she shared that like the miner—who must be diligent and determined when exploring a mine—we must also dig deep to find the treasures of God’s word. She challenged each delegate to see that we are all diamonds in the rough and that we can be transformed into his image if we mine the depths of his Word.
Creative presentations were also part of the worship experience. Joy and Praise Lee’s interpretive dance “Change in the Making” depicted how each individual must discover the hidden treasures and gifts that God has given her in order to walk with him more fully. Major Jeanne Baker amazed us all with a sand painting presentation of “Redeemer,” blessing each woman that was present.
Numerous workshops were available for the women to explore, designed to provide deeper personal understanding and to allow the discovery of new and exciting programming ideas to meet the needs of today’s women. One delegate remarked that the workshop “strengthened and stretched her awareness of needed growth.”
Special guest Susan Lawrence, from Group Publishing Girlfriends Unlimited, led a dynamic workshop called “Growing Women.” Lawrence is gifted in the area of equipping women in leadership to meet the needs of other women while balancing their own needs. What a treasure for women Salvation Army officers and leaders who sometimes are challenged in this area of their ministry.
The women leaders could also mine the wealth of program ideas in the Saturday afternoon exhibit hall. Professionally presented, each booth offered information and educational resources that will enrich women’s ministries programs and inspire women to strive for excellence.
Zechariah 9:16-17a says, The Lord their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be! Each woman who attended this conference surely returned home “sparkling” with the knowledge that “digging deep” for the riches of God will attract and win women for the kingdom of God.