Women leaders ready to ‘Seize the day



Ninety-two women gathered recently at Western Territorial Headquarters for the Women’s Ministries Fall Leadership Institute.

Change is not a new thing to The Salvation Army. Women’s Ministries programs have changed much over the last 25 years, with the most significant changes happening in the last 15. It has been like living on a beach. The tide comes in, goes out, and the sand is constantly shifting. New things appear on our beach, and some things have disappeared. Sea changes are a part of life.

Recently, 92 women from around the Western Territory gathered at territorial headquarters for the Women’s Ministries Fall Leadership Institute, where they asked God to help them see the day and seize the day.

Led by Commissioner Gwen Luttrell, territorial president of women’s ministries, and Lt. Colonel Debora Bell, territorial secretary for women’s ministries, the delegates identified the time in which we live as one of great change and made plans to ride this tsunami of change—taking The Salvation Army forward to the future and bringing more people in our communities into the kingdom of God.

Bell issued the challenge: “Live up to your potential and love what you are doing!” Noting that people are not flocking to the church to find God, she emphasized that the most effective churches are those that bring God to the people. Women’s Ministries is set to do that—to bring God to the people through the power of relationships, relationships with each other and with Jesus.

Luttrell reminded the delegates that they descend from a long line of visionary leaders, from Lydia to Catherine Booth and that they have a heritage rich with promise. Bell quoted John Maxwell, “In my years as a pastor…I have observed one undeniable truth: Healthy churches have healthy women’s ministries. Churches that are equipping women have significantly increased the vitality of their ministry both internally and externally.”
Seeing the unsaved community as their field of labor, the women faced the question, “Would it be possible for you to meet or touch the lives of everyone in your community in the next year? What would it take?” To be effective in their community, the women recognized that first they must build their relationship with God, seeking his protection, passion and provision. With God’s support, a woman will impact her community, and the ripples from her efforts will expand into the rest of her world.

With the purpose of taking the church to the people firmly in mind, Golden State’s Major Shawn Posillico, divisional director of women’s ministries, proposed a method to choose leaders. She suggested to toss into the pond of the community, leaders who can create ripples. After selecting a leader who possesses character, passion, giftedness and experience, officers need to release her so she can “skip” across the pond—making more ripples through outreach groups. Finally, the officer should develop that leader’s ability to spot and challenge more leaders. The method suggested is a leadership model such as that in Luke 10: I do it—you watch, you do it—I watch, I send you to do it—you return and evaluate.

Guest speaker Doreen Hanna presented a program called “Celebrate! You’re a Daughter of the King,” which is a rite of passage for teenage girls. With 2005 designated “A Year for Children and Youth,” Program Officer Major Joan Doughty, territorial Women’s Ministries department, presented ideas for children’s programs. “Baby Song,” a program originated in Sweden, is designed to meet the individual’s holistic needs: spiritual, social and physical.

Bell reminded us not to forget what we already have and shared methods to revitalize current programs, such as Home League, long the anchor to Women’s Ministries.

The delegates left the Women’s Ministries Fall Leadership Institute equipped with the purpose and tools needed to bring the church to the people and build the kingdom of God.

The delegates left the Women’s Ministries Fall Leadership Institute equipped with the purpose and tools needed to bring the church to the people and build the kingdom of God.

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