Regardless of the path we take to get here, being in ministry can sometimes be difficult and lonely. I married a church-planter and had no prior ministry experience, so during those first years, I struggled quite a bit. I prayed for a mentor, longed for a spiritual mother, and desperately wanted to talk to someone who might have felt this way, too. I had seen the ConnectLive groups on the ARC Women site, but honestly didn’t think that they were for me. I thought, “A small group online? How could that ever help?”
And then the strangest thing happened: I was approached about leading one.
Me? Are you serious?
But I felt a little nudge in my spirit. “You need this,” it said. And I thank God everyday that I listened.
It may not sound like much, meeting once a month over a Google Hangout with 5 or 6 other ARC Women, but I cannot even begin to tell you how much it has done for me. I expected the first week to be awkward, but once the introductions were over, a supernatural comfort set in. As it turns out, we were all hungry for this; we were all longing for a safe place to go and work out this whole ministry and church-planting wife thing. It looks different for everyone, but our experiences are so much the same. By week two we were laughing about the crazy things our husbands ask us to do for the church, felt relief to find out that we all felt like we were dropping the ball sometimes, praying fervently for each other’s families, churches, and upcoming launch dates. And now, it is by far the most encouraging hour of my month. So no, it isn’t much- just one hour a month- but nothing lifts my spirits like being surrounded by other godly women who are on a similar journey.
For me personally, the ARC Women group has been my lifeline. That mentor I prayed for? Well, I found her in my group. I’m further along than she is in terms of church planting, but she’s years ahead of me in ministry and motherhood. I know that these ladies pray for me because if I am having a tough day or feel like I’m not enough, one of them texts or calls with just the right words. My current group is made up of ladies in Kentucky, Utah, Hawaii, North Carolina, Florida, and the UK. And if I were to see any one of them tomorrow, we’d hug and carry on like old friends… because we are old friends–we’ve just never actually met!
God can use all things for the good… His word tells us that. And where two or more gather, He is there. I am thankful for Google+ accounts and the technology that allows me to meet with these incredible ladies! Though separated by many miles (and sometimes oceans), we are supernaturally bonded and will be friends for life. My ARC Women group is my safe place, and I am so very thankful.
Here are just a few other comments from ARC Women Group Participants:
My connect group has helped keep my sanity and religion! Ha! Not really, but can’t imagine going down this road without them! God has used them to bless me, speak to me, and guide me! So thankful! – Lexie Centers, Riverland Church (Launching January 2014), Summerville, SC
I have really enjoyed just having people to bounce ideas off of, talk through processes and just be real and honest with. I love that I have women I can go to when I just need to vent and know I will not be judged for it. It has been a huge blessing to have ladies to walk through this journey with! – Kim Wood, Freedom Life Church, Christiana, PA
The Arc Women ConnectLive Group experience gives me the unique opportunity to know that I am not alone in stepping out to follow God. It is refreshing to know there are other like-minded women who will encourage me and understand the challenges I face. – Sarah Siu, Encounter City Church (Launching February 2014), Honolulu, HI
I have loved being in the same phase of life with other church planters all across the nation. I receive hope, encouragement, and refreshment from my time on Google Hangout with these women. – Erin Blair, Bay City Church (Launching September 2014), Wilmington, NC
For more information about ConnectLive Groups, click here.