Thriving Together is a newsletter for women serving in or preparing for ministerial leadership in The Wesleyan Church. Each month, we want to embody 1 Thessalonians 5:11: 

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Encouraging One Another

Everyone longs for encouragement. In this world, people are ready to tear us down and point out all our mistakes. Accepting the call of God is foreign to some who love us, and can be misunderstood. Mary must’ve felt the same burden. You may have experienced sneers and pointing fingers, negative comments, and insults. Mary’s answer to God’s call on her life could’ve caused her to be stoned to death. Even as she gave birth to the Messiah, I wonder if she questioned, wondering if her experience with Gabriel was real.
At the temple, Mary encountered Anna: a prophetess of great spiritual influence who spoke truth – thanking God and speaking of Jesus as the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:36-38). What an encouragement Mary must’ve felt! After the pain of childbirth: in a stable, in a foreign place; they encountered Anna who spoke an encouraging and prophetic word about her child: God’s child.May we be bearers of encouragement: praying and seeking the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. Whether we are speaking to a mom, a student, a neighbor or friend we too can lift others up with encouragement and let them know how precious they are.

Rev. Natalie Gidney is the author of Promises You Can Count OnSpiritual Training 101: Preparing for EternityFree to Be Fully Me, and Transformed by the Grace of Jesus. She is the Engagement & Experience Coordinator for World Hope International – Canada and serves on the communications team of Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy.

Building Each Other Up

This time last year I was sharing in the joys of pregnancy with THREE women very close to me. We dreamed together, shopped together, craved together, and this year are all eagerly anticipating this first Christmas with our little ones. But in the midst of journeying into motherhood with our littles so close in age, it is easy to tiptoe into dangerous territory we women know too well: the realm of comparison. Unfortunately in our readiness to compare, we neglect a greater opportunity: the opportunity to encourage.
Not Elizabeth. She found herself in a comparable season of life with Mary–they were both expecting! But instead of spiraling downward into the typical pregnant mama comparisons (Any movement yet? Have you picked a name? Nursery theme?), Elizabeth chooses to encourage Mary. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” No hint of jealousy or eagerness to compare bump sizes. Elizabeth jumps straight to what her heart knew her fellow mama-to-be needed: a timely word of encouragement.
How can you be an Elizabeth—eager to build others up instead of comparing? Our hearts often know exactly what those around us need; maybe it is time we actually speak it.

Pastor Jessica Folz puts her degree in Adolescent Ministries and Intercultural Studies from IWU to work as the Youth Pastor at Lakeview Wesleyan Church in Marion, IN.

The Gathering Breakfast for Women Pastors and Ministerial Students
Good Measure, Poured Out: The Gift of Mentorship
7:30 a.m. – January 6 – The Caribe Royale Resort – Rooms Boca V & VI
Guest Speakers:
General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt and GS Emerita Dr. Jo Anne Lyon

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

Email if you did not RSVP but would like to attend.

Doing Ministry

As we celebrate the birth of the one who was to become the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53), Kalina Smith reminds us to remember those for whom Christ identified during this season – those who are suffering through grief. The six and a half years of theological and pastoral education prior to my mom’s passing taught me that the church was meant to be a place of respite for those who mourn. Yet, when I found myself needing the church to grieve, I could not find any space for my grief within the
walls of my church read more . . .

1 Thessalonians 5:12 continues, “. . . acknowledge those who work hard among you.” We’d love to feature your story in an upcoming Thriving Together email. Help us to acknowledge the work of women in the church by clicking on the stories icon below.

Rejoicing, Praying, Giving Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 encourages us to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Sisters, be strong in the Lord and in the power of God’s might (Eph. 6:10). In this season of busyness, be rooted in Christ, remembering the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel in the first coming of the Messiah and serve with anticipation as we await Christ’s promised return! May we join our voices with Mary,  accepting the call to participate in God’s great story of salvation and redemption, proclaiming that we are the Lord’s servants and trusting that all we are called to will come to fruition by his power alone (Luke 1:38). May our souls praise the Lord as we faithfully serve and lift one another up, rejoicing in God our savior, each and every step of the journey, (Luke 1: 46b-47). Amen.

We are grateful for you! We want to be a blessing to you and to pray over you as God sends you out. If you have a prayer request, please click the prayer icon below to email us your prayer request. We commit to praying for you as you encourage one another, build each other up, and as you do the ministry God has called you to do.

Rev. Emily Vermila is Assistant Professor of Christian Worship and Head Coach of Women’s Swimming and Diving at Indiana Wesleyan University.