Groundbreaking Conferences Help Free Will Baptist Girls Realize Their Worth
The concept of Shine! began during a WNAC board meeting, as board members dreamed of expanded ministry opportunities…if money were no option. When WNAC received an opportunity to apply for a FWB Foundation grant a few months later, the ministry submitted a proposal to host two conferences for 12- to 18-year-old girls, their mothers, and their youth leaders. We chose the name, Shine! Realizing Your Worth, to portray our hearts for these young ladies.
The conferences provided two tracks simultaneously. Beth and Rachel Bryant spoke to the girls, while Ana Batts and Sarah Sargent spoke to moms and youth leaders. The girls were challenged to live God’s way, hearing the important message, “You’re God’s girl, and that’s enough!” Moms and youth leaders were challenged to pray specifically with and for their girls and their friends.
Speakers shared specific statistics, information on technology, and guidelines for Web safety.
A total of 114 girls and 95 moms and youth leaders participated in the two conferences. The average age of the girls was 13.5 (42 for the moms and youth leaders). Thirty-six churches from 11 states were represented, including three non-Free Will Baptist churches. Ten state WAC presidents attended, and a team of 21 ladies from 14 states comprised the prayer team for the conferences.
Little did we know what God had in store for attendees in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and North Little Rock, Arkansas. He prepared the way, and lives were changed.
Let me share just a few of the many comments we received:
Pastor: I just wanted to let you and the Shine! Conference Committee know how much I appreciated the conference being held at our church. I listened to Beth and Rachel talk to the girls and was very impressed with the caliber of discussions these ladies presented. They were informative, instructional, and inspirational. I am very thankful our church was the first church to host the conference. I pray the next conference in Arkansas is as beneficial as the one held at our church.
State WAC president: To God be the glory, great things He has done! Can’t tell you also how much I appreciate each member of our WNAC board and the great speakers who shared such valuable messages and information. So glad I was able to attend. I’m confident eternal benefits will be reaped.
Moms/youth leaders: Gave me tools to use to connect with the girls in my life and a renewed urgency to pray for and with them. Soul-searching and challenging as a youth leader. Net safety was an eye-opener. Very convicting topics. Helped me value my daughter and love her, even her failures, even if she is not successful, just as God loves us. I will not be blindsided by issues my kids face. Free Will Baptist and internet statistics surprised me. Very relevant in our culture. It will be helpful to do this or something similar in my local area.
Girls: It taught me I have value and that I am God’s girl, so I am special. We talked about things I needed confirmed. To really know what worth is to God and not anyone else. No one can put a price tag on me. I learned the importance of friendships, dating, and marriage. I learned how to live God’s way. (P.S. please pray for me to get saved.)
WNAC is deeply grateful to Free Will Baptist Foundation for the grant that made these conferences possible. We are rejoicing at the seeds planted and anxiously awaiting the harvest in God’s time. Please pray with us for each attendee and especially the young lady who desires to be saved. God is at work among us. To Him be the glory and honor.