When Harmony Free Will Baptist Church leaders met with potential pastor Tim Forman, they posed this question. “Could your wife help us get a women’s group started?” Tim assured them this would be no problem. He knew his wife Sandy would jump at the chance to involve women in WNAC.
Body Building With WNAC
by Sarah Fletcher
Setting the Pace
The Formans arrived at Harmony (Tim’s first pastorate) in June 2005. In August that same year, 23 women met at the parsonage for the first meeting of the Harmony Women Active for Christ. Today, the group numbers 54 and spans generations. Women ages 11 to 93 meet monthly for fellowship, study, and prayer, and joyfully involve themselves in a host of service efforts that impact their community as well as the world. Under Sandy Forman’s leadership, Harmony Women Active for Christ continues to thrive.
Sandy was not always a WNAC enthusiast. She confesses, “I was the child whose mother dragged her to auxiliary meetings.” She offered plenty of excuses. “There’s no one my age. It’s boring. They never do anything fun.” “Please don’t make me go,” she begged.
Her mother didn’t budge, and Sandy kept going. That maternal persistence paid off when as a 20-something, Sandy chose to take an active role in her local Women Active for Christ in Pontotoc, Mississippi. She credits the change in attitude to the influence of Rhonda Whitley. As a new pastor’s wife, Rhonda revamped woman’s auxiliary and began a WAC group in Sandy’s home church. Sandy says, “Under her leadership, we discovered that studying God’s Word is interesting, helping missionaries is rewarding, and the strength we gain from other women is something we could not find in other organizations. Rhonda made WAC come alive.”
Vision for Growth
Sandy emulated her mentor and transported those same leadership goals and vision to an eager congregation in Rye, Arkansas. Today, Harmony Women Active for Christ is the largest local WAC group in the nation. Over half the congregation actively participates. The group’s goal this year is to involve every woman. Sandy gives all the glory to God.
She also points to women’s faithfulness, willingness, and joy in working with each other as contributing factors to the group’s effectiveness. “We promote unity. We help one another and build each other up.”
The mutual help and encouragement among women is also building and strengthening the entire church body. The church continues to experience steady growth. Sandy believes part of the growth came as a direct result of the efforts of WAC. When women began meeting together, men in the church recognized their need for fellowship and discipleship. In October 2006, they organized a Master’s Men chapter. This drew several unchurched husbands and fathers, and eventually whole families committed their homes to the lordship of Christ. One girl accepted Christ as Savior through the influence of godly mentors within the WAC.
A couple who recently joined the church started attending after they received a snack bag through a WAC community outreach project. They commented, “We realized this church was actively doing something and was not just concerned with itself; Harmony Church truly cares about our community.”
Reaching the Goal
Harmony exemplifies the aim of WNAC to help women fulfill the Great Commission through God-designed roles in the home, church, community, and world. Over the past six years, the group has collected eyeglasses for the Lion’s Club, provided school supplies for the church’s van ministry children, distributed snack bags throughout the community, and offered volunteer service and supplies for a nearby crisis pregnancy center. They’ve mailed care packages to soldiers in Iraq and workers in a creative access region. Women have given socks to homeless shelters and abuse centers, made quilts for every bed at the Florence Crittendon Children’s Home in Little Rock, and provided crayons and homemade pillows for children at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
They’ve assisted a Free Will Baptist mission church with cleaning and door-to-door evangelism. Women routinely sing at a local nursing home. The group participates annually in Operation Christmas Child, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and their county festival. They regularly support Free Will Baptist home and international missionaries, the WNAC office, and other local church ministries. Recently, when six members of the church’s Master’s Men chapter decided to participate in the July 2011 Alaska Missions Trip, women raised funds through a “Crockpot Sunday Donation Dinner.”
Characterized by Caring Commitment
From cooking dinners to collecting donations, Harmony women love projects. Yet the fuel for all these efforts stems from their commitment to Christ and their care for one another. Women pray together. Several meet monthly at the parsonage for an afternoon Bible study. A monthly email newsletter communicates needs and keeps women connected.
When members of the church family get sick or go to the hospital, the group sends cards and provides meals for the family. A WAC-sponsored prayer blanket ministry reminds sick or homebound individuals that Harmony women are covering them in prayer.
Faithful supporters of Harmony Church, these women also fill roles as Sunday School teachers, choir members, musicians, and church committee members. Harmony women encourage WNAC involvement at every level—participating in local, district, and state events, serving on district and state WAC boards, and attending national conventions and retreats.
For anyone starting a women’s group or considering WNAC, Sandy offers this advice. “Don’t think you can’t do something just because you are few in number. Although your group may be small, you can still do mighty things for the Lord; even one or two can do mighty things. Listen for the Lord’s calling, then step out and do it.”
Sandy Forman concentrates her efforts on teens and junior girls. She delights in getting them involved. Her enthusiasm, acceptance, and positive influence are making a difference. Unlike the child whose mother dragged her to Auxiliary, girls at Harmony Church eagerly participate and rarely miss a meeting.
About the Writer: Sarah Fletcher is editor and designer for WNAC publications and manages www.wnac.org.