For Such A Time As This
Stadia’s Bloom is a ministry meant for ANY woman interested in church planting. Bloom offers a community of women in various church planting roles, and opportunities to discover and grow your personal leadership. You don’t have to plant alone!
Recently, Bloom published its fifth book, Named & Known. Uncovering the Identities of Women Who Plant Churches. The book deals with identity, and in it, church planting women share their stories of times when their identities were unknown, mistaken, unexpected, and secure. Editor Heidy Tandy writes,
Culturally, it feels as if we are in a “for such a time as this” moment. It is definitely an interesting time to be alive. And for women in church planting leadership, there seems to especially be some God-ordained opportunities. Our identity as women and what we will be known for is in prominent focus. We are seeing women in the church being given a louder voice and more opportunities for leadership advancement now more than ever before. Previously held ideas about what a woman in ministry looks like are being shattered…So within these stories of church planting women, you’ll hear from women who have planted churches in the last year, fifteen years ago, and everywhere in between. These women lead in diverse ways: as pastors, on staff at churches, in the marketplace, at home with kids, as single women, on the east cost, on the west coast, and across the United States.
These honest and powerful stories resonate deeply. What phase are you in in understanding your identity?
Unknown Identity (excerpt):
Looking back, I realize I made a mistake in how I approached God. Surprisingly, getting mad at God was not the problem. The mistake was that I blended the lines between what I was supposed to do with my life and who I was. In other words, I mistook my calling for my identity. I thought if God just told me what he wanted me to do, I would have purpose. Quite the opposite was true. God led me to search my heart to see what I wanted to do with mu life, only for me to go deeper to find out why. Yes, I wanted to help people know more about who Jesus was. That’s what I wanted to do, but why did I want to do it? Yes, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. That’s what I did, but why did I do it?
The “why” questions challenged me because they caused me to connect with my inner desires as well as my God-given design. Only through the deep seeking of those answers did I touch the surface of exploring who I really was. “Why” questions really do expose your heart, and your heart is linked to your identity when you ask God to come and make his dwelling place there. However, as Christians, we’re often told not to ask “why” questions. We’re told we should be comfortable with knowing that God has all the answers, and we should just be satisfied with that. Yet, even Jesus asked “why” questions. On the cross, with some of his final breaths, he asked the Father in a loud voice, “Why have you forsaken me?” If Jesus asked a “why” question, I believe we can ask “why” questions also.
(Dimetra Barrios, Lead Planter of Legacy Brooklyn)
Mistaken Identity (excerpt)
Of course, the beauty of the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand is exactly that the little boy’s offering is not enough. It’s not even close to enough. There’s no way five loaves and two fish could feed a crowd that size. And yet he was willing to bring them. And from that act of offering, God filled the space and provided the need.
Much of my own journey of identity has been learning to be ok with my limitations and learning that God is so pleased with the loaves and fishes I can offer; stretching myself too thin, striving to be the best at all things takes my focus from what God has uniquely purposed for me. I have also learned that any gaps left by my limited capacity are actually opportunities for church members to step up into leadership and exercise their gifts and talents, opportunities they perhaps may not have if I am filling the space. There are certainly some roles that only I can fill, but part of the beauty of the body of Christ is that there are other roles that someone else can fill.
When I’ve been overwhelmed by my limitations and feelings of failure, when I feel like I am not enough, it has been a great comfort to remember that God is enough. He is enough to fill the spaces, he is enough to lead his church, he is enough for my family, he is enough for the people in our city, he has been enough on my journey so far, and I choose to trust that he will be enough as he leads us on.
(Jessica Moerman, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at Department of Energy & planter at Grace Capital City)
Unexpected Identity (excerpt)
As I look back at this time, I realize there are often moments in our lives where we (or others) attempt to count ourselves out – where mistakes have been made or circumstances occur that cause us to doubt the impact we can have or the plans God has for us. But what I have found over and over is that God never sees it that way. Nothing catches him off guard, even the most unexpected moments to us. There is still this beautiful story he has for our lives that just might have a different plot than we originally imagined. He has a future handcrafted for us and an impact for us to make that often times surprises us. We might take detours; we might listen to the lies of the enemy coming through the voice of others or our own minds, but God has this patient and persistent way of bringing people and circumstances into our lives that help point us back to what we were created for.
Be intentional to determine the lies that are on repeat or that sneak in at your most vulnerable moments. Every time they creep in, run to your heavenly Father, and ask him to show you the story only he can write with your life.
(Michaell Dupin, co-lead planter & pastor at Eastown Church)
Secure Identity (excerpt)
As I’ve begun the church planting journey, it has led me to ask the question, “How has God uniquely created me?” If the church is an elaborate impressionist painting of God meant to show his heart to the world, I’d like to think each and every one of us is a different shade of color used to paint his beauty. We each contribute a different little swatch of God’s character, one bit of his heart and personality in a unique way to our circle of friends I’m learning that I don’t have to be the whole painting. Other people use their different hue to share the heart of Jesus with their world. I’ve discovered so much as I’ve asked what my hue is and considered the part it plays in the painting.
I’ve also realized that everyone’s unique gifts just serve as a vehicle for the general mission that we are all called to. Everyone is called to evangelism. What does evangelism look like with your specific set of gifts? Everyone is called to discipleship. What does it uniquely look like when you disciple others?
(Katie Alesso, Connections Director and planter at Thrive Los Angeles)
As Heidy Tandy writes, Each woman is uniquely and purposefully made for her own story: for such a time as this.
What is your story?