We just had our team leadership retreat to kick off this ministry year. The ladies spent a weekend bonding and being refreshed and renewed by Jesus and we were all reminded of why we do what we do! We have 20 women on the team committed to a year of ministry and I couldn’t be more excited about who they are!
Each of these women bring their own unique stories, experiences, gifting, pain and passion to the team! Some are empty nesters and others just graduated from college. Some have kids and others have adopted or fostered children while others have walked the pain of miscarriage. Some are left brained and some are right. Some go to Presbyterian churches, others Christian Reformed, others Vineyard churches, others Episcopalian and others non denominational- it runs the gamut. Some have amazing voices and others can make you laugh at the drop of a hat, some think in numbers and others in song. Some are single, some are married, some are in the height of their career and others have surrendered that for a time being to stay at home with newborns. All this to say, all these women come from different places, yet as we shared our stories at the retreat, it became clear what they all have in common: they share the same heart and desire for Jesus to run into their lives and the lives of others!
We could have talked all weekend about What Collide does and How we do it, but instead we talked about WHY. I invited women outside the team whose lives have been changed through the mission of Collide to come and share with the team. Sitting in a living room listening to those women share how God has met them at one of our gatherings was so inspiring! One woman came into a Collide freshly divorced carrying what she described as great shame and walked out carrying hope. One woman came having walked through sexual abuse and the paralyzing effects it has had on her as an adult and she shared the freedom she has now found from benefiting from our counseling program that she plugged into after an event. One woman shared about her collision with God in the midst of her big questions and doubt and how God met her at a Collide not with trite answers, but instead His presence. What amazing stories!
These stories reminded this year’s team why they do what they do and we will need that reminder when we are working hard to serve the ladies of Whatcom County! When this team is folding programs, creating graphics, going into different facilities and putting on conferences for hundreds of women, creating art, practicing music, scrubbing toilets, making sack lunches, registering people, shopping for supplies and making origami flowers and pennants, they can draw on the stories they have now heard of women who came to Collide and found God in a new way and were changed by that. They can draw on it, work toward it and pray it happens again and again!
Our retreat just so happened to land in the midst of a crazy wind storm as we progressed around town having different people in the community teach and speak into the lives of these women. We had the great privilege of learning leadership principles from a man who has spent his life running large companies and consulting them and then we traveled across streets covered in flying tree branches to the home of a counselor who taught the women how to engage people in their pain and then we sat in the living room of a woman who has done years and years of ministry, published books and mentored so many women. The team was shaped, developed and encouraged by a larger community of people who believe in what they are doing. It was a rich day!
This team will learn from each other, sharpen each other, pray for each other, challenge each other and be transformed with each other! I am looking forward to an amazing year where Jesus will once again show up and collide with people of all different ages, backgrounds and faith places and when He does, He will bring about beauty in pain and purpose in meaninglessness!
Please pray for this team as they embark on a year of growth, service and learning… – Willow
If you want to know how you can get involved in partnering with Collide and being apart of this ministry, check out our new Getting Involved page!