By Emilie Rodriguez
The national leadership team of AB GIRLS (NLT), a ministry of American Baptist Women’s Ministries, had decided that for the national gathering of AB GIRLS for the year of 2015, we would focus on developing and strengthening leadership skills. While we were hoping to reach that goal, what came out of the GIRLS Leadership Academy (GLA) in June was much more than any of us could have dreamed.
I had been in Kansas City already for four days before the GLA started, participating in the national board meetings of AB Women’s Ministries. In those four days, the theme of relationships and their power and worth emerged without being planned. And it carried on to the girls’ gathering without intention. We wanted these girl to realize their potential and become the leaders that God wanted them to be. But God wanted us to take it a step further. Throughout our time together, the other members of the NLT and I realized that these girls needed to be affirmed, assured that what they think makes them weird and odd is what God wants them to embrace, what God wants them to use in their own journey as leaders. So we tried to show them that.
Through our worship, “funshops” (“fun workshops”), and participation in both the American Baptist Mission Summit and AB Women’s Ministries Women’s Day, the relationships that we built with these girls proved to have a more powerful effect than we thought. We hoped to send these girls in their own leadership paths, trying to illuminate God’s plan for each and everyone of them. And while I feel we accomplished that, I think we accomplished something even greater: we showed them that they are worthy of being used as God’s servants, as conduits for God’s Word.
I believe that this is the foundation of AB GIRLS ministry. That age range from twelve to eighteen isn’t easy, but hearing the love and support of those around you, telling you to be strong in who you are, help develop the building blocks that these girls need to become leaders in the first place. So in your own girls group, make sure that each girl knows that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that although they are young, God has something planned for each and every one of them.
(For more information about ministry with girls, visit www.abwministries.org/girls. For information about the national leadership team of AB GIRLS, visit www.abwministries.org/nlt. To help support AB Women’s Ministries ministry with girls, visit www.abwministries.org/wgmf.)