Growing the Possibilities in Ministry to Women
The women of First Assembly understand that principle, as they offer many options for growth to the women of their community. Weisel says, "Our prayer during each women's board meeting is, 'Lord, what would you have us to do?'" She explains that they don't want to offer ministry to women just because "it's always been done." Weisel says that they don't actually have a once-a-month Women's Ministries meeting. "We also have no fundraisers; we are fully supported by offerings," she adds.
Weisel took leadership of Women's Ministries at the church in 1993. She says, "The DNA of First Assembly is reach, teach, and send." The core of Women's Ministries here is prayer, a weekly discipleship Bible study, and a weekly compassion outreach called Help for Hurting Women.
Started by Weisel in 1991 as a class for women on Monday nights at the church, Help for Hurting Women (HHW) reaches women of all ages, social strata, and ethnic backgrounds. They come for a night of praise reports, prayer, Bible study, and personal ministry. Since it began over 23 years ago, HHW has met every Monday night, except holidays, and has seen 46,000 women attend, and 3,450 come to Christ. The ministry team is trained to be aware of hurting women wherever they can be found -- in restaurants, grocery stores, or other businesses -- and to invite them to attend the Monday night sessions. HHW also has a television program that airs four times per week.
This unique ministry also offers many other ways women can either be ministered to, or find a place of ministry, including the following:
Nights of Healing -- a healing service held three nights per year, with trained altar workers.
Artful Missions -- a ministry for artisans to support missions; includes two different art shows annually.
Media Ministry -- women volunteers produce and distribute over 2,000 DVDs or CDs annually.
Women to Women -- a compassion ministry team of 27 women who visit shut-ins, or those facing personal crisis. Thousands of phone calls, notes, or visits are made annually.
Living from the Life of Christ -- This intense discipleship Bible study offers support and fellowship.
Casual Conversations -- Women of all ages come together for fellowship, to establish deeper connections, and to encourage spiritual growth in each other; meets quarterly.
A New Season Widows' Connection -- group of widows who meet in a home monthly for food, fun, fellowship, and a devotional.
This list is not comprehensive, as the ministry offers missions trips, an abortion recovery ministry, a retreat for women, several working women's lunches, a support ministry for moms, and more.
Weisel concludes, "Each of these ministries is led by a woman who felt 'called' to that particular ministry. We cover and support her, but allow her great freedom to hear from God on facilitating the ministry. If God calls, and we obey, we are less likely to quit -- and more likely to commit!"
Weisel points out that excellence in all things is their continual goal. She says, "The Lord deserves no less than our very best!"