Written by Cathie Ostapchuk
For three days in January a few thousand of the church in Canada gathered in Edmonton to experience Break Forth One , despite the city’s reputation of being blistering cold at this time of year.
Gather Women was there to bring the warming voice and presence of women into the conversation of the church in Canada. We were there to dialogue, to listen, to learn, to pray and to create new bonds of not only sisterhood but partnership with our male counterparts in the church. As we hosted a Friday pre-conference for women, See Her Rise, with an amazing collective of gifted teachers from across Canada, we knew that God was doing something in the hearts of His daughters. We heard clearly the call to rise, take courage, and do whatever He had called us to in the days ahead. We were thrilled to have Lisa Bevere join us on our Canadian platform and received the powerful commissioning she had for our girls for such a time as now, to rise.
We agree that the cultural landscape is changing. We agree that the church is changing both in response to culture and pro-actively called to shape the change.
If the church is a culture-shaper and women are half the church, then we want to be part of the shaping of thought, and of understanding how we can leverage our gifts to help the church flourish in order to live out the mission of representing Jesus in our nation.
What is important is that we do believe, together as women, that our gifts were given to us in order to use them in their fullness. We have to believe this completely and confidently.
If we don’t, half the church is missing in carrying out the mission of the church. If we don’t, we are deferring to others and diminishing our sense of inherent value as created in the image of God.
I love the following Passion Translation of Ephesians 4:11-13:
“And he has appointed some with grace to be apostles, and some with grace to be prophets, and some with grace to be evangelists (or preachers), and some with grace to be pastors (or shepherds) and some with grace to be teachers (or wise orators) And their calling is to nurture and prepare all the holy believers to do their own works of ministry, and as they do this they will enlarge and build up the body of Christ. These grace ministries will function until we all attain oneness in the faith, until we all experience the fullness of what it means to know the Son of God, and finally we become ONE with the full dimensions of spiritual maturity and fully developed in the abundance of Christ.”
These appointments of ordained roles are designed and designated for all believers with no gender qualification or disqualification.
Our year at Gather started with a call to Recapture the Wonder of God: His works, His love, and His presence in our lives. We are living in a day where we can and should expect His move across our hearts individually and our church collectively and we don’t want to miss a thing!
Being at Breakforth confirmed that there is a shift in the church in Canada to become all it was meant to be as the Bride of Christ with all functioning in fullness, regardless of gender.
The Message translation phrases this beautiful interdependence like a dance:
“…working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.” (Eph 4:12-13)
Gather Women extended the invitation to leaders and speakers at Breakforth One to join us to recapture the wonder of celebration and prayer. As we heard prayers offered up by key church and ministry leaders, there was a realization that God is calling leaders to lead the change in the church and in culture…prayerfully, strategically, thoughtfully, lovingly and humbly.
As a movement, Gather is focused on joining this prayerful, strategic, thoughtful, loving and humble journey into 2019 and beyond.
We have heard from many of you that what we have started is a needed voice as part of the church.
We agree with us that we need a way of connecting women from coast to coast, with a growing robust network that invite leaders, millenials and women on the fringe into belonging and into the center of relationship with Jesus.
So we are taking our time. We are fully committed to the dance of unity… men and women in the church rising to do our part to impact the generations with the transforming message of God’s love. We are committed to learning the dance steps together because we believe we are better together.
You will be hearing from us in the days ahead about new ways of gathering online for greater connectivity. You will hear about our signature national Gather Rise October 25 & 26 and other ways of connecting face to face. We are taking our time to fully flesh out the new ways God is calling us to go deeper and wider to connect, equip and champion the women in this nation and also create spaces for conversations about flourishing, our identity and influence.
The dance of becoming one is complex and creative and stunning when all are in step. We are committed to this interdependence as we seek to flourish together. Join us as we recapture the wonder of the dance of the Trinity. We believe God will reveal to us His wonderful works as we look up and see Him already moving our steps in unison to His.
You are invited to this beautiful dance. You are so welcome to learn the steps with us. Will you join us on the dance floor?
Let us gather.