Keep the Fires Burning: Global Women's Leadership Forum

Today we released the special edition of the Cru Women’s Resource Newsletter celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Global Women’s Leadership Forum, held in March, 2004 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  It was a major effort to expand the leadership development and opportunities of our staff women around the world.  This post was my introductory letter for our celebration.Spiritual arsonist is one of my favorite callings.

Which is probably why the Global Women’s LeadershipForum (GWLF) is one of my greatest ministry highlights. It was about starting fires.

As we planned for and brought into being this amazing gathering of 450 staff women from 90+ countries, we had three fires in mind.

  1. We desired to plant seeds of Holy Spirit fire--fireseeds—in the hearts and minds of these staff women: To walk in a greater power of the Spirit than they had ever experienced. To believe that God had called them to be and do more in His kingdom than they had ever asked or imagined. To instill competence and confidence and courage in them to live out His calling in their lives.

    So we said “You are leaders, in many different ways.” We taught them the Leadership Framework, began equipping them with essential tools and skills, connected them with global sisters, helped them initiate personal development plans, encouraged faith and hope and mandated action.We challenged them to fan the flames God had ignited in them in our week together.

  2. As these women headed home, we also challenged them to spread the fire. We didn’t bring them together just for themselves, but also for their sisters back home.

    We said, Take your flame, your fireseed, and share it with your city, your nation, your area of the world. Tell our staff, and the women they disciple: God has called you help build His kingdom, to start movements of spiritual multiplication. Teach them. Train them. Equip them. Open doors for them. Share your competence, your confidence, your courage.

    And they did. Over the next years, similar forums, trainings, developmental conferences, leader initiatives occurred in at least 40 locations. I went to places like India, Singapore, South Africa, Benin, Panama, Hungary, with groups small and large, helping with major events and intimate conversations.

Our aim was even greater. Our desire was to spread fires to and throughout our entire ministry. Having a major event such as GWLF was a giant risk. Many people told us so. But if the scale was small, so would be the impact. Small fires only, when the whole world needs to be set on fire.More than half the people God has called to our mission are female.

Our task is so immense—surely God intends for all his servants to be significantly contributing to that Great Commission. Yet, many of our women haven’t even known their gifts, have not been prepared to step into new opportunities, have settled for less than God has prepared for them.That is not acceptable. So we desired to cast fireseeds out in the power of the Holy Spirit, to call all our people, men and women, to be making their best contribution at each season of their lives.We gathered the kindling of our staff women, we assured them of the fuel of the Holy Spirit, we added sticks and branches of training and equipping, and we lighted the fires with vision and passion.

Did the fires spread?

Yes, at first. As mentioned, there were many events. But could we keep them burning, showering all with the fireseeds God had planted? Sometimes the fires seemed to disappear. Some poured water on them. Others neglected to add more fuel. Yet like Florida muck fires in the swamps, the fires were still alive, smoldering, creeping, slowly burning.And now? They are everywhere. Read these stories from your sisters, from those who sponsored and prepared and presented and attended. Look around at all the staff women who have been equipped to contribute, who have stepped into many different kinds of opportunities, who are teaching their disciples that God has more for them.

Let’s keep fanning those flames! We still have a long way to go. And a world to reach.

What about you?  What fires are you starting?

C2014 Judy Douglass

Related articles:

Celebrating God’s Daughters 

Competence and Confidence