Shipping Has Begun!

Order Now!

If you pre-ordered Women’s Ministry with Purpose, your book has already begun the shipping process and you should have it soon.  It is now also available on Nook (Barnes & Noble) as well as Kindle (Amazon) for immediate access via your e-reading device.

Don’t forget ANYONE who purchases Women’s Ministry with Purpose, regardless of when you purchase, will have access to our private Behind the Scenes Facebook group. In this group you will…

  1.  Receive Free Gifts!  Currently members are enjoying a custom curated Spotify playlist of my favorite worship songs.  They have also been gifted a custom wallpaper for their phone & desktop.  And most recently, I gifted a FREE 17 page “Praying for Your Women’s Ministry” prayer guide.
  2. Enter Giveaways!  There is some AMAZING gifts and launch swag coming your way if you are in the group.  There will be weekly opportunities to win.
  3.  Enjoy Community!  This is our group, where we can learn from each other.  Let’s talk Women’s Ministry, ministry leadership, or ask me about the book writing process.  We are better together, and I for one am happy to chat!

And, I have some other exciting things in store, coming soon.  For more information, CLICK HERE!

Thanks so much for your support!

❤ Gena

See what Megan had to say about Women’s Ministry with Purpose through GoodReads:

Gena B. McCown has written a must read for any woman in leadership or looking to launch a woman’s ministry! I am a third year MOPS coordinator and wish so badly I could have had this book from the start. This book is practical and offers tips for creating a successful gospel centered ministry.

I love how this book flowed. She started by talking about women leaders in the Bible and pointed out key passages where women are told to teach other women. She then got into talking about the creation and heart behind women’s ministry followed finally with the ongoing management of one as well as some pointers for challenges along the way.

There was nothing that I did not enjoy about this book and plan to use it as a reference tool and I will be buying a copy for my apprentice who will take my place. We will be taking the suggestions for fine tuning your ministry and I look forward to seeing seeds planted.

I am grateful to McCown for following GOD’s calling to write this book. I know many ministries will reap the benefits of this work. She will certainly be credited!

Advertisements

a decision a promise You Too_(1)

I’ve been contemplating the recent news of Pastor Jarrid Wilson’s suicide. I believe the evangelical/Christian world was blessed by his openness and candor about mental health. A topic we could do a LOT better of addressing head on as the church.

I also wanted to examine “my part” as a member of the body served by Pastors and staff members.

Here is the decision I made today, perhaps it will inspire you too. I think it is a good place to start…

A DECISION:

I have decided that unless it is an absolute emergency, I will not text/email/call our Pastors and Staff after office hours. Even if it’s just a quick question, even if it means I have to delay getting my ministry projects done until the next day.

A PROMISE:

I promise that I will honor their “off hours” when they are home with their families. I promise to respect their family time, and avoid interrupting that sacred time they are together. I promise to uphold their time of rest away from the church.

Captive Thoughts

Untitled design(36)
My heart was feeling very heavy over the last few days. My thoughts were circling around a moment & trying to decipher what it meant.
 
Was I looking at it through the lens of previous experience, and anticipating the same outcome?
 
Was I being too sensitive and needed a reality check.
 
Was the Lord showing me something, revealing to me something that I had not noticed before?
 
What could I do?
 
First, I took the thoughts captive. And, I don’t mean that in the way we usually mean it when we use that phrase. I mean, I took them literally captive. In other words, I didn’t share my thoughts with ANYONE else. Until there was an answer, I needed to keep my thoughts (which can be fickle, which are can be emotionally charged) to myself. Between me & God.
 
Second, I reached out to a friend for prayer. I gave no details or direction, just that I was in need of clarity and discernment. And, I’d like to add, that I am so thankful for a friend who doesn’t pry for more information.
 
Third, I went on with things as usual. It didn’t deflect me from my personal relationship with God, serving His church, or loving His people. I didn’t allow myself to shrink back into the moment, but instead operated out of it until I had clarity.
 
Fourth, and most importantly, I waited on God.
 
In a moment, unexpected, a conversation happened and through that conversation I was able to get the confirmation and affirmation that I needed.
 
By sticking to these 4 points, while my mind was racing… it was WELL in my soul. I trusted the Lord would take me where I needed to be. It’s sometimes a bumpy road to get there, but you still get there in the end.

When Helping Hurts

Originally posted on the Women’s Ministry Council page:

Hurricane Dorian has devastated the Bahamas.  As a Floridian, the last time I saw anything like this it was when Hurricane Andrew hit Homestead.  For those of us who remember Andrew, remember Homestead, we have a deep appreciate for what the people of the Bahamas are currently going through.  Loved ones are displaced.  Homes destroyed.  People are missing.  The storm has taken lives.  In our hearts we feel a deep need to do something to help.

helpinghurtsYears ago, I had an opportunity to talk about missions with some very long term missionaries.  I was surprised to hear about all of the things that we send overseas or things we do when we volunteer there… that are not only unhelpful, but actually counter productive.  At some point, missions became more about US than others.  It was a way to appease that part of us that wants to make a difference in the world.  It became a method or tool that we as parents use to send our children off to some other place where they will be suddenly humbled in to appreciation for the life they have.  This was also when I was introduced to the book When Helping Hurts.  I highly recommend it for all church leaders to read before you begin missions (local and global) in your church.  It will open your eyes to how we can better serve those who are in need.

Last year, a friend of mine showed me a series of pictures.  It was a missions supported school in another country.  In each picture you would see the same kids, in the same clothing, seated in the exact same position.  However, from photo to photo the banner with the school’s name changed.  Each banner reflected the name of the church or missions program that supported the school.  Why?  Because, it made the donors feel better to see their name on the school.  This wasn’t a scam, but a way to appease the donors so that the funds kept coming to support the school & keep it running.

A few months ago, a missionary friend shared with me how church missions groups come and go to their location.  She said, “This room has been painted ten times this year.”  I don’t know about you, but I don’t even paint the inside of my home once per year.  When I asked her why, she explained that they needed something for the visiting missions trips to do and painting was an easy project.  She went on to explain that they had tried construction projects in the past, but due to the lack of experience of the people on the trip, they often had to go back and redo all the work.

I went on a missions trip several years ago.  It cost me just over $1000 total.  Ever since I’ve wondered how much further my money would have gone, how much more good it would have done, had I just sent $1000 to the organization that received us.  That feeling has only been reinforced as I learn more and more about the other side of missions trips.  As I connect with more long term missionaries who open my eyes to what is really needed and how much of what is done is a waste to simply make us feel good.

That brings me to Hurricane Dorian.  The out pour of good hearted people who have a strong desire to help is heartwarming.  The Bahamian Government has provided a list of it’s immediate needs (and what it doesn’t need).  Locals are looking for donation drop off locations.  There are quite a few Facebook groups used to keep in touch about the Hurricane & now the talk has turned to Bahamas Relief.  Praise God for the generosity of humans when crisis comes!   Based on my observations, here are some questions I have compiled when you consider donating goods to relief.

  1.  Is it better to donate your stuff or your time?   We all have stuff to spare, but our stuff may not be what is most needed.  If you have the time to volunteer with the relief that may do more good than sending over piles of things you do not need anymore.  You don’t even need to leave your home town, volunteer to work at any of the collection centers.
  2.  Do they need your stuff or your money?   There are immediate needs for search and rescue, medical care, and clean up that take precedent over comfort items.  Money doesn’t cost anything to be transported to the location, it can often buy more when used by relief organizations, and they know best how to spend it.  For example, getting portable water filtration systems will product the same amount of water but for less cost.  It’s a long term solution that also doesn’t create the waste of bottled water.  Please Read:  After A Disaster Don’t Send Toys or Clothing, Send Money. Here’s Why.
  3.  Is sending these items going to help or hurt?   Certain items, like used clothing, are a logistical nightmare. Once received they must be cleaned, sorted, and stored.  In the case of the Bahamas, there is currently no where available to store clothing, nor do they have the manpower to sort it.  It could also take up valuable space for more needed supplies, or even get in the way of the relief efforts.  Not tomention where does one store the loads of clothes they have been given when they lack a home to keep them in?   Please Read:  Best Intentions: When Disaster Relief Brings Anything But Relief
  4.  Am I donating what THEY need or what I THINK they need?  When someone has lost everything, you may think the recipients will be grateful for anything you send.  You may think you know what they need, but do you really?   I have a garage full of items I have been gathering up for a yard sale.  All things that could help a person who lost everything get re-established.  The question I need to ask before dropping off donations is whether or not that will do good TODAY.  If not, then I can either hold on to the items until they do ask for those types of goods or have that garage sale but give all the money to a relief organization.

What can you do to help the Bahamas?

Pray.  People are still searching for family members, mourning those who have been lost, and coming to terms with the destruction.

Give.  There are great organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, The Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, etc. that are well known and established organizations.  Give financially and let their expertise funnel the money where it will do the most good.

Donate.  Listen to the reports on what the Bahamian Government needs and donate those items if you have them, or donate funds to purchase those items as needed.  Recovery is going to take a very long time.

Volunteer.  If you have expertise (recovery, building, medical, etc.) and can take some time off to volunteer… GO!  Use that expertise.  If not, look at how you can help locally by volunteering at local donation collection centers.

Serendipity? No. Providence!

WMwithPurpIt was one year ago, today, that I signed my contract with Leafwood publishers.  What a day it was!  From an industry standard from pitch to press, this was a really quick turnaround.  Why?

I believe it was an Esther 4:14 moment.  The content of this book was written long before I ever dreamed of pitching it as a book.  I had held onto it, and through a gentle nudging of the Spirit… last July I stepped out in faith.

It is now a year later, and my book is available for pre-sale on Amazon and several other online retailers.  It will be on bookstore shelves on Sept 10.  This is the surreal becoming real.

Which brings me to, today.  One year later.  It’s not a matter of serendipity but providence that I signed another contract today.  This time, with Michelle Lazurek of WordWise Media Services… who is now officially my Literary Agent.

Getting a Literary Agent is not like getting a Talent Agent.  Years ago, when I signed with my Talent Agent they simply put me on the books.  I didn’t have to audition for them, just showed up with some good photos and a resume of my previous acting work.  Easy peasy.

Getting a Literary Agent is pretty much like trying to get your book published.  You send them your book proposal(s) and they determine if you / the project has merit.  Just because I had already signed a book contract, didn’t mean Literary Agents were jumping out of the wood seeking me.  Nor did it mean that I was guaranteed a contract after submitting my proposals.

How did I know the time was right to seek a Literary Agent?

My gut was already telling me it was probably time.  But, I always pray for confirmation.  When I attended a writing conference this summer, I prayed that God would affirm if that was the right direction.  Over, and over again, He did.  Even to the point where my last meeting of the conference, a publisher said:  “I don’t normally tell people this at an event like this, but it is time for you to agent up.”

How did I know that WordWise Media was the right agency for me?

Providence. Absolute providence.  God kept putting them in my pathway, over and over again.  And, what I loved about Michelle (specifically) was that she wasn’t looking for a one and done author.  She wasn’t looking to sign a “project”.  She was looking for someone who had a lot more work that needed to come out.  She was signing the person not the product.

So, now it begins… the next step in the journey.  Glad I’m not walking it alone.

Where there is no guidance, a people falls,

but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Proverbs 11:14

Give or Take

Give or Take

At some point in our lives we have heard the phrase “some people are givers, and others are takers”.  Usually this is in response to a circumstance where someone took advantage of us and we were lamenting over it with a friend.  I was always encouraged to give more than I will ever receive.  I was also given the permission to move people out of my life if they were only takers who never gave anything in return.

When I became a Christian, I embraced the idea of giving without ever expecting anything in return.  It makes it really easy to out give, or give more than you will receive, if you are never expecting to receive anything.  What happened, however, was a season of years where I was taken advantage of by people whom I considered friends.

This would result in a spiritual struggle between giving without expectation and setting clear boundaries from people who only interested in taking.  A struggle with the verses that says to turn the other cheek (Matt 5:38-40) and forgiving seven times seventy times (Matt 18:22).

Was the right move to continue to keep giving, allow myself to become a doormat in order to give without expectation, turn the other cheek, and keep forgiving?  I kept these people in my life because it seemed like that was what I was supposed to do as a good Christian.

The freedom I needed came as I read the words in Matthew 7:16 about how we will recognize who people are and what they believe by their fruit.  It was not a carte blanche freedom to just let go of those who only take without ever giving, but it helped open my eyes to the deeper issues of their hearts.

A person who takes may not be in a capacity to give for some reason.  They may only take, but the thing they are not doing is taking advantage of others.  It’s just where they are, they are appreciative, and we can see their fruit is good.

Those who take out of selfish ambition, who are not appreciative, or where their “taking” is just one symptom of their bad fruit…. those are the ones we can forgive and release.

So, as you are faced with assessing the people in your life… ask yourself “what kind of fruit are they producing”.