Beyond the outskirts of San Diego County, past crowded freeways and noisy streets, the Women of the Rock traded in their hectic schedules for a relaxing weekend in Murrieta Hot Springs. For some, it was the first chance they had in a long time to spend quality time with friends. For others, it was a long-awaited hiatus for spiritual and physical renewal, a time to draw closer to God, and cultivate new relationships.
Over 280 women attended the highly anticipated 2004 Women's Retreat, held at the Calvary Chapel Conference Center on August 13-15. And still more desired to come, as evidenced from the waiting list. This convinced The Women of the Rock's ministry leaders to pursue the possibility of accepting more applications for next year's retreat.
What's The Fruit of Your Spirit?
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control
Keynote speaker and writer, Judy Hampton, coined the theme of the retreat with the topic: "What's the fruit of your spirit?" Hampton led the women through a study that explained what the Bible defines as fruit and most importantly, how believers can bear more of it in their life.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26
Hampton shared with her audience how important it is to delve into the Word daily in order to build faith. James 1:22, says, but be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Then it is only natural that a Christian living his or her life according to God's commandments will exude the qualities of "good fruit." Hampton said it best when she stated, "the fruits of the spirit come by knowing God's Word and obeying."
How to Produce Better Fruit-- More Abundantly
John 15:1-11 is a metaphorical scripture that bears witness to Galatians, compelling Christians to truly abide-which means to live in constant communion-with Christ. It compares the relationship of Christ and believers to that of a vine and its branches. I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Jesus says He is the one true vine, and His Father, the vinedresser, takes care of the vine. If the vine has branches that don't produce any fruit, the vinedresser will then remove these branches. He will even prune the ones already producing fruit in order that they bear more fruit. Although it can be very painful, the pruning process is necessary for any Christian who wants an authentic walk with the Lord. It is through this relationship that the believer will experience a changed life and the only true and lasting happiness.
Opportunities for Growth Abound
There are many opportunities for ladies at the Rock to grow together and encourage each other
The purpose of the retreat, says Karen Stevens, Ministry Leader for The Women of the Rock, "is for women to increase their faith and hope by being challenged spiritually." Yet, having a women's retreat cannot reach every woman at the Rock and is only one of the many experiences available in the ministry. Despite the record turnout, the total number of women at the retreat represented less than 10 percent of the women who attend the Rock Church.
In many ways, Stevens believes the message presented at the retreat pertains to the passion that the Women of the Rock has for the church. "And that is to see the women have an abundant life," she says, "and to take advantage of the opportunities this ministry has to offer, so they can get plugged in."
Getting involved can be as simple as volunteering. Dozens of women helped out at this year's retreat in equally essential areas including ushering and greeting, promotions, hospitality, decorations, transportation, scholarship donations, and prayer, to name a few. Another small group of women, which included retreat team leaders Tammi Gastineau, Julie Gross, Tamara Pontious and Eryn Linegher, had the considerable task of managing and facilitating the event.
It is the hope of the Women's Ministry leaders that by way of involvement in areas such as the ministry's Bible studies, mentoring and discipleship, retreats and special events, more and more women will pursue a fruitful life in Christ.
It is their goal that ministry events such as the retreat will raise up more women to be leaders and soul-winners for Jesus. Part of this involves reaching out and encouraging women to become active participants, equipping them to serve other women.
The retreat accomplishes this goal perfectly, as it gives the attendees the opportunity to foster unity with other believers by developing new friendships. Subsequently, these women are more likely to feel motivated and become involved in the many facets that make up the Women of the Rock. And with so many areas to choose from, anyone with a desire to reap the fruit of the spirit can find a place to serve in this ministry.
There's more to the Women's Ministry than just the retreat. The Women of the Rock invite you to explore all the avenues within the ministry. For more information, visit the Women of the Rock's Website.
Way to Get Involved
For more information about the Women's Ministry, click here »