A few dozen people in Chilton, a small town in eastern Wisconsin, gathered January 30 at Faith Alliance Church for an event called Real Women, Real Life. A panel of ladies from the church answered questions about marriage, family, relationships, balance, and priorities. They shared honestly what they’ve done right, what they’ve done wrong, and what they’ve learned through their years of walking with God.
“Older women in the church have wisdom and a lot of life experience to share with younger women,” says Shan Glewen, a member of the planning committee.
Before the seminar, Shan and four volunteers asked God to guide them regarding what topics to cover, how to structure the event, and who to invite to speak. “We kept saying, ‘We want this to be real. The panelists have to understand we’re not looking for pat church answers here,’” Shan says. “We are looking for genuine transparency and for people to be authentic.”
Four women in their 50s, 60s, or 70s with different personalities and a lot of life experience participated in the panel. The planning committee prepared a few questions in advance and welcomed questions from the floor. “It took the women a while to warm up,” Shan says. “But once we got to one [question], the discussion started to flow.”
A new believer asked about sexual purity: How can a dating couple draw boundaries and help each other stay strong? Shan says it blessed her to hear this woman ask that question and care about this issue. “If God hadn’t gotten hold of her heart and changed her, she wouldn’t be concerned about [sexual purity],” Shan says. “We were excited she was asking, because for us, it was evidence of a changed heart and a changed life.”
FAC’s goal for Real Women, Real Life is to foster an environment of authenticity and support among the women of the church and for them to leave knowing they had heard from God. “The women [on the panel] shared some very hurtful things from their lives—some pain that was raw. We felt like we can all learn from that,” Shan says.
Following the discussion, the women ate a light meal, and the panelists were available to any attendees who wanted to speak with them further.
The planning committee hopes to host a similar event again this spring. “We’re still trying to catch our breath from the last one and talk to the Lord and figure out, Do You want us to do another one?” Shan says. “Of the five of us [leaders], none of us have a background in [women’s ministry]. We’re trusting the Lord to lead us.”
Making disciples takes place through many channels. Relationships are built through common connections and similar stations in life. Check out the disciplemaking ministries of The Alliance to learn more.