About 10 years ago Erin Davis was asked to lead a girls’ Bible study about true identity and beauty. Even as a youth pastor’s wife, Davis was initially unsure about how to lead the study because she, too, once struggled with identity and an eating disorder.
As Davis led the girls in Bible study they learned together and were reminded that their identity is found in Jesus Christ.
“God just lit it on fire from there. I’ve been speaking on it ever since,” she said. “God gives us assurance after assurance that He loves us. My passion is equipping women of all ages to really see the depths of God’s truth.”
Davis is the featured speaker for the upcoming Mother.Daughter Retreat and GEM Retreat, sponsored by Embrace Women’s Missions and Ministries of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
BSC file photo by Alexandra King
Girls help a Cross Road Retirement Community resident play a game during the 2012 GEM retreat. First through fourth grade girls and their mothers served together cleaning inside and outside the facility as well as spending time with residents.
Both events will be held March 22-23, with the Mother.Daughter Retreat at Caraway Conference Center and the GEM Retreat at Camp Caraway.
Davis, founder of Graffiti Ministries, will speak to both groups about the importance of studying God’s Word.
“We can always go to the Word for any of our questions about ourselves and the world around us,” she said.
Davis founded Graffiti Ministries to help teenage girls struggling in the areas of identity, self-esteem and true beauty. She will also help participants understand that identity is not based on what others think about them or being part of the crowd.
“We can trace it all the way back to the Garden of Eden. [Satan] is really saying to Eve that who she is isn’t good enough. We are all vulnerable to insecurity.”
GEM (Girls Embrace Ministry) began in 2011 to help girls in grades 7-12 realize their worth in Jesus Christ and His desire to shape and mold them for His Kingdom purposes.
GEM equips girls and their adult leaders for ministry in evangelism, discipleship and missions.
The GEM and Mother.Daughter events will both focus on 1 Peter 3:3-4. The Mother.Daughter retreat, for girls in grades 1-6, also seeks to help teach girls and their mothers how to live a life that is devoted to the Lord and His purposes.
“If you want to invest in your girls, this event would benefit you tremendously. The earlier you start investing, the better your relationship will be,” Davis said. “Parents are the biggest influence on their kids’ spiritual beliefs. They are listening to you.”
Both events feature various break out sessions from leaders such as Marlana Branning, who will soon complete her master’s degree in women’s studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest. As part of her course study, Branning served with Embrace director Ashley Allen through an internship and helped with the GEM kick off events. “The women are so hungry to have vibrant ministries, but they don’t have the resources. That’s where Ashley comes in,” Branning said. “I’m thankful for her ministry.”
Branning is preparing to begin a full time position as a girls ministry director, a role she has prayed about since taking her first women’s studies class in college.
“I fell in love with the idea of working with women, and knowing that’s what we’re called to do in scripture,” she said.
“I’m big on relational ministry. That’s what sticks with you; that’s what will always be there,” she said.
Also upcoming for Embrace is the April 11-12 LifeWay You Lead/Embrace Leadership Training in Greensboro. Embrace is partnering with LifeWay Christian Resources to offer a two-day training for women called into leadership roles in local churches and associations for ministry in evangelism, discipleship, missions involvement and leadership.
Training topics include women’s ministry basics, engaging younger women in ministry, ministering to women in crisis, spiritual disciplines for leaders, mentoring, pursuing godliness and a lifestyle of prayer.
Along with Allen, the keynote speakers include Rhonda Kelley, professor of women’s ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; and Chris Adams, senior women’s ministry specialist at LifeWay.
“The main focus is women’s ministry in the local church,” Adams said. “We want women to know how to reach and disciple women for Christ.”
For 18 years Adams has served with LifeWay in women’s ministry. Prior to joining the LifeWay staff she served in women’s ministry in the local church and the Lord increased her desire to work with women.
Adams said the training event helps provide women with practical ministry tools.
“We want to equip women to do ministry 24 hours a day, and to not just come to the church and do ministry,” she said.
Adams encouraged women to bring resources to the training that they have found useful in their own ministry, as women will have opportunity to learn from one another and share resources.
“When you see life change, you can’t believe you get to be part of ministry where the Kingdom is being impacted,” she said. “You see that God’s truth really works in the lives of women. It’s an incredible place to be.”