• Dana L. Butler

A Story, and An Invitation for You

The Facebook private message catches me completely by surprise.

It goes something like this:

“Hi Dana, this is Diane from (in)Courage. [<–(in)Courage is DaySpring’s website for women and has been a rich source of online community and friendships for me over the last couple of years.] I’m looking for someone to co-lead a small group called Women in Ministry. NJ gave me your name and said you’d probably be a good fit. Would you be interested?”

And a hundred or so thoughts hit me all at once:

Wow How sweet of NJ to recommend me to co-lead this group!

WaitWomen In *Ministry??* Now? In this season, in which I suddenly find myself doing almost no “official” ministry?

Hang on – I can think of so many amazing women who’d be more qualified to fill this position.

I wrote Diane back, let her know that my husband and I are getting ready to move out of state and have stepped back from our ministry responsibilities at our church here in Kansas City as we wait for our house to sell — “and are you still interested in having me lead?”

The immediate answer was yes, so I asked her if I could have a couple of days to pray about it before committing.

But in my heart, despite my feelings of inadequacy, I was already leaning hard toward yes.

Why? Because of this thing the Lord’s been emphasizing to my heart over and over again lately — this idea of my life as an offering.

Jesus, make my whole life an offering.

This prayer rolls around over and over again in my heart in recent months as God moves me further and further away from finding my identity in any form of ministry — be it blogging or leading worship or leading a house church or doing this hybrid pastoral-counseling/prayer-ministry-thing that Stan and I sometimes find ourselves doing as a team — as opposed to finding my identity in being His beloved.

I’m learning these days to notice the subtle differences in my heart between a hunger to “do ministry” that comes out of more of a needy, grasping-for-approval kind of place — and a nudge that comes from somewhere deeper inside, a prompting to share myself authentically, vulnerably — to offer my truest heart to Jesus and others in the form of a blog post, a song, or an hour across the table from you in a coffee shop.

And more and more lately, my art and my life and my sharing of myself feel like an offering.

Less like grasping for approval; more like quiet worship. More rooted in Him. More grounded.

It is the sweetest feeling — giving of myself like this.

And as I talked with Stan and asked Jesus about it over the course of a couple of days, I knew leading this group would be exactly that: an offering, an overflow out of that more deeply grounded place in my soul.

I messaged Diane back and gave her my wholehearted yes.

So I’ve spent time the last few weeks chatting with my new friend and co-leader, Sara, hearing the precious hearts and stories of some of the other ladies who are leading various groups this session, and praying over how the Lord would want to use our group to be a haven for the hearts of women who’re pouring their lives into others for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

I couldn’t be more excited. Not only for me and for all God will do in our group, but for you too.

Why? Because I’m inviting you to be a part of this.

Riiiiiight… now:

Here’re the details–

(in)Courage community groups are for women only, run in 6 week sessions, meet in private Facebook groups, and are a phenomenal place to connect with like-hearted ladies around common passions and/or life seasons. They can entail as much or as little interaction/availability as you need.

If you’ve struggled to connect with Christian community in your everyday life? These are for you.

If you already have community in your everyday life? I’d still recommend participating in a group. I am in close community with my church family and other Christian friends in my city, and the (in)courage group I participated in a couple of sessions ago has still been such a RICH well of inspiration and friendships for me. My life has continued to be deeply blessed by many of those ladies, most of whom I’ve yet to meet in real life.

[This, from a former believer that “online community isn’t real community.” Oh my friends. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Online community can be SO. REAL.]

Anyway. If you are in any form of ministry (whether in the context of a local church or another type of ministry), this is your official invite to consider joining Sara’s and my group for the next 6 weeks. Registration begins today and runs all this week, and we would be so thrilled to have you with us.

And if you’re not in “official” ministry and would still be interested in participating in a group? Great news – you have so many options! For real — this session we have over 70 different groups, set up to meet you in a huge variety of specific needs and life seasons, and led by incredible ladies who are already praying for you and pouring their hearts into preparing a place for you to connect. To be seen and known.

Click here and find one that’s right for you.

 And just a quick heads up: while registration runs through Friday of this week, they do cap each group at 30 members (to ensure that group size is conducive to really getting to know other group members), so you may want to get in on the earlier end of the week.

Please let me know if you decide to participate in one — I will jump up and down cheering. For real. And your life will be so enriched.

Also — I’d love your prayers for the precious group of ladies the Lord will draw to Sara’s and my group. That hearts will be deeply seen and known, that friendships will be formed, and that Jesus will meet each woman intimately, right where they are.

Thanks my friends! And I’m going to stop talking now and wave you one more time in the direction of checking out these groups. Go do it! 🙂

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