This month Sharon Prior caught up with Lizzie Bassford, who started a network of new mothers who wanted to engage with more than breast feeding, nappy rash and cutting teeth. Whilst there is nothing wrong with talking about these things they wanted to talk about and reflect on spiritual issues and what it means to be a new mother living for God. You can find out more on their website www.captivatedmums.org.uk
What is the vision and ethos of the organisation you lead?
Captivated is about gathering mums who are passionate about pursuing God but struggle working out how to do this in the day to day-ness of mummy-ing. We hold a yearly conference (the next one is on March 16th of this year) evening worship and prayer nights and have a couple of Facebook groups where
the aim is to be a space to encourage, inspire and challenge one another in walking closer with Jesus, loving our children and loving our husbands.
What is your role in leadership and what does your role involve?
I lead, with a team of 4 other women, something called Captivated. We have oversight of a growing Facebook group with over 850 members where we seek to continually promote a life pursuing Jesus. We also put on a day conference and other evening events. All the team have growing families. At the last conference two of us were in our final trimester of pregnancies. We do all the organising in our spare time, for me this is nap times and evenings as I have two little ones at home with me during the day. I also write a blog sharing my walk with Jesus, the highs, the lows and all he is teaching me through the very ordinary, everyday stuff of life and being a mum.
What would you say is your favourite Bible verse?
I have so many favourites! At the moment, I have made these verses my verses for the year: ‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its
various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen’. (1 Peter 4:10-12).
I love it because it is a reminder to me to serve God in the strength he provides. Not my own! It also reminds me that my service is for God’s glory and not my own, unfortunately in my falleness, I sometimes forget this.
What aspects do you think are important for women in leadership to consider?
I am good at talking but I need to make sure that my life backs up what I am saying. I need to keep checking that everything I share comes out of my own pursuit of Jesus. I am also emotional, hormonal and sometimes insecure. I want people to like me. Sometimes I share things, hopefully in a loving way, which I believe are biblical and truthful but which make others feel uncomfortable. That’s when I tend to worry that people don’t like me. This can make me hold myself back. I want to lead with grace and truth, having my identity in Jesus, not in what others may or may not think of me. On the other hand, when lots of people are saying lots of encouraging things I need to be careful that I don’t become proud and make sure that I keep pointing to Jesus in everything.
What do you like most about being a woman in leadership?
I like that I have the privilege of encouraging people to become more of who God created them to be. I like that I have been in a position to see how God has provided incredibly in answered prayer, in resources, in people, in action, in strength, in encouragement, in everything…when I have stepped out in faith and obedience.
What do you like least?
I don’t like it when I have stretched myself so much, in looking after my family (I’m still waking up at least three times a night to feed my baby), my home, trying to share Jesus with those in my community and leading Captivated that I am completely and utterly exhausted. I clearly have not been serving in God’s strength! I don’t like it when my house is a mess because I have spent my energy on Captivated.
What would you tell a young woman with leadership skills to do in order to be an effective leader?
Follow Jesus closely. Keep pursuing him out of love not duty. Live your life with obedience and integrity. Find people, who are going to bring out the best in you, encourage and inspire you. Be humble when corrected. Walk tall in the calling that God has placed on your life. Put your security in Jesus not in the opinions of others.
What one thing have you not achieved in your leadership so far that you would like to achieve in the future?
Ooh that’s tricky. There is a young lady in our Church from the local community whom I mentor. I would love to see her really going for it with Jesus in the way God created her to. Is that answering the question, hmm, not sure?
One day, when my children are a bit older I would like to be in a position where I can be a speaker at various events, on training courses etc.