Sophia Network Equipping Day 2016
The view of a network member...
I’ve been in some form of Christian Leadership for around 20 years now (I honestly have no idea where those 2 decades have gone!) but it’s only recently that I’ve really begun to be more aware of being a female Christian Leader.
As a woman in leadership I have had mostly positive, affirming and encouraging experiences related to my gender and leadership roles but I’m aware that’s not always the case for everyone. So, when someone invited me to a Sophia Network equipping day a few years ago I honestly didn’t think it would make much of an impact.
I was wrong.
I suddenly found myself in a room full of amazing leaders (male and female) from different denominations and varying experiences. All shared wisdom and stories, honest vulnerability and fantastic teaching; united by an idea that we are equal and equally called by God regardless of gender. This is what a Sophia equipping day is all about!
At this latest event I shared a table with friends old and new as we wrestled, grasped, debated and discovered more about faith, leadership and life! There was space for sharing our journey and space to listen to God and pray together. Anne Calver spoke brilliantly and shared candidly about her leadership journey.
As we dug into the life of Moses there were some standout ‘How have I not seen that before?’’ moments and some beautiful reminders of the joys and challenges of leading. As we prayed together there was a tangible sense of the presence of God ministering and moving, allowing the prophetic to be stirred and bringing encouragement (literally the giving of courage to continue). As we ate together we got to know one another and enjoyed some good food. It's a space and time to be yourself, to be inspired by the stories of others, to be equipped and changed by God’s word, to gain insight and support. Sometimes you can feel as if you’re in this alone – but you’re not. Sophia Network events help to remind you of the unity and diversity of the body of Christ and those in leadership. It’s to be celebrated!
So if you’ve ever wondered what they are about and should I attend – my advice would be – Yes! Go for it!
See you at the next one.
Rev Sarah Whittleston was born in Wales and became a follower of Jesus at 13. After university she spent 4 1⁄2 years working in youth and evangelism in her home church of Caerphilly and across the UK. She later attended the School of Ministry at Elim’s Theological College and upon completion joined the Leadership team at Gloucester Elim in 2005; being ordained in 2009. Sarah has been one of the Pastors of Elim Life Church Kingstanding since 2010. She has a heart for ministry with youth and young adults, community outreach and prayer. Sarah serves on the National Youth team, Serious4God, and Elim’s National Prayer network, LiftUp. And she loves Chocolate!