Foundational to the Ministry
|It was on a day of Sabbath rest that Lydia, a successful God-worshipping businesswoman gathered with others to pray. She and the other women praying met Paul by the life-giving water of a river and it was in that setting that Lydia heard the Gospel message. This fresh new word of God’s love through Christ transformed her so much that she radically opened her life and home to others. She was tenacious in her hospitality and would not take “no” for an answer.
Women like Lydia were a significant reason that the Gospel spread throughout the Roman Empire in early
|On the Sabbath, we left the city and went down along the river where we had heard there was to be a prayer meeting. We took our place with the women who had gathered there and talked with them. One woman, Lydia, was from Thyatira and a dealer in expensive textiles, known to be a God-fearing woman. As she listened with intensity to what was being said, the Master gave her a trusting heart – and she believed!
After she was baptized, along with everyone in her household, she said in a surge of hospitality, “If you’re confident that I’m in this with you and believe in the Master truly, come home with me and be my guests.” We hesitated but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
–Acts 16:13-15, The Message
Christianity. They opened their lives and resources in a way that was counter-cultural. They undergirded new ministries of the Church with resources, space, time, and talents. When others saw how these women lived sacrificially, generously and without class distinctions, they were drawn to the faith in vast numbers. Compassion, healing, ministry to the least and radical hospitality were trademarks of the way these early Christian women lived. It changed the world
The ministry of Equipping Lydia seeks to provide Sabbath experiences of prayer that will help those who love God to hear the Gospel message of love in a fresh and restorative way. Through spiritual direction, retreats, and discipling nurture of leaders, we “gather at the river” to pray and hear the Gospel afresh. We believe that Western Women in particular, are poised like the women of Lydia’s day to open our talents, connections, homes, and lives to sharing the love of God through Christ. We seek to replicate the Acts 16 experience of Lydia for Christians who need to meet Christ in a fresh, restorative way.
Instructional As We Grow
|Many who come through Equipping Lydia are those who do not have a spiritual home. They are often gifted in intercession, prophetic discernment, healing gifts, or are artists , anointed by God with creative talents. These gifts have regularly been rejected, excluded, abused, undervalued or even ridiculed in their faith communities. These dear ones are often isolated and become vulnerable financially, relationally, and/or spiritually because they are not connected with the Body of Christ in a healthy way. Some without spiritual homes are even church leaders who have been rejected or isolated and experienced significant trauma from the church where they have served. We also have seen many whose spouses or families do not support and sometimes even persecute them for their faith. They have to pray or worship in secret.
We consider these vulnerable and exiled individuals to be modern “spiritual widows.” They have been overlooked and neglected. Some have left organized religion but long for a safe place to re-connect with the community of faith. Equipping Lydia is a ministry that seeks to offer these dear ones a safe place to be fed and cared for spiritually. We help them find restoration and renewal with Christ and His followers that provides a healing bridge back into community.
As Equipping Lydia grows towards a more mature organization, perhaps this Scripture will guide us in the
| Now about this time, when the number of the disciples was greatly increasing, complaint was made by the Hellenists (the Greek-speaking Jews) against the [native] Hebrews because their widows were being overlooked and neglected in the daily ministration (distribution of relief).
So the Twelve [apostles] convened the multitude of the disciples and said, It is not seemly or desirable or right that we should have to give up or neglect [preaching] the Word of God in order to attend to serving at tables and superintending the distribution of food.
Therefore select out from among yourselves, brethren, seven men of good and attested character and repute, full of the [Holy] Spirit and wisdom, whom we may assign to look after this business and duty.
But we will continue to devote ourselves steadfastly to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
And the suggestion pleased the whole assembly, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith (a strong and welcome belief that Jesus is the Messiah) and full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte (convert) from Antioch.
These they presented to the apostles, who after prayer laid their hands on them.
And the message of God kept on spreading, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem; and [besides] a large number of the priests were obedient to the faith [in Jesus as the Messiah, through Whom is obtained eternal salvation in the kingdom of God].
Now Stephen, full of grace (divine blessing and favor) and power (strength and ability) worked great wonders and signs (miracles) among the people.
–Acts 6 (Amplified Bible) 1-8
|development and foundation of our organization and administration.|