This April, the women of Integrity Church had the opportunity to get away together for a weekend of teaching, prayer and fellowship. We traveled to Camp Willow Run in Littleton, North Carolina and spent the weekend going through the book of Ephesians. Through our study of this book, we were instructed on topics such as our true identity in Christ, dealing with our past and the importance of discipleship. The weekend of the women’s retreat was a sweet time for the women of Integrity Church to come together, study scripture, pray for one another, and consider why it is important to intentionally spend time together as women.
In examining Ephesians, Paul reminds the Church at Ephesus of the unity that was awarded to all believers through Jesus’ perfect work on the cross. In the day-to-day chaos of jobs, bills, daycare, school, and responsibility; it is easy to lose sight of our utter dependence on Jesus. Even more so, it is easy to allow the sinfulness and selfish desires of our flesh to promote division and hostility amongst the body. Often we desire pull away and hide from the people God has sovereignly placed in our lives in order to love us, encourage us, teach us and admonish us. This is why, an opportunity to retreat and refocus on how we can be unified as a body of women is vital to the health of the church as a whole.
During the weekend we were reminded that unity can be fostered in many ways. One such way is through teaching God’s word. Scripture not only urges, but commands women to teach each other. In Titus 2:3-5, Paul urges women to teach other women “what is good”. This can only occur through studying God’s word together. One of the best ways this is practically displayed is through discipleship relationships. These relationships don’t have to be complicated, they don’t have to follow a specific formula, or look a certain way. True discipleship is growing in your knowledge of scripture, your love of Jesus, and through those things, growing in your love for each other.
Christ-like love for one another is fostered further through real transparency and vulnerability. Though these things are not easy or natural, when practiced, they point us back to the truth that no one is perfect. Everyone has experienced hurts, disappointments and overwhelming grief, but they don’t have to define us, encourage us to hide or foster shame. No matter our past, Jesus is perfectly sovereign and He perfectly loves us. Honest and vulnerable community breaks down barriers so the healing work of Jesus can take place. Only in these types of relationships can we glimpse what it is like to be fully known and yet fully loved -pointing us back to the beauty of the gospel.
We desire to be a unified community of women who grow to know and love the gospel more.