Written by Savannah Brewer on March 9, 2022.
Void of its usual game buzzers and basketballs, Alliance’s gym was outfitted with sunflowers, hors d’oeuvres, and a balloon arch the evening of Friday, March 7, for an event for women titled “Called.”
This long-awaited event was highly attended as women of all ages gathered to grow in community, worship with friends, hear about God’s calling, and discover local ministries and serving opportunities.
The evening began in fellowship as women streamed through the double-doors into the brightly-lit room. Laughter and conversation could be heard above all else. Bald Guy Brew coffee, and citrus punch were only the prequels to a long table filled with appetizers.
Jessica Lup led the group in worship, while women’s ministry director, Shawna Duvall, introduced the conference’s main theme. “The call of God is irrevocable,” said Shawna, “Your identity is now rooted in that calling.”
First-time attendee Cassidy Wilson stated, “I loved it, I felt the presence of God the whole time, I met a lot of new sisters in Christ, and got to connect with sisters that I’ve already met, I know for next time I’ll be bringing a lot more friends or family.”
The conference revolved around three action verbs: equip, encourage, and engage. Shawna urged the congregation to live out their calling by equipping themselves with the words and knowledge of Christ, to encourage others in their callings, and to engage with others intentionally — contrary to worldly standards.
Shawna was followed by church members Karen Graham and Carrie Afanador, who each shared about the ways they use their gifts in ministry.
Karen Graham shared about her service with Thrive Ministry, an organization that ministers to women who are serving overseas. Karen has served with the ministry for many years, since first feeling God’s calling on her life “He has prepared me for this calling even as he had me in different seasons in life,” she shared. Karen also highlighted 1 Chronicles 28:20, which has been impactful in her life and ministry.
“Then David said to Solomon, his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.”
Carrie Afanador shared about the helplessness that is often felt in a globalized world where one can experience the hardships of others through the media, without being able to do anything about it. Carrie, however, found a way to serve global communities right here in Boone. Carrie works with the organization Immigrant Connection, which provides low-cost legal services. Alliance has partnered with this ministry to assist immigrants in the high country.
Carrie expressed the collective calling of Christians to help the oppressed, shelter the outsider, and right injustice. She also expressed the individual calling of Christians within the church to use their gifts to this end. “All of our callings work together, not in competition,” she said.
Carrie quoted writer and theologian Frederick Buechner to further this point; “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
The conference ended with a ministry exposition with over a dozen ways women can get involved at ABF. Among ministries represented were Blueprint, Fall equipping event planning team, Bible study, theology/advanced training cohort, meals ministry prayer team, divorce care, new moms outreach, worship team support groups, soul sisters (white rose), Thrive missions, Afghan resettlement team, immigrant connection, recreation group, hiking group, and home/hospitality outreach. For more information on any of these opportunities, contact Shawna Duvall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even though this event was rescheduled from January, Called proved to be a much-needed time for church-wide equipping, encouraging, and community.