By Cherrilynn Bisbano
Ladies from all over New England gathered together on October 24th at The First Assembly of God Church in Worchester, MA for the Iron Sharpens Iron ladies conference. Karen Abercrombie from the movie War Room, Cynthia Heald, and Jennifer Kennedy Dean empowered women with teachings on prayer and dedication to God. Lucinda Seacrest McDowell, a local speaker, teacher, and writer kept everyone engaged as the master of ceremonies. Each considered it an honor to serve their King.
The glue that binds any event together is the servants. Those behind the scene and in front of the microphone serve God with joy and vigor. I found the same enthusiasm to serve God at ISI in the breakout session leaders and hospitality staff.
Local speakers Gail Cooper and Rachel Britton were just two of many who served by leading breakout sessions. I had the honor to interview them.
Gail Cooper, who currently attends Cranston Christian Fellowship, led two breakout sessions, “Breathing new life into your marriage “and “Who’s voice do you listen to.”
I asked Gail how she was chosen to serve in this capacity. “It’s totally a God thing! It is in his perfect timing that each of us steps into the place where he wants us to serve. I think the most important part is that he sees that we are willing to do whatever it is he calls us to do. Big or small…it is all great in his eyes.”
Gail shared with me what she loved best about serving at ISI. “The best part is seeing God at work in the hearts of those who attend! For sure that is the best part for me but also what I love is just getting together with women who know and love God and to be able to serve side-by-side with them. It truly is an honor to do so.”
Gail has been speaking/teaching off and on in different capacities for many years. She is part of “Take Two ministry” with Comedian Rhonda Cory, who also used her talents at ISI and had everyone rolling in the aisles with her wit and humor.
Another breakout session leader, British-born Rachel Britton also considers it an honor to serve God at ISI.
Racheal was invited to speak to the teen/college age women attending Iron Sharpens Iron in 2014. Lucinda Seacrest-McDowell had recommended her for this event. She has three children who are teens/college students. ISI asked her to return for this year’s event.
In her words, “I was thrilled at the opportunity to speak to them because it’s an age group I love. Then, this year, I was invited back to speak on my book, Prayer Zone Workout, and ministry of prayer and exercise.”
Rachel continued, “My topic is Cultivating Heart Conversation with God. Many of us do not pray as often as we’d like. Then when we do pray, our minds wander. Or we know the importance of prayer and exercise, but we struggle to find the time for both. I want to help us discover how to pray more easily, how to direct our wandering thoughts, and learn how we can be spiritually and physically healthier through prayer.”
Rachel serves on the staff at Grace Chapel in Lexington, alongside Cynthia Fantasia, Pastor for Women. She has her Masters in Religion from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
I could not help but notice the volunteers as they wore their red shirts with the word “Servant” on the back, along with Galatians 5:13, Serve one another in love. These servants epitomized that verse as they fulfilled needs throughout the day.
The hospitality staff never stopped smiling as they made sure the attendees had coffee, tea, muffins and all the amenities that go with them. I briefly spoke with a few of these godly servants as they took a short rest. Nancy and Judy from First Assembly all agreed with their sister in Christ Lydia Osei who stated “I am in the break room serving coffee and muffins…serving the Lord. I do it smiling so that people feel welcome. I am so psyched about it and that God is working through women.”
There were many other servants wearing the red in the parking lot, hallways, and resource room. God is pleased with each of these individuals who spent the day in worship by serving their king.
For more information on Iron Sharpens Iron, you can go to their website at ironsharpensironwomen.org or call them Toll-Free (800) 451-9239 or (860) 233-8136. Take Two Ministries: taketwoministries.org or Rachel Britton: rachelbritton.com
Cherrilynn Bisbano is a speaker, teacher, and writer. She is the associate editor of Almost an Author. She lives in East Greenwich with her husband and a thirteen-year-old son.