Have you ever been to Skycroft Conference Center? It’s in a beautiful location nestled in the mountains near Middletown, Maryland.
Seven years ago, I was there on a life-changing retreat.
It wasn’t life-changing because of the splendor of the location.
It wasn’t life-changing because of the amazing speaker.
It wasn’t life-changing because of the deliciousness that the cafeteria served up.
It was life-changing because of the women that attended and the vision that God planted on that special weekend.
I sat at the back of the conference room and was mesmerized by all the women that had come together. All ages. A variety of backgrounds. From many different churches – and some that weren’t attending church at all.
There were a lot of differences, but what did we have in common? We loved Jesus and we loved being together. Being part of each other’s lives. Laughing and praying together. It was special. Very special.
God used this event to tell us to begin a unique women’s ministry that would become The Connection. This special time was a glimpse of what He wanted to do through us. We just had to say, “Yes, we will.”
Before you think that from this point on it was all rainbows and unicorns, let me say that it wasn’t. Very quickly fear and doubt stepped in. But God shared with us the story of Gideon.
Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” (Judges 6:14-16)
“But Lord…” How? When? Where? We aren’t equipped for this!
If you read the entire story of Gideon in Judges 6-8, you’ll learn that God took the small army that Gideon had and reduced the number of warriors again and again until very few remained. The victory that followed was ONLY possible because of God’s strength and knowledge, not Gideon’s.
And that’s exactly what He has done with The Connection. Any successes and victories are ONLY possible because of God’s strength and knowledge, not ours.
God has shown us over and over that He is in control. This is His ministry. We are just along for the ride. And that knowledge is life-changing! When you follow God’s lead, it doesn’t matter what YOU can bring to the table. It’s all about Him.
Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
God has placed a calling on your life. I encourage you to be open to His leading. Listen closely for His whispers. Watch for His timing. Allow Him to use you and to change your life too.
Would you like to hear more about how The Connection began? We wrote a book about our adventures! It will be published in both paperback and ebook formats in November. The title of this God story? Let’s Get Together: The story of a unique women’s ministry. Watch for more information to come.
Our next big adventure is to build a community for Christian ministry leaders so that we can learn from and support one another. Sign up HERE for our email newsletter for ministry leaders.
Mandy Hood is co-founder and executive director of The Connection. She authored the book, “Let’s Get Together: The story of a unique women’s ministry” which publishes in the fall of 2023. She hopes the book will be a stepping stone to building a supportive network of community-based ministries. Mandy and her husband have been married for 43 years. Together, they enjoy camping and traveling. Every year, they look forward to GramCamp – three days of spoiling and fun with their three favorite young men.