During the 27 years of Battlefield’s presence in Rome, women’s ministry became a branch that has many “twigs” which are constantly growing and shaping. The twigs are defined by a desire to serve or a presenting need to be met and are every day, everywhere, impacting the lives of those around us. Three of those twigs are:
Pearls: a weekly Bible study group formed with college women who desire to deepen their relationships with God and a small group of women.
It is founded on Matthew 7:6 when Jesus taught that we have precious parts of our story that we need to share but not with just anyone. When God first presented the idea of this group in 1996, I was pretty sure no one would come, but started it because God said to. Today, those original Pearls are in their forties and have families and ministries of their own, whether on U.S. soil or serving abroad, as the heart of their homes, ministry leaders, teachers, or missionaries.
Retreats: For women with a desire to be with women. These retreats make provision to “just be,” to allow worship to wash over weary minds and bodies, and to take in spiritual nourishment from sound teaching based on God’s Word, often enhanced by the beauty of His creation.
This twig came about in 2002, when I only met with women one-on-one over coffee or in the counseling office. While attending a women’s gathering, God said to me, “I want you to do a conference for women…to get what you do in the office out of the office.” I asked Him for a teammate to help me. He chose a 23-year-old Marsha Crowe (now Thompson) and “Come to the Water…and be set free” was birthed. We had no idea God was giving us the first of a long line of “Come to….” conferences and retreats that He would use to impact the lives of hundreds of women. We just did what He said.
Marsha Thompson pictured below.
The “as you go” piece is listening for the Shepherd’s voice, which He has told us we are able to hear. We are His sheep, and His sheep hear and know His voice. Then do what He says. And ministry happens. It is surely not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit that life-changing, eternal work takes place.
Whether it’s me or one of our counselors, we house God’s deposit of “Counselor” and dispense it as He leads. This happens spontaneously over coffee, a hospital or nursing home visit, the grocery check-out, the hairdresser’s, the neighbor walking the dog, the server when dining out, the flight attendant on the airplane: You get the picture.
The vast majority of the ministry involving women happens on a daily, often hourly, basis…“as you go.”
Jane Phillips, LPC
Since 1982, Jane has worked alongside licensed mental health professionals in various mental health settings. Jane Co-Founded Battlefield Ministries, Inc. with her husband Nathan. She serves as one of the primary staff members in the counseling office and on trips at home and abroad. Jane is an influential speaker and facilitator in women’s ministry and a crucial part of Battlefield’s writing team.
Below are some thoughts submitted by women who have experienced, contributed to, benefitted from a touch they received from Battlefield’s women’s ministry:
God has given us as women special gifts to care for ourselves and others well. Yet oftentimes, in seasons of hardship, we neglect our own needs and just live a life of surviving. After years of living in this survival mode, I found myself in an emotionally stuck state. Then, I was invited to a women’s retreat, “Come to the Garden,” hosted by Jane and Marsha. I desperately needed to tend to my heart that I had abandoned for far too long. Saying yes to the women’s retreat was the beginning of a transformational difference in the way I think, act, and live my life. Battlefield has changed the way I approach all relationships, giving me the tools needed to thrive. I am eternally grateful for this ministry which, for me, will always be a source of help.
April Sims: (Homemaker, lover of God, self, and others)
From an initial women’s retreat in the outskirts of Paris (“Come to the Water”), to the wasteland places of broken lives in a women’s prison in Lyon, you, the supporters, have been part of a redemptive and healing ministry, channeling “living water” through the pipeline of Battlefield ministries.
A weekly phone call with Jane, scheduled just before I entered the vaulted halls of the prison, provided prayer support and wise, Spirit-led counsel that applied just the right healing balm to the wounded hearts of the women I encountered in the course of my visits in the individual cells.
On one such phone call Jane said, “I’m going to vicariously enter the cells with you today and will wash one woman’s feet.”
I responded with a hesitant, “…Okay…” But inwardly, I doubted such an unlikely occasion would arise…
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IMB missionary to France for over 40 years, Jane’s sister and life-long role model