HEARTLAND | The girls from Anna Heights Baptist Church were pretty quiet after AWSOM, said their leader, Judy Halter.
“Whenever you’re raising the bar like that, I think the girls are going to get quiet.” Halter and two fellow leaders brought 14 girls to the annual conference for young women. (AWSOM stands for “Amazing Women Serving Our Maker.”)
“I think it’s all about discipleship,” she said. “It really is, and that was a great missions and discipleship conference.”
With a deep theme for 2014. The most recent AWSOM focused on “the battle for your mind” and found its biblical basis in 2 Corinthians 10:5, a verse that calls Christians to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
“The more I study about biblical womanhood and research current world issues impacting women, the root cause always begins in a person’s thoughts,” said Carmen Halsey, IBSA’s director of women’s ministry and missions. “This year’s theme was intended to be a proactive stance in educating our young women and their leaders about the power of our thoughts, and the need to discover the Word and plant it deep inside, so that the Holy Spirit is armed and ready to do war.”
Planting the Word was main speaker Courtney Veasey’s role at AWSOM. The director of women’s academic programs at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary taught on the conference theme passage and others from the Bible, urging the girls toward victory in the battle, and a deeper dependence on God’s Word. AWSOM attendees also sat in on a variety of breakout sessions:
- Dr. Olivia Johnson, a former police officer with a doctorate in criminal justice, talked the girls through a series of potentially dangerous situations they could face in the real world, training them on how to think through each situation and make smart choices.
- Mother/daughter pair Amy and Amanda Neibel educated the students on human trafficking prevention. The Neibels are part of a leadership team established to raise awareness among Illinois women and churches about human trafficking.
- Brenda Sommer, a licensed clinical professional counselor, taught on the role of Christian counseling and how girls can speak truth into the lives of friends who are struggling.
- Halter cited Renee Smith’s session on CrossFit as one moment when things weren’t so quiet. Smith, a pastor’s wife from Mt. Zion, demonstrated easy exercises and gave tips for developing a healthy selfimage.
This year’s AWSOM conference is scheduled for November 6-7 in Springfield. For more information about upcoming opportunities for women and girls, go to http://www.IBSA.org/womensmissions.