I met my friend, Carol Porter, twenty years ago when she gathered a group of women together in Chicago to draft one of the early books on women’s ministry. Appropriately called, A Women’s Ministry Handbook, Carol assigned us certain chapter topics according to our ministry experience and strengths.
Having recently left teaching in Bible Study Fellowship, my chapters were on speaking and small group leadership. A few years later, six of us became a traveling teaching team, going to various cities to give conferences on how to minister to women. Carol was always the leader—deservedly so.
Talking together, Carol shared that she and a friend called each other every morning to recite their memory verses—and this went on for years and years. She hosted early morning Bible studies in her kitchen, taught Precepts, learned piano, worked out with a Pilates instructor, and worked as Pastor to Women in her home church. She was a woman who intentionally lived for God and, as a result, had a remarkable impact on her friends.
As you think about your desire to grow, ask yourself, “Do my friends, the women I spend the most time with, stimulate me to grow spiritually, emotionally, intellectually?” Check these qualities that marked Carol’s life and see if some of them are present in your friendships:
- She had a thirst to grow—recommending books, sharing insights, pointing to helpful resources
- She always encouraged—pointing to the love and faithfulness of God
- She modeled her passion—taking time to teach, listen, and disciple women who sought her out
- She studied hard—reading, studying Greek, and taking classes that equipped her for God’s work,
- She loved her husband, sons, and grandchildren deeply, relating to them with wisdom and joy
- She was highly energetic, channeling her energy into what was worthwhile
- She cared about those who needed support and equipping—pioneering a ministry to women leaders in Eastern Europe and equipping them to reach others
Can you point to some ways a friend has stimulated your faith? Have they invited you to pray with them? Shared a Scripture that has blessed them? Talked about what God is doing in their lives? Or, asked you how you are doing in your walk with God?
Not everyone can be like Carol, and I’m certainly not, but are there ways you’re bringing spiritual growth to your friends? Do your talk together about the Lord? (Malachi 4:16) Do you share helpful books? Invite them to go with you to a special event? Listen patiently and offer encouragement? Or talk openly about how God is working in your life.
Why not pray and watch out for those special friends—ones who are growing vigorously and who want you to do the same. And be sure to ask God to make you one, also.