This year’s Summer Sampler Series answers the question “What does by design do?” Each post will address an aspect of our ministry, as told by women who have been positively impacted. We hope that their stories encourage you and inspire you to take advantage of the support, training, and resources available to you from by design ministries.
For more information about the wide range of services offered by our ministry, please click here.
Learning by design
By Sarah Beliveau
When I first heard about by design ministries I wasn’t sure who they were or what they were all about. I just knew that I had a friendship with a woman named Kristi Stoughton who is on staff and I had a desire to hear about what she poured so much of her heart and time into.
Coming from a church family heavy on teaching, training, and discipleship, I feel deeply about local churches being a major part of where you learn, plug in, and grow. I wasn’t sure how I felt about parachurch ministries in general, but one of the things God was teaching me, and specifically through my friendship with Kristi, was that it is always worth hearing from other people in the “big C” Church to glean perspective, gain knowledge, and grow in understanding.
I learned very quickly that there is wonderful value in coming together with people from all different walks of life and different church experiences, with different perspectives on how “church” and “ministry” are formed and run. I learned very quickly that although some people worship quietly and have a worship set list that is structured and straightforward, they can and do still have a passion for Jesus that is simply displayed differently by different personalities.
This is not to say that I hadn’t ever thought of this concept, or even that I hadn’t believed it was true and possible, but I saw firsthand the beauty that comes from jumping into others’ expressions of faith and seeing God there as well.
Gathering at the different conferences and events that by design has hosted in the last few years has given me a deep and invaluable appreciation for women in the church. The Church period. Not just my local church, but The Church.
There is a beauty and value in the gatherings that Linda, Kristi, and all the other women who pour themselves into this ministry have invested in. And I have been affected deeply by them.
I’ve not only learned to highly value and love these women simply because they are family in Christ, but I’ve also come to appreciate learning from the wisdom and experience of the women brought in to minister, as well as the women attending. And on the flip side, I have had some incredible opportunities to share my own story, and hopefully bring insight to others as to another facet of who God is and how He works!
This is one of the reasons I see value in the ministry. They seek to gather together women from all over for the express purpose of helping them learn and grow and flourish in the functions that God has them within in their own local church family. They are a resource for women who may feel like they have none where they are, and yet by design endlessly encourages the women bring it home and use their newly found wisdom and knowledge in order to help those around them flourish and grow.
There are so many resources and valuable classes, groups, trainings, and more that by design does so well. I truly hope that anyone who is feeling the need for development will draw from these resources, bring them home, and grow!
As for me, the greatest gift I have gotten out of my interaction with them has been the experiential understanding of what it means to gather wisdom from the many women and their various expressions of Christ. There is nothing quite like the humbling experience to think, as a young person, that you know just how things should be done, and then realize that there are some things that are variable … passion can manifest differently, structure can look different, but as long as the core is Christ, there can be love, and unity, and honor, and learning from one another in a meaningful way.
Proverbs 1:2-7 says:
For learning what wisdom and discipline are; for understanding insightful sayings; for receiving wise instruction in righteousness, justice, and integrity; for teaching shrewdness to the inexperienced, knowledge and discretion to a young man — a wise man will listen and increase his learning, and a discerning man will obtain guidance — for understanding a proverb or a parable, the words of the wise, and their riddles.
That is something by design has added to my life. God further opened my eyes to see people with more respect and honor, and value them as sisters in Christ because they are sisters, and not because they think just like me or function in the church just like me. I have been privileged to increase in learning from women from all walks of life in Christ, and therefore I have gained knowledge and learning and understanding I might not have otherwise.
And that, my friend, is Christ in action.
by design ministries brings value in so many practical ways, but above that, there is a deep love for Christ and a deep burden to see women in this region experience Him fully, and express Him in an alive and vibrant way, in the areas where they have influence.
That is why I love them.
Learn more about WeConnect and Mentoring events.
WeConnect is the young women’s ministry arm of by design. It is led by a team of wonderful and godly young women (including Sarah!) and is designed to connect with the Millennial and Zennial generations to reach them for Christ and encourage them in their faith. Check out what we’re doing by visiting WeConnect.
Are you passionate about reaching the next generation for Christ? Statistics show that those who are mentored are more likely to retain their faith. by design offers FREE mentoring events to help get you started. Contact us to schedule one at your church!
WELCOME, FRIENDS. I’m Sarah Beliveau, a creative soul who loves Jesus! I’m most interested in seeing the gospel lived in the everyday moments, and I long to express beauty and truth through the creative arts. I live life together with an amazing community, in the perfect (well, in my ever so humble opinion) New England region. I am a chronic pain overcomer, traveling hair stylist, mental-health advocate and caretaker, mentor, artist and designer, aspiring actress, writer, and basically lover of all things creative. I’m so thankful you’re here, traipsing together through the wild journey we call life. You’re loved, and oh so welcome.
Sarah is a member of by design’s WeConnect Leadership Team. Read more about WeConnect!