2015 Theme: Be Expectant!
2015: Be Expectant!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen
Let’s Be Expectant of all that God is saying and doing in the world: we have lots to anticipate! What is it that you imagine God can do in GB in your part of the world? What do you want to ask of Him confident that He will respond? In order to help you engage with the theme of expectation throughout the year, we have devised a range of resources which you can dip into. They are split into four sections:
- Worship framework
- Creative ideas for worship
These reflections have been written by a number Girls’ Brigade friends and office bearers from around the world. You may use them in range of ways: for personal reflection, as articles in your GB publications, on your websites, as devotional thoughts for your conferences, meetings and activities, as monthly Bible studies with a group of other GB leaders , as a series of worship themes at a retreat or leadership training event – or in any other way you choose.
Whatever a girl’s background or upbringing, all we can ever hope for them is they know love, writes team leader Sally Claydon.
Ponderings about what Paul Dunn’s painting “The Strength and Essence of Women” can say to us as women today.
Ruth Gilson takes inspiration from the life of Timothy and relay races to learn about empowering others.
By Helen Hoskins
Let me share with you the testimony of one of our GB Centre students. I shall call her Glorious (not her real name).
By Alison Margetts
Anna didn’t care nor worry what the world saw, she spent her time in the temple worshiping her Lord and expecting to see great things. Anna was aware that one day the promised Messiah would come.
By Ruth Gilson - Executive Director
I wonder if William Carey knew that his faith, his expectancy of God, his discipleship would lead to a world-wide movement where women and men today are involved in life-giving mission?
By Ruth Chikasa
It’s easy to settle for living an unfilled life, because we don’t raise our expectancy of ourselves or of God, so I encourage you – expect great things to happen in your life.
By Charlotte Hendy
Despite all of the times God has shown up in our lives, we still become so easily discouraged. I feel a bit like the Israelites who, after being freed from slavery and the awful regime of the Pharaoh, stand in the desert and doubt that God will provide them with food.
By Mrs Tay Poh Imm
We will all face challenges and tough decisions everyday of our lives. Alone, we are weak and uncertain, but if we wait and listen expectantly to God’s voice, He will always be faithful to guide us according to His will
By Priscilla Penny
God’s choosing of us is not based on anything we have done, because we were chosen by Him even before the world was made. And we were chosen not just to be saved, but to be completely clean before him, because of the blood of Jesus.
By Hazelann Hannaway Borleand
When we embrace the joy of being Expectant we too can see the DIAMONDS in every girl crossing our path and introduce them to Christ who is waiting to give them ‘beauty for ashes.’
These questions are designed to help national boards, executive committees and local groups focus on the strategic responses that need to be made as we engage with God’s promise to give and give and give again. There are three key questions to be used as you see fit throughout the year.
At ICGB we were challenged to ‘keep the main thing’ of Girls’ Brigade the ‘main thing’. We recognised that there are often other issues on our agendas and in our GB diaries that crowd in and become more important or distract our time, energy and prayers away from our main purpose.
At ICGB 2014 we were challenged to see that one third of the world had never heard the name of Jesus, and another third may have heard but have not engaged with Him.
This will give you the shape of a worship event which you can use as suits your area and young people.
Some may wish to use it on the International Day of Prayer in conjunction with the Prayer Wave Material. Others may choose to use this as a focus at their national or fellowship conferences or celebrations. The framework offers options, suggestions and ideas regarding readings, worship songs, prayers and talks from which you may select and adapt to create something relevant to your need.
An example order of service with ideas for songs, prayers and reflections which you can adapt for groups of all ages.
Creative ideas for worship
In this section you will find a range of creative worship ideas from around the world for use with leaders, children and young women.
By Girls' Brigade New Zealand
Sometimes when things take a long time to happen, we get tired and bored of waiting and watching for it. When we pray to God we need to wait and watch to see Him answer our prayers.
By Girls Brigade International
Every time we come to worship we should have that same sense of EXPECTANCY and anticipation that God will be there and something good will happen.
By Girls' Brigade Africa
This event is yet to happen and although the prospect of the scene may fill us with awe, it should not fill us with fear. It is the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise to His followers, that He will return to take us home
By Girls' Brigade England and Wales
If this is God’s promise to us (and it is) what is it that we are EXPECTING Him to give us? If we don’t know what it is we expect we won’t know when He has done His thing! Encourage everyone to think what the desire of their heart is. What do they want from God?
By Girls' Brigade United States of America
What does God EXPECT of us in worship? We should expect Him to be present even though he is unseen and we should focus on Him
By Girls' Brigade Northern Ireland
Talk with your group that God is so good. Everything He gives and offers is greater than what we could imagine. The Lord is good to those whom have hope/expect from Him. (Lamentations 3:25)
By Girls' Brigade Caribbean
What does God EXPECT of us while awaiting His second coming? Stay the course. The gospel account of EXPECTANCY is not microwave fervor, but it is zealous commitment despite the circumstance.
By Caribbean and Americas
If you are working with young people encourage the group to examine what kind of seeds they have planted in the last week and what expectation they have as a result. What we sow is what comes back in our life.
By Girls' Brigade Australia
As we need to prepare when we are going away so we need to prepare for the return of Jesus. Ask the group, what they will need to do to be prepared for Jesus’ return – live the kind of life that puts others first and do things which please God.
I am Ruth Morris Baba, a native of Mada of Akwanga in Nasarawa, Nigeria. I joined the Girls’ Brigade at a very young age, as an explorer (around 4 years old) until I became a Brigader (I was 14 then). I carried on in GB after this and trained to be a leader, working in my local company and the district and state. I am now GB Nigeria’s National Youth Secretary.
Over the years my parents, the church, individuals and the Girls’ Brigade have all played major roles in my spiritual growth. But most importantly and worthy of special mention is the Girls’ Brigade.
It has in a great deal blessed my life.
At a girl’s camp in 2002, we watched a movie together, a story about a young girl who kept herself and her virginity for many years but due to peer pressure around her she became pregnant. She dropped out from school and also contracted HIV/AIDS. I felt very challenged by this and chose to make solemn decision to abstain from sex until I married, however hard this would be.
My leaders have been my counselors, mentors, teachers and mothers. They have taught, nurtured and prayed with me especially and helped me live out my faith. I feel so grateful to God for women like Mrs Tabitha Agabi and Mrs Helen Bala who through their example and the way they have led in GB have molded me to who I am today in the way of the Lord.
“So, to sum up, we’d like to help you pay your fees so you can spend the girls’ subs money on actually doing the grassroots work with girls that you’re meant to.”
I nearly choked on my cappuccino.
Our (fairly-new) pastor was recognising that the work we do in Girls’ Brigade (GB) is front-line, community mission work and it’s successful too.
Wow! There’s been a GB group in our church since the 1920s and, although we’ve always been really well encouraged, finally the church is putting its money where its mouth is. Sadly I guess that many churches see GB as just another club who use their facilities.
Once a week the lights go on and a little band of girls arrive and do . . . whatever it is GB girls do and then they trot off home again. Occasionally you might see a few of them with their leaders for a church parade, maybe even one or two parents who’ve turned up to support them.
The weeks, months and years come and go without many people asking ‘What IS Girl’s Brigade all about?’ and ‘What, exactly, do they do?’
What IS Girls’ Brigade all about?
I joined GB when I was eight years old and I grew to love a brilliant organisation with a fantastic aim: to help girls become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ and, through self-control, reverence and a sense of responsibility, find true enrichment of life.
Up and down the land and, in fact, in many countries around the world, GB groups are, in various ways and through a host of different activities, helping girls to follow Jesus – and helping them find true enrichment of life!
Such a strong purpose is the main reason why some 30 (plus) years later I’m still to be found in the church hall every Wednesday evening with a wonderful team of leaders and a happy bunch of girls finding out what life is all about.It’s said a large percentage of Christians found faith as a child or teenager and perhaps, for that reason, a large percentage of our time and money should be spent in evangelising children and young people – that certainly seems to make a lot of sense to me.
What a privilege it is too, to be involved in the care and nurture of precious young people as they grow and develop. As GB leaders we hope to encourage girls in all areas of their lives, providing them with opportunities which help them become well-rounded individuals who have learnt new skills, grown in confidence, discovered a God who loves them and expressed all of this in serving others.
What a difference these young people can make in the world. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more and more youngsters could experience the joy of being part of a church family through GB? So, if your church is blessed enough to have a GB group, why not give the leaders a word of encouragement; give the group a monetary gift and maybe even find out how you can volunteer?
You’ll be getting involved in mission… you’ll be helping girls to follow Jesus!
Tackling ‘the cupboard’
I recently returned from my church’s annual spring clean where I tackled ‘the cupboard’.
I’m sure every church has one – the place where all the resources are kept… paint, glue, felt-tip pens, footballs, hoops and skipping ropes.
It really should be so straightforward – a clear plastic box for the beanbags, a tray for the scissors, a cardboard box for the paint – but the trouble is that people are so kind.
- A carrier bag of kitchen roll tubes… well, they might come in handy for Girls’ Brigade.
- A black sack full of left over florist-ribbon, all a bit scrunched, but I guess it could be used for something-or-other.
- A biscuit tin full of various crayons, novelty staplers, erasers, pencil sharpeners and half-used glitter-glue, all generously donated by a teenager who’s had a bedroom clear-out.
Added to that I found all the left-overs from a wonderful Easter fun day that the church held – now where to put all this shredded tissue paper?
Several hours later and some sense of order had been restored – rubbish was thrown away, items returned to their rightful home and boxes and tubs labelled clearly so that we can all keep things tidy from now on. Craft stuff is all together on one side of the cupboard, with sports and games equipment on the other. Used-once-a-year boxes like Christmas decorations are stored up high with used-every-week things easily accessible.Everything is in see-through boxes and clearly labelled.
It’s a brilliant system and it really should work perfectly… but of course, the reality is that within a few weeks it will be a right mess again.
Our lives can be a bit like the newly-tidied cupboard sometimes – everything compartmentalised, labelled and separate. We wear so many different hats – wife, mother, GB leader, work colleague, friend and church member.Sometimes we can lose integrity and present different versions of ourselves in different situations.
The challenge is to be the person that God made us to be – and to be that person at all times. I think this is a particularly difficult issue for the young Christians in our care, particularly those from un-churched families.
One minute they’re enjoying the worship and fellowship of a youth meeting at church, the next they’re arguing about a messy bedroom with a tired mum or trying to fit in with the popular gang at school.
In an increasingly secular society it’s tougher than ever to stand up for Jesus. Imagine my joy when I read this prayer from one of my seniors:
‘Dear Lord, thank you for giving me the courage to tell one of my friends about you and how amazing you are. Now all my class knows I’m a Christian and I’m not afraid to tell the world.’
That’s the kind of prayer to make a Girls’ Brigade leader’s heart skip a beat. Now back to the cupboard – do we really need three broken whiteboards and a set of toy policemen’s helmets?
My name is Natalie Koutsos and I live in beautiful Australia. I am 29 yrs old and have a wonderful husband and a really supportive family.
I works as a full time hairdresser, but in truth I must say that my heart is lit up by serving God in Girls’ Brigade. To me it feels like a calling on my life, and currently I am Team leader of a local Girls’ Brigade group in New South Wales.
My story stems from my family – I grew up in a amazing family who demonstrated from the inside out what ministry is, and I really experienced the impact of servant love and leadership through my family as I was growing up. Dad is a Pastor and seeing him and mum love God with hearts that desire to serve Jesus in all of their life, has influenced me so much. Their example has shaped my understanding of God at work in my life, and helped me to be open to him as i learn to love and serve him in my own life.
My experience of Girls’ Brigade
GB has been a place that’s provided security and challenge for me over the years, especially when I was a teenager. There were tough times – but people like my GB leader really mentored me and stuck with me. I am so grateful for this as it reinforced my foundations.
I’ve often looked back and reflected on how GB’s motto has helped ground me as a Christian. It seems to say everything that needs to be at the base of me – ‘seek, serve and follow Christ’
A Bible verse that challenges me so much is where Jesus said to his followers they must learn to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind’ (Matthew 22:3) WOW!
I feel as though the only way I will ever fulfil this is by accepting that its allowing God to keep on transforming me from the inside out – I just can’t do this in my strength!
The way my family and GB leaders have discipled and mentored me over the years is something I now feel passionate to be part of in the lives of girls around me. I just want to be a light for the next generation of girls in GB.
Tnay Yong Hua
I’m Tnay Yong Hua, born in Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia. I am a local leader in Girls’ Brigade and at the moment the International Vice-President for the Girls’ Brigade Asia Fellowship.
I was born into a believing family.When I was a child, my grandfather told me Bible stories, sang songs about Jesus, and helped me memorise the Lord’s Prayer. My parents took me to church and I attended Sunday School, Youth Fellowship, Choir and later served as Sunday School teacher, Youth leader and choir conductor. Through these activities I developed my personal spiritual growth with God in prayer and daily Bible reading.
In 1975, I joined Girls’ Brigade as team leader of 1st Sibu Company. Being a part of this international organization has really helped widen my scope of life, to have a mission among young girls, to bring them to know Christ and to train them to be godly women.I thank God that I can be in partnership with Him in this Girls’ Brigade family.
The following year, I had a motorbike accident on my way home from church. I fell into a drain full of broken pieces of wood. Even though my bike was hardly damaged, it was a miracle that I survived as I fractured my neck.
This was such a turning point in my life, and I thank God for preserving my life. I had begun following Christ at a young age, but this accident was a time where I re-affirmed my faith in him and began a new time of growth and equipping as a Christian disciple. One of the course I attended was the ‘Million Leaders Mandate’ – ‘Discipleship’. This has really helped me to serve God better in Girls’ Brigade.
Hi – I am Coral, National Commissioner for Girls’ Brigade Australia. I live with my husband and family in Perth, on the west coast of Australia, venue for the next ICGB and I am looking forward to meeting many of you here in July 2014!
At a Billy Graham crusade in Melbourne I clearly heard God calling me to go forward as an outward sign of my decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ. Since then He has worked in my life transforming it bit by bit (and there is still a long, long way to go!) into His image.
This verse in the Bible constantly reminds me that God has started His transforming work in me and will continue until He is finished, He will not give up, no matter what:
There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
As God works in my life, there are tough times, lonely times, as well as mountaintop times and ordinary, everyday times.
I believe that God does not expect us to travel alone, he will journey with us, and he gives us amazing people to journey with. There are some very wonderful, Godly women around my life, and they help me so much.
Throughout my years in Girls’ Brigade, first as a girl, then as a leader, Girls’ Brigade friends have been there to laugh with and cry with. We have worshipped together and prayed for each other, we share the good times and the hard times. They have been my mentors, those to whom I am accountable, and my friends. None of us are perfect, yet God has brought us together to share life and encourage each other in our journey following him.
My name is Claire and I am 29 years old. I am a team leader of a local Girls’ Brigade group in Northern Ireland, voluntary GB Europe Youth Co-ordinator and I am employed by GB England & Wales as the Esther Generation Project Co-ordinator.
Who has helped you grow as a follower of Jesus?
The greatest influence on my personal growth as a believer has been my mum. She has been learning about Jesus for over forty years and she is one of the few believer who I get to see publicly and privately.
In other words, I know that her faith is not just for public display. Over the last twenty years, my mum’s life has not been easy. She has had to deal with the loss of both her parents in hard situations.
The trials that my Mum has gone through would make less strong believers question their faith, but my Mum has always held on to God’s promises in the Bible. For this, I admire her greatly.
Growing up, my mum’s priority was to ensure that I knew about Jesus’ love – and she did a fantastic job. She spent a lot of time driving my sister Katherine and I to different church activities – youth choir, youth fellowship, GB, Christian Endeavour etc. My love for my Mum was the reason that I stayed in GB when I was a teenager – even though at times I absolutely rebelled against GB!
My Mum has been with me every step of the way in my adult faith journey. She is excellent at holding me accountable for my prayer life and the amount of alone time I give to God. Daily, my mother challenges me as she reaches out to those around her with the Gospel in words AND actions.