As we say goodbye to 2015 and enter into 2016, our founder, Diane Paddison, wanted to thank every single person who had a hand in helping further 4word’s mission in 2015. She shares her reflection on 2015 and her hopes for 2016 below.
When I think about gratefulness, which is what drove me to want to say a personal thank you, I think about I Thessalonians 5:18 “to be grateful in all circumstances.” In Ephesians 4:30, “He has a plan for every life.” And bestows special gifts and empowerment to make it happen.
Over the past year, 4word reached over 2 million professional women through the 4word: Local Groups, 4word: Mentor Program, and 4word Virtual Community. I am greatly encouraged and humbled by how God has used 4word to impact women in the workplace. This impact would not have been possible without the help and support of our Local Group Leaders, Mentors, Board of Directors, Advisory Board members, volunteers, Member Insiders, Debbie MacDonald, Allison Johnson, Brenda Teele, Teri Abraham, staff and interns. I have seen God continue to provide in 2015: Lori Berry as our new Director of Operations; Susan Smalling, Austin, writing a devotional for professional women… I could go on and on. We even have had two babies born this year amongst our small staff, and the team didn’t miss a beat!
Why are 4word volunteers and supporters so vital to our success?
First, God is using our over 100 Mentors to impact women who have applied to the 4word: Mentor Program. (Since it started in 2013, 149 pairs have completed the program!) The wisdom they share is invaluable and changes lives.
Second, God is using our 120 4word: Local Group Leaders to build authentic community among women in the seventeen cities. We launched three new 4word: Local Groups and strengthened our 14 existing groups with new resources and shared best practices. We could not do our work without these leaders. Their passion and purpose in serving women is extraordinary.
Thirdly, the women who volunteer as an extension of our staff allow us to reach so many more women. Diane facilitates our Mentor Program kick offs; Caitie and Morgan volunteer to input email addresses; Debbie and Allison are leading the first 4word Gala along with 23 Host Committee couples/individuals and 20 volunteers on our committees; plus, others.
Looking back on 2015, what are you most thankful for?
There is so much I am thankful for; however, 4word exists because women around the world desire to have their faith as their foundation, relationships as a priority, and their work to be a place God uses their gifts to impact others.
4word’s contribution of relevant, original content continues through our articles, blogs, and our partnership with Today’s Christian Women. Christianity Today’s online magazine, and its bimonthly newsletter LifeWork have allowed us to reach a broad audience. Partnering with writers Susan DiMickele and Elizabeth Knox, we completed the Working Women of the Bible Study Guide and Faith Powered Profession Study Guide. These resources build on Work, Love, Pray and the Work, Love, Pray Companion Study Guide, providing resources for our small groups.
In 2015, 4word made progress with our advocacy work through our relationship with Western Seminary. Together, we developed a series of videos that Western will distribute to church leaders and seminary students to be used as conversation starters to understand women in the workplace, an important audience for the church to reach. The videos, and a recent grant, will lay the foundation for 4word to launch our 4word: Church Connect program in 2016.
Last of all, 4word is thrilled to announce preparations are underway for our first annual 4word Gala, scheduled for February 6, 2016, in Dallas, Texas. We invite you to attend with us or participate from afar via our Gala Silent Auction or Sponsorship.
On a personal note, many of you know my daughter, Annie, has been fighting nerve pain throughout the past year and has another painful year of healing ahead. I am very grateful for all of your prayers and gifts of time, food, and encouragement as she battles through each day. I have learned to ask, “God what do you want with our lives during this time?” versus “Why?”
What are you hoping to see God bless 4word with in 2016?
I want to see 4word expand its impact to many more women in 2016. A couple ways we are praying for that are first, through the gift of foundation grants. These grants would specifically fund our 4word: Mentor Program, 4word: Church Connect, and a development team. These grants would allow us to grow to a whole different level. Our second prayer is for a huge PR opportunity to break so that more women are aware of 4word. We hear daily, “I wish I would have known about this resource a long time ago.”
God has continually blessed 4word and has allowed us the privilege of serving women in the workplace. We are so thankful for you and your support of our mission to impact Christian women in the workplace around the world. May you and your families have a blessed New Year! To God be the Glory!
Here are some ideas about how you can join this global movement
AND support 4word and the women we serve:
For $175, you can secure a place in our next mentoring class for a woman in the workplace ready to commit to going to the next level in her career.
2. 4word Member Insider
Give a woman you love the gift of membership in an organization that connects, leads, and supports her.
Support the 4word mission with your tax deductible donation in the name of a woman you admire.
4word is a 501c3 organization. All gifts given are tax deductible.
Please click here to receive these impactful blogs automatically to your inbox.