Young children love birthday parties. The balloons, the cake and ice cream, the festive decorations, the chance to laugh together with your friends – all these things make celebrating birthdays fun. Young friendships blossom on these occasions. For this reason, as a mother, I gladly help my daughters wrap the presents for their friends and prepare for these festive occasions.
Celebrating is important and not only on birthdays. Celebrating helps us remember what we value. Celebrating brings people together. Celebrating also motivates us. As Thomas J. Peters, a best-selling author of books on business management practices, once said, “Celebrate what you want to see more of.”
Ministry involves celebrating. In Romans 12:15, we read, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Many times in ministry we focus on bringing comfort to those in need, but we overlook the importance of celebration. While we need to walk alongside those experiencing struggles and defeats, we also need to come alongside each other to join in the celebration of victories.In Luke 15, we find two parables about finding things that are lost, the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin. When the shepherd finds the lost sheep, “he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep’” (Luke 15:6). In a similar manner, when the woman finds her lost coin, “she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me, I have found my lost coin.’” (Luke 15:9).
Ministry friendships open the doors to celebrating with one another. When one woman experiences a breakthrough in her ministry, her friends can rejoice alongside her. When she is effective in the work that the Lord has given her, other women in ministry can celebrate with her that the lost have been found. The joy can be spread around, as one woman’s victory becomes a victory that many women can share.
Perhaps women in ministry have outgrown the need for balloons and colorful streamers, but I think we all could use the added joy that comes from taking time to celebrate together! May we say along with Paul, “I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2:17-18). Take time to call a friend in ministry today and find out how you can celebrate along with her. Block out time on your schedule to come to a Network event and meet other women who share the same call. You will find friends ready to encourage you and join in your celebrations!
Dr. Christina Powell