19 April, 2024

‘If Then Move’ Promotes Healing and Growth in Women

by | 1 July, 2023 | 0 comments

By Laura McKillip Wood 

Wendy Fitzgerald has a passion for serving God and for helping others see how God works in their lives.  

As a young woman involved in her church, she looked at the women around her and saw many who wanted to serve God with their talents but did not know how to start. Many of the women felt limited in their churches and did not know how to use their gifts in that setting. Some felt overwhelmed with childcare and family, while others felt isolated because they did not have husbands and families. Wendy began to pray about how she could participate in God’s work in other women’s lives. 

THE BEGINNING 

Wendy is a writer, teacher, and a skilled speaker who uses humor and drama to communicate God’s truth. She loves the word story because it connects hearts and emotions. Stories can convey deep truth in a digestible and relatable manner.  

She believed these gifts could work well to create a ministry that would reach into the hearts of women. In 2011, Wendy launched If Then Move, a ministry that uses storytelling and creativity to teach sound biblical principles. In 2016, Rebee Leeman lent her business acumen to the ministry to help organize and structure Wendy’s creative ideas.  

According to their website (www.ifthenmove.com), the purpose of If Then Move is “to encourage women to respond to what God wants to do in them and through them.” Put more simply, they say, “We want to put pebbles in shoes. We want you to limp a little and wrestle with what we’ve said.”  

If Then Move focuses on training and encouraging leaders in women’s ministry so those leaders can, in turn, train and encourage the people around them. To that end, If Then Move creates ready-made products that women’s ministry teams can use to help them plan kingdom-focused women’s conferences and Bible studies. They provide the materials and training and help continue the work even after the main events end.  

Rebee and Wendy co-teach all the conferences.  

The ministry has six turnkey women’s conferences to choose from, each with a fully developed theme, print and promotional material, roundtable discussion questions for small groups, and unique message activities. “Faith looks like taking the next step,” they explain. Their goal is to help women in ministry lead other women to take that step.  

In addition to sound biblical teaching, If Then Move’s conferences include a variety of activities and crafts that women can do together. They partner with Papillon Marketplace in Haiti, which provides quality materials, so conference participants can make items by hand. Papillon Marketplace makes the kits that are used for the activities. If Then Move also sells their jewelry and metal art to help the artisans of Papillon Marketplace. The activities they create relate directly to the message of the conferences and help women remember their experiences together and what God is doing in their lives. 

THE BRIDGE 

The Bridge, which began in 2019, is a unique facet of If Then Move. It is a group of 10 to 15 women who meet regularly for one year to encourage one another and grow in their relationships with God. Each year, a new group of women is chosen for The Bridge. They meet virtually once a month and create a safe space for women to share the messy parts of their lives.  

Many women have experienced difficult situations in their churches, and they do not always feel comfortable sharing their emotions in the broader church setting. Still, Wendy and Rebee acknowledge that people need to share their pain together in order to heal from it.  

In this setting of acceptance and grace, women find the strength to face and process hard things in life. Then they can confidently and effectively serve God in their churches and other settings. Many of these women can discern what God is doing in their lives while they heal together. Many of the women have started ministries or become more effective in the ones they already serve. 

A GOD-SIZED DREAM 

If Then Move also is dreaming of creating a place where women can get mental health and pastoral care. They are hoping to start a center that eventually will employ counselors, chaplains, and mental health care practitioners who can help women who need more care in a safe environment. If this dream is realized, the comprehensive healing center will offer seminars, art therapy, music therapy, and other types of therapy in conjunction with spiritual healing. 

SUCCESS STORIES 

The women involved in the ministry of If Then Move report deepening relationships with God and other women. Jenni says that through participating in The Bridge she learned to love people more deeply, as Jesus does, even when some of their faith beliefs differ. 

“Discipling women has been a passion of mine . . . and being a part of The Bridge helped equip me more,” Jenni says. “I gained understanding, courage, and wisdom from the other women. The support and love I felt and still feel from these women is like no other I have [experienced] in a small group before. The true authentic love was just what my heart needed in that time.”  

Audra also had a positive experience in The Bridge.  

“I was going through a season of healing from church hurt and found myself seeking support and encouragement from other women in ministry, but struggling to find it,” Audra says. “I felt these women understood me without having to say much at all.”  

If Then Move is helping Christian women grow and find their place in the kingdom of God. 

Laura McKillip Wood

Laura McKillip Wood, former missionary to Ukraine, now lives in Papillion, Nebraska. She serves as an on-call chaplain at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha. She and her husband, Andrew, have three teenagers.

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