A number of our members are actively involved in this ministry. Read on for the full story, and how you can participate.
History: It all began in 2006 in Grenoble, France, when an American missionary who felt deeply in need of fellowship with women started a bible study, which grew to include a weekend retreat for English-speaking women. The first retreat was held in Lyon in May 2007, attended by 70 women from all over Europe. It was there the first retreat speaker Janice Gutierrez caught the vision, and Lifesprings International was born. Before Lifesprings, Janice had been involved with The School for Women in Ministry (SWM) in her home state of California, a school developed by Pamela Heim. Pamela was a former director of Women’s Ministries of the Baptist General Conference, U.S. (now called Converge International). In her position as director, Pamela observed that even good leaders often felt inadequately prepared for ministry leadership. Many of the women expressed a desire toake college or seminary courses, but it was not always possible for them due to family responsibilities, time, and financial constraints. Pamela believed that if the church was to fulfil Christ’s mission, women needed help to become more confident and competent in ministry. In 1997, SWM was born as a leadership and personal ministry training program for women. It was designed to provide a solid academic program of practical course work in a way that was accessible, affordable, and immediately applicable to ministry. SWM has now trained thousands of women throughout the U.S. and Canada for ministry.
In 2008, Janice suggested that Lifesprings bring the School to women in Europe. Pamela Heim gave her whole-hearted approval and blessing to Lifesprings and a Lifesprings School of Ministry (LSM) was born. The first school (called Formation Zoé in French) was held in Grenoble, France from 2009-2011. Since then, we have held schools in:
- Zurich, Switzerland: 2012-2014,
- Geneva, Switzerland: 2014-2016,
- Grenoble, France (in French): 2014-2016,
- Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: 2017-2019.
What: Lifesprings desire to see women become spiritually and emotionally whole and mature, living lives which testify to their faith, responding compassionately to a suffering world, and impacting their communities with the love of God. Our church community has been actively involved with Lifesprings throughout the years, from attending the retreats to sponsoring women for various schools.
Where: Currently, a number of us are involved in organising LSM-Zoe Lyon, the first bilingual French-English school which is scheduled to begin on 6th November 2021, at the Domaine St-Joseph in Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon.
How: As in previous schools, this teaching has developed in its present form (6 Saturdays over 18 months) in order to allow students to participate without disrupting their family and professional life. The themes for the first 3 days of teaching are:
- 6/11/2021: God and His Daughters in Biblical and Spiritual History (Mary Cotes and Lula Deroeux www.servirensemble.com) – an overview of women characters in the bible and in spiritual history.
- 29/01/2022: Spiritual Formation and Transformation (Anne and Louis Schweitzer) – the stages of the spiritual life ; Organisational Principles and a Rhythm of Life (Jenn Williamson)
- 19/3/2022: The characteristics of servant-leaders (Janice Gutierrez); Seeking God’s will together – building Kingdom Ministry teams (Gudrun Reeves)
The team organising the Lyon bilingual English-French school is made up of volunteers, who come from a variety of different backgrounds and denominations. From Trinity, please speak to Brigitte, Christine, Emilie, Kae, Haniyaa, Lis, or Ruth to find out more. If you would like to get a better idea of the style and content of the school you can watch a video of the free taster session which was held via Zoom on 14 Nov 2020: LSM Taster Session Video Link
We are happy to answer any questions you have regarding the school. We are praying that many women in France, Europe and worldwide will be encouraged, trained, and challenged by this new opportunity to grow in their faith and impact their homes, churches, and communities!