By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
BARNESVILLE, Md.—Barnesville Church Pastor Joey Ivy had a vision of his church being filled with people. In fulfillment of that vision, the upper Montgomery County church began holding rallies for men, women and youth. And true to the vision—the church was filled.
But it’s the women’s rallies that have really taken off, shared volunteer organizer Karen Joyce Dunn. What has made them so special?
“It’s really simple,” she shared. “We just prayed to discern God’s will, and we did it.”
Likening the effort to a growing grass roots movement, which by nature is natural, spontaneous, and volunteer-driven, Dunn credits a “full page of people” for making the event successful.
“There’s this bonding in this unified event with a variety of people making it happen,” she said. “It was what I call one of those fellowship threads that weaves the fabric of the church together. “
She added, “I’m a firm believer in being a God-led person. That means you don’t have a road map, and the Lord gets all the credit for how it is all arranged.”
So, how was it all arranged?
At its very foundation is prayer. “Prayer is the rock. If it is not there, it’s not going to work,” Dunn said.
Also instrumental are personal invitations, note cards made on a computer, which ladies hand out to the women in their lives.
Each rally is hosted on Friday and Saturday nights and concludes on Sunday mornings. Since the rallies are for women, each weekend focuses on a woman in the Bible.
For the past three years, Gayla Parker, executive director of Women’s Missionary Union of Maryland/Delaware, has been the special speaker. This year, on Mar. 25-27, Parker taught about Naomi and Ruth, especially focusing on mother/daughter relationships.
“Gayla is so incredible, and the women in our fellowship really respond to what she says,” Dunn shared, noting that 75 women came to their latest event. “They bring their friends to church. Even a Muslim woman came!”
Cris Driver, who has a “beautiful voice,” led the weekend’s worship, at times with her daughter, Michaela and mother, Mary Yates. A choir of mothers and daughters also led special music.
Holly Cross, a young elementary-aged girl, led “the Rally Cheer,” which was inspired by a December 2010 BaptistLIFE article (https://bcmd.org/2010/12/thoughts-on-faith-and-adversity/), in which Cindy Barr shared a call and response that had touched her during times of adversity: “God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.”
“Holly had the sweetest, most precious little girl voice leading us,” Dunn said.
And then a group reenacted a scene inspired by the Gospel music song, “Somebody Like Me,” about a drunk walking into a church as the call to worship, “Amazing Grace,” was sung. Though the “elder” Ed Williams initially gives a disgusted reaction, he repents of his sinful attitude and welcomes the drunk, cleaning him up as the choir sings, “Somebody Like Me.”
In a special children’s story, a mother/daughter team Vicki Kerrikos and Ashley Babyak shared a testimony about their recent family mission trip to New York City to work with the homeless.
All in all, it was an amazing weekend that bonded generations together and introduced non-Christians to Jesus.
“I couldn’t sleep. So many women had walked in the door who didn’t know the Lord. The church was full. Mothers and daughters were singing together,” she said, adding excitedly that plans are already underway for Rally #4.
“How the Lord pays you! He gives you these absolutely amazing rewards that no amount of money could ever buy!”