Ideas. Most often, the ideas that push for big results require fierce determination, detailed planning, compelling vision casting, and perseverance in prayer. Lots of prayer. But when these God-sized ideas turn into reality, we celebrate and often find a second wind to do even greater things.
The Stonecroft “hub” is one of those ideas. It started as a concept seed from the then new President Lorraine Potter Kalal and two Stonecroft staff in the fall of 2012. The idea was to create a mission-focused organization that would always look for relevant ways to share the Gospel in our greatly changing culture – not just through a few avenues, but many.
Not long after, they presented the idea to Stonecroft’s Board of Directors. Next, staff and volunteers began extensive vision casting across the U.S. Lorraine explained the concept for the local hub – then known as an “affiliate” – at many events held in celebration of Stonecroft’s 75th anniversary.
At the end of Stonecroft’s fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, 12 locations were homes to hubs with as many as 25 others in development, and 32 more under consideration. Today, many women have started a relationship with Jesus Christ through these efforts!
“It’s exciting to see this dream become a reality and take shape, then to watch how these local Stonecroft organizations share the Gospel,” Lorraine says.
This local organization is called a “hub,” because it serves as the center – or hub – of outreach efforts in a community (see diagram). Volunteers gather regularly for training, planning, community, and celebration – all with the goal of showing Jesus to people in their area through various types of outreach. And they pray for revival and new ways to share Jesus. The organization’s volunteers coordinate and host the outreaches that may be nationally branded Stonecroft outreaches or ones created by that particular local organization.
Simply put, a Stonecroft hub meets as an organization, a gathering if you will, to create and establish outreach through events, groups, and one-on-one evangelism. Local Stonecroft volunteers know their communities so they select outreaches that best accommodate their areas’ needs and culture. Staff provide training and outreach ideas.
Divisional Field Directors are the primary staff working with the hubs. The Home Office supplies the tools for the various outreaches. Then local leaders decide how best to share the Gospel, which avenues to employ. Sometimes they create their own. New volunteers can brainstorm, take the lead, and be involved in new outreach from the beginning.
“Christian women need a place to connect and share the Gospel together,” says Lorraine. “They need to receive encouragement and training to take the next step to tell their friend, neighbor, or co-worker about Jesus. And, they need a place to come together to pray about ways to communicate God’s great love to their community. I love that Stonecroft offers such a place.”
Stonecroft Pinellas County (Florida) is one of those places. After it formed in 2016, its first outreach was Detox – find your balance.
“While we are new, our programs thus far have been very successful in winning women to a relationship with Jesus Christ,” says Kim O’Connor, a Pinellas County leader.
It’s essential to have a mixture of age and demographics in Stonecroft Pinellas County, Kim says. “While our gathering was small in number, it represented key demographics essential to all aspects of a healthy (organization): young and old, new to Stonecroft and seasoned Stonecroft leaders, and a blend of backgrounds and socio-economic (status). All united in purpose … to reach women for Jesus Christ,” she explains.
Hubs give women the freedom to do their own ministry to effectively reach their peers. The diversity of participants can provide many evangelistic efforts to touch women throughout their community.
Stonecroft Athens (Georgia) is another established hub. It launched last fall with some Ladies Night Out events. Their Detox event in February spawned some Bible study groups. Several small Stonecroft outreach groups now meet regularly.
Stonecroft Athens is not only seeing new and younger women involved, but more nonbelievers attend its events. “Four made decisions that we know of and many signed up for studies or community groups,” says Denise Beck, Athens leader. The group continues follow-up efforts.
“This is the perfect opportunity to recruit younger women into Stonecroft, engage them in evangelism to their peers, and create new outreach,” says Lorraine. “This is a way for every Stonecroft volunteer to invite her daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and grandnieces to learn to take the Gospel to their peers in an effective, sensitive manner.”[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]