There’s nothing better than a road trip with friends, and this September the BGCO Women’s Ministry is making new friends all across Oklahoma.

Called S.W.E.E.T. (Statewide Womens’ Encirchment and Education Training) is going to 20 towns throughout the state. From Guymon to Miami, from Altus to Hugo, we are connecting with women who want to make a difference in their church and community.

At the time of this writing, we are two weeks into our Twenty Town Tour around the state and the response has been tremendous. Here’s a quick snippet of what we’ve seen around the state:

Women have been so grateful that we’ve designed an event that’s closer to them. They have loved the “short and sweet” of these meetings. Our office will be considering ways we can continue to meet the needs of equipping women by offering more regional events.

The host churches have been incredible. We’ve not walked into a church that wasn’t willing, waiting and ready to show us their hospitality. I’ve never been more excited to represent Southern Baptists of Oklahoma. The women of these churches have gone out of their way preparing food, decorating and inviting women to come. When we asked churches to host these events, we told them to prepare for around 20-30 women. Some of the towns have had 100 or more, which has far exceeded our expectations.

The conversations and discussions at each event are the most crucial part of the meetings. Women have learned from others about ways to be successful. They’ve shared their challenges and they have  helped us learn how to provide more effective resources. These events have shown us that conversations around a table are more productive than listening to a speaker.

The number one challenge around the state continues to be connecting younger women. The second biggest challenge is how to build greater involvement. These are not new challenges, but they are vital for the future. Our office is listening and looking for ways we can respond.

The women in our state are making things happen and they are changing their communities. We have learned great ideas for mission projects, events and how to be more effective in Bible studies. Our goal is to compile all of the ideas we’ve received and send them to everyone who attended one of the events. We know women attended one out of 20 events, but they want to hear what happened in all of them.

When we began two weeks ago, our goal was to reach 600 women across the state. We’re now approaching 900! We’ve been praying for our resources to multiply like fish and loaves.

Women from our state leadership team have traveled and helped our office with these events. This is definitely not a one-woman show, but a team effort. They are also listening to the needs of women and we’ll work together to plan effective strategies for the future.

Will we do this again? It may be several years before we attempt to travel to this many towns again, but we know God has blessed our efforts by traveling the state. Seeing the changing landscapes of wide open plains in the west to the hills of southeastern Oklahoma, I’m reminded that we live in a great state. More importantly, our office gets to serve great women and incredible congregations who are impacting their communities with the Gospel.