Ministry Profile: Overview - Beauty for Ashes, South Africa
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Ministry Type: Conference Events
Ministry Website: www.BeautyforAshes.co.za
Ministry Motto: Real women Real lives Real faith
Mission Statement: “Beauty for Ashes is an interdenominational, faith-based, non-profit organization bringing encouragement and hope to women in southern Africa. We want women to know just how much God loves them and to leave our conferences feeling uplifted, encouraged and inspired, and able to grow in faith through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We do this by having “real women” share their stories, honestly and with humor, about how God helps them deal with “real” issues. We offer first-rate conferences and also resources, books and a dynamic website."
Ministry History: In 1996, asked by one denomination to start a women's conference, the first conference had 230 women attending from one denomination and one race. After 16 years and 26 conferences, 2,000 women attended 2010 conferences held in 2 cities.
Leadership Style: Team structure – 3 women, begun by one woman.
Funded: Ticket sales, Book sales %, Conference CD sales, Love offering
Challenge: Over the past 16 years, many challenges have been faced by the Beauty for Ashes leadership team. Key challenges were ...
- Funding after the denomination no longer funded.
- Reach out to women of all denominations and races instead of one denomination and one race.
- With a high percentage of rape victims in their country, they also needed a safe place for the women and older teens to grow in their faith and also bring their lost friends.
- Beauty for Ashes conferences also had a small pool of speakers to draw from for their conferences and workshops.
Response: Responses to the challenges faced were …
- They found ways to be self-sustaining. Understanding the budget of the women who come to the conference, they strategically set “door fees” or ticket prices to be affordable. They also receive a percentage of the book sales, profit from the sale of conference CD's and a love offering taken during the conference.
- The team of three women purposely went after women and older teens by inviting speakers and musicians from multiple races. Then all races became comfortable at the conference.
- Women felt safe in the environment created at the conferences, both for their safety and a “safe place” to share their pain, stress and joy. Christian women felt safe to bring their lost friends, which was important to the leadership team.
- After utilizing the speakers in South Africa, the team at first found a speaker from Kenya. They then began, by referrals, to bring speakers from the United States.
Results: After 16 years, the 2010 conference attendance was 2,000 women. The conference of both Christian and non-Christian, older teens and women is self-sustaining, interdenominational and multi-racial. With quality speakers from all over the world, the conference is well-known in South Africa for their excellence.
Lessons Learned: The leadership team has been together for years. A few lessons they learned are …
- Each leadership team member functions in their area of giftedness. They know their job and they just do it without the oversight of each other.
- The team operates out of a place of unity, integrity and trust. The team trusts each other to do their own jobs. Delegate it and forget it!
- Multiple meetings or wasted time reviewing each other's work is not necessary, but they do keep each other informed. With one meeting to set the theme for the conference, they mainly correspond by email and phone until closer to the conference when they will have meetings in person to finalize the details.
- There is no need for one person to get the glory. For example, they allow the team member gifted to be out front to be on stage, not necessarily because she is in charge of the conference, but because she is the best one for the job. The team gives all the glory to the Lord for the work He is doing through them in South Africa to reach their world for Christ. They don't even have titles!
- When asked by her denomination to start a women's conference, because she was doing women's events in her church, Aldyth Thomson said yes. She recruited help and has stayed the course through changes in the leadership team, denominational needs, funding sources, and racial divisions. Thousands have grown in their walk with the Lord and hundreds know Him as Savior!
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