By Sherye S. Green


Cultivate: A Women’s Gathering Around the World


This world in which we live is so hurried and harried. Even for women committed to faith in Jesus Christ, it is still incredibly challenging to keep the wheels on the vehicle of their life, while at the same time dodging pot holes, fighting off enemies that threaten both mind and spirit, managing busy schedules at home and in the marketplace, and trying to maintain sanity all at the same time. What’s a girl to do?


First Baptist Church Jackson (FBCJ) is hosting a women’s conference designed to refresh and rejuvenate the hearts of women. Cultivate: A Women’s Gathering Around the Word will be held on Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, in the sanctuary of FBCJ. Nationally acclaimed Bible teacher, author, singer, and songwriter Kelly Minter has designed a warm, inviting experience for women of all ages. Cultivate centers around four key components: Scripture, worship, prayer, and mission.


God, as He so often does as the Master Gardener of our lives, tills the soil of our hearts, planting seeds and fertilizing our spirits so that, in His perfect time, we can bear fruit that will bring honor and glory to His name. Years ago, He planted the seeds of ministry in the heart of Kasey Shackelford, who joined FBCJ when she was fifteen. Kasey now serves as the Women’s Mission and Ministry Director for the church.


While attending a women’s conference in November 2015, Kasey was reacquainted with her dear friend, Bethany Daniel Bordeaux, who had mentored her through the FBCJ high school youth group. The two had not seen each other in about ten years. “We had the most wonderful conversation about who God is and how He has been working in our lives over these past years.”


During their visit, Bethany told Kasey how the Lord had opened the door for her to be a personal assistant to Lifeway’s Bible study teacher, Kelly Minter. As the conversation continued, the two “began sharing about how we needed to have the Cultivate event come to Jackson. A few weeks later, the Lord flung the doors open and allowed us to say ‘yes’ to bringing the Cultivate event to FBCJ.”


Women who attend the conference will be blessed tremendously through the music prepared by worship leader Haley Fry. Bethany, a gifted musician in her own right, also serves as a member of the Cultivate Worship Trio. The group will feature music provided by Jonathan Noel on piano, Stephanie Leiweke on acoustic guitar, and Bethany on violin.


Kelly’s Bible studies have impacted the life of FBCJ member Rebecca Chaney in a powerful way. Serving as a small group leader with the church’s college ministry, Rebecca led her girls through a Kelly Minter study that Kasey had suggested, What Love Is, based on the New Testament books of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. Rebecca was delighted to find “a fresh perspective on learning about God’s love. The study was not only beautifully written with depth, love, and humor, but it was ordained for my life at that moment. This Cultivate event will be life changing, because I have experienced that myself.”


FBCJ’s mission is to “Multiply Disciples to Live Like Jesus.” Kasey believes Cultivate will facilitate such spiritual math, taking place in the lives of the women who attend “as we, together, read Scripture, worship, pray, and learn more about how to live life on mission.” She is excited about this special opportunity available to women all across the state of Mississippi, and beyond.


For women hungry for connection with “a Christ-centered community through a local body of believers,” this conference will be one you will not want to miss. Please join Kelly Minter and the other members of the Cultivate team for a faith-inspiring and life-enriching conference.


The Friday night session of Cultivate is from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday’s session begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 12:30 p.m. Tickets to the event are $35 and can be purchased at Students can purchase tickets for $25 and will need to bring a student I.D. to be presented at the door. For more information, you can call the church at 601.949.1900.