Lisa, thank you for joining us today to discuss Walking with Purpose’s beautiful “BLAZE” ministry. Please briefly introduce yourself and your role with the ministry.
Hi Lisa! My name is Lisa Brenninkmeyer and I am the founder and Chief Purpose Officer of Walking with Purpose, a Catholic ministry for women and girls.
How was BLAZE conceived and how is this a natural extension of the mission of Walking with Purpose?
I developed BLAZE at the prompting of my own daughter, Jane, who was in middle school at the time. She challenged me to consider writing something for girls her age that would meet them just where they are in their faith. Young girls today are understandably confused about their true worth and beauty. BLAZE was developed to counteract the cultural forces that drive girls to question their value, purpose, and faith. Like our studies for adult women, BLAZE makes the wisdom of the Bible relevant to today’s challenges and helps girls encounter Jesus Christ in a personal way. BLAZE teaches girls to recognize the difference between the loving, affirming voice of their heavenly Father and the voices that tell them they aren’t good enough.
Tell us a bit about the ideal ministry setting for BLAZE, as a resource for groups of girls.
One of the great things about BLAZE is how flexible it is! Women are leading BLAZE Core groups in schools, in parishes, as a part of a homeschool group, or in a small group in their homes. Groups vary in size from a few girls to an entire class. With the current challenges around meeting in person, many women are leading virtual BLAZE groups this fall.
Can the BLAZE products be used individually in a family or simply by a mother and daughter?
Yes! The BLAZE Core curriculum can also be used one on one with a special girl in your life. We also offer Between You and Me, a 40 day conversation guide developed especially for mothers and daughters. This guide gives a mother the words to open conversation with her daughter promoting dialogue between a mother and a daughter at a time that is often filled with conflict.
For a mom out there who might have the heart to bring this project to her community but feels uncertain about leading, what words of encouragement can you offer?
Just make a start! Don’t worry about starting the “perfect” group with the “right” number of girls, just gather your daughter and a few friends and begin. Please know that we are here to support you every step of the way. Walking with Purpose provides BLAZE leaders with training videos, promotional materials to help grow the program, sample parent communications, support for a virtual program, and many other valuable tools all accessible at no cost on our website. We also host a private Facebook group just for BLAZE leaders where women come together to share tips, lessons learned, questions, and challenges.Join @LisaHendey for a conversation with @walkingwpurpose founder Lisa Brenninkmeyer about the ministry's amazing new resource for middle school girls: BLAZE! Click To Tweet
Why is ministering to the hearts of girls so critical right now? How can BLAZE help combat some of the hot button issues for today’s youth, such as bullying, anxiety, tech addiction, or body image issues?
Our young people are critical to the future of our faith. We know that young people are not excluded from the epidemic of anxiety, loneliness, and isolation that is gripping American culture. Our young people, especially our girls, are struggling in so many ways. We know that the middle school years are a critical time in the crafting of a girl’s identity and in the development of a girl’s faith. In fact, by the age of 13 young people have decided whether or not they will continue in the Faith.
I wrote BLAZE in direct response to this crisis. BLAZE speaks truth into the hearts of girls about their true worth and beauty in a way that is engaging and meaningful to girls of this age. Through BLAZE, we provide the tools and the words to counter lies about a girl’s worth and identity with truth from Scripture and to encourage her in a personal relationship with Jesus.
What have you personally learned and how has your spiritual life been impacted by being involved with BLAZE?
My involvement with BLAZE has brought home for me how deeply girls of this age long for a personal relationship with Jesus and for the truths of the Bible. They have a real hunger for a framework by which to make sense of the world. They are asking the deeper questions, which I find really encouraging. Far from being satisfied by superficiality, they want to have meaningful conversations with their moms and women who meet them where they are, without judgment. I have been so encouraged spiritually because of the time I have spent with these girls. I’ve been able to witness their hearts softening and opening up, and it renews my faith in the fact that the Holy Spirit is still at work today. Cultural forces are working against what we’re trying to instill in our daughters, but God is breaking through those barriers. This ministry has renewed and strengthened my hope in the difference He makes.
What additional thoughts or comments would you like to share?
Especially since the nationwide pivot to distance learning began, millions of middle school girls have been spending their days in front of a computer. This increase in screen time has made it easy for girls to get distracted by social media and other online destinations where the truths of our Catholic faith are rarely found. I feel strongly that we need to alter this current reality for our girls. BLAZE was developed to do just that: to replace the lies of our culture with truths from Scripture, while also providing a fun, faith-based, hands-on learning environment that is engaging for girls of this age.
For More Information:
- Learn more or order BLAZE at the Walking with Purpose website
- BLAZE Middle School Ministry Resources
- Connect with Walking with Purpose on Facebook and Instagram