Words by Justin Hunter | Image by Al Blanton
“God Almighty declares the word of the Gospel with power,and the warring women of Zion deliver its message…” (The Passion Translation, Psalm 68:11)
In the midst of the national discussion over women’s roles in the church and public ministry, there’s a company of women in Walker County who are proclaiming the Good News in the streets, in prisons, in homes, and over social media.
Thrive Walker County is a growing community of brilliant women of all ages and walks of life. They are unified, not along denominational lines, but out of deep love for both God and the region. “God loves Walker County” and these women are finding ways to partner with His heart.
Thrive is a modern-day reenactment of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in which she discovers the Christ and becomes an evangelist to her region. Her testimony and her voice changed the city in which she dwelled.
In a culture that often restricts the feminine voice, Thrive Walker County is pushing back against this narrative by giving women the platform and tools necessary to effectively communicate God’s word in order to encourage, support, and proclaim life in the region. The ministry of Jesus did not exclude women but included them in His story, from the womb to the empty tomb. Thrive is women empowering women to publish and declare the good news that God gives to them!
Thrive was born on May 13, 2019, out of a women’s Bible study hosted by Ellie Saul, the group’s founder. “We believe God has given us a strategy to proclaim life in Walker County, to fast dead things (meat) on Mondays, and pray with other women for life,” Ellie said. “The future of the county is in the womb today. The group has expanded their life prayer targets to include children in the foster care system, the lost, individuals struggling with addiction, and those dealing with suicidal thoughts.”
Burdened by the negative portrayal of Walker County, the women of Thrive have made it their mission to intentionally speak life over this area. The collective outlook of the county is in the words of the people or otherwise stated in the Proverbs 18:21, “Life and death are in the tongue.” They are challenging each other and those around them to think different about the county they live in.
Thrive utilizes social media platforms to reach the women of the county. Each week a different woman prepares a message and shares on Facebook. Individuals in need of prayer can request prayer 24/7 on their website and a woman from their team will pray for you! Thrive also hosts a weekly midnight prayer meeting on Mondays just to remind people that “God doesn’t sleep” and cares about their situation no matter the hour.
The women of Thrive have tapped into the rich spiritual heritage within the soil of Walker County. 78