When Jenn Avey studied mathematics at Grace College, she had no idea the journey God would take her on that would ultimately lead her to becoming the executive director for Charis Women. “Being willing and available to serve how God sees fit opens doors,” she said.
Jenn was saved at a young age and grew up in a godly home, but it was during college that her faith was solidified. “It was a real time of growth and maturity for me,” Jenn said. “I wrestled through different doubts and questions. Things needed to be refined in order to bear fruit.”
It was also during college that Jenn met her husband, Scott. They married, jumped into vocational ministry, and had three kids. When Scott felt called to be more intentional about his ministry role, they moved back to Winona Lake for him to attend Grace Seminary. Once again, God used the setting of Grace to invite Jenn into a deeper understanding of Himself.
“During that season I began to grapple with long-standing depression,” Jenn said. “I was intentional about figuring out what was going on, and I wrestled down things with the Lord.” Jenn spent several years working through things spiritually, physically, and emotionally before arriving in a place of healing and transformation in the Lord. “It was a long road of a lot of obedience in a lot of different areas in order to step into freedom.”
“My anthem has become, ‘In every season He is God and has been faithful.’ No matter how I’m acting or responding, God is still God. Every week, every day, that is my testimony,” Jenn said. “I know that’s also true of the organization I’m serving. Charis Women has sought the Lord and He has been faithful in every season.”
Jenn and Scott moved to Maryland, where Scott now serves at the lead pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Brunswick. While at a leadership summit, Jenn encountered Charis Women for the first time. “Chery Boehm, Charis Women board member at the time, essentially tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘I see something in you.’” Cherry connected Jenn with Viki Rife about helping the ministry with accounting and bookkeeping.
As Jenn got more connected with the women in the Fellowship, her involvement with Charis Women grew. When Chery stepped down from the board, Jenn was asked to fill the role of overseeing leadership and development, a role she served in for six years. On August 1, 2022, Jenn began serving as the executive director.
“My personal passion for ministry extends from experiences of seeing God work in the lives of women around me and wanting to participate more in that,” Jenn said. “Anytime you can connect something to Christ in any way — whether it’s community or Scriptures or prayer — you get to be part of someone’s ‘Aha!’ moment as they encounter Jesus. I want to be part of that for eternity.”
When asked about her goals and vision for her ministry with Charis Women, Jenn said, “I want to tap someone on the shoulder and say, ‘I see something in you’ that maybe they haven’t seen before, just like Chery did for me.” She desires that Charis Women be a true place of connection and resource for women in the Fellowship. She wants every woman to know when she faces something — a new leadership role, issues at home, ministry questions — she can turn to Charis Women for support, guidance, and encouragement from other women who have walked that same path.
“I got involved because someone saw something in me and seeds were planted,” Jenn said. “I got involved in a group of women that wanted to see me grow and develop. There’s something attractional that makes you want to keep stepping in. It’s one of the things I’m most looking forward to — giving people opportunities to step into things they maybe haven’t thought of before. Seeing what God can and will do when we are available — that’s the fun part of the journey.”
Since Jenn began serving as the executive director, Charis Woman has begun to serve and connect woman in new ways. In November they had their first-ever regional women’s conference, a long-standing dream of the organization. The conference was held at Grace Community Church in Goshen, Ind., and in March they hosted another conference at Gateway Church in Parkesburg, Pa. They also hosted two small networking brunches, one in southern California and one in central Ohio. Charis Women also launched a new leadership cohort with seven participants in its inaugural session who meet monthly for discussion, accountability, and prayer.
Connect with Jenn here.