If you are involved in women’s ministry, I’m sure you are aware of the multitude of resources available to us for establishing and growing an effective program. However, I believe Scripture has more than sufficient wisdom on this topic and should be used as our starting point and foundation. Here are 16 biblical principles for the discipleship of women for your consideration:
1. A biblical approach to the discipleship of women should be gospel-centered and use the Bible as its primary text. (Luke 24:44-49, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Jesus taught that everything written in the Old Testament is fulfilled in him. The Bible also teaches that all of Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. God’s Word offers everything that is needed to disciple and minister to women. It must remain as the foundation for establishing and growing a healthy approach to every event, study, small group, or gathering. We must constantly teach and remind women of the gospel of Jesus Christ so we can live in the grace and identity of God’s salvation and eternal hope. Other books, DVDs, or curriculum packages should be secondary and only serve to complement using the Bible as our primary text.
2. A biblical approach to the discipleship of women should embrace prayer.(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Matthew 6:9-13)
The Bible teaches that it is God’s will that we pray without ceasing. Prayer is foundational for the discipleship of women. Jesus constantly used prayer throughout his ministry to commune with the Father and discern what he was to do, where he was to go, whom to heal, and what to teach. In the same way, a plan for women’s discipleship must prioritize prayer before creating a program, choosing a team, establishing a ministry, choosing a Bible study, or planning an event. At each gathering prayer must remain a priority, in order that we may know and do the will of the Father just as Jesus did. To this end, women must be taught how to pray as Jesus taught his disciples. We must mature beyond collecting requests and merely emphasizing one aspect of prayer, to embracing a much greater and more biblical understanding of the purpose and power of prayer in our lives.
3. A biblical approach to the discipleship of women should be rooted in The Greatest Commandments and the Great Commission. (Matthew 22:37-40, Matthew 28:16-20)
While all of Scripture is useful for teaching, Jesus gave instructions which are especially significant for making women disciples. An effective vision and strategy will teach women how to love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds, and also how to love our neighbours as ourselves. In addition, women must be instructed how to be disciples and embrace and apply the Scriptures to our own lives. We must also be equipped to become evangelists and disciple-makers, who can introduce others to the gospel and help them grow in their love and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
4. A biblical approach to the discipleship of women should have a clear mission and vision which directly supports the mission and vision of the local church. (Hebrews 13:17)
Pastors and elders have been appointed in the church to reflect God’s good design for authority and submission in the body of Christ. They are to lead, teach, and protect the church. Scripture teaches that we are to obey and submit to our leaders as they are watching over our souls and will give an account to God for those in their care. A plan for the discipleship of women needs concise mission and vision statements that clearly support and uphold the mission and vision set forth by the pastors and elders overseeing the local church.