Who is Shepherding Your Women’s Ministry?

In many churches, the women’s ministry can seem to run like a well-managed resort. Special events feature a warm welcome, excellent cuisine, choice of activities, and even a small gift to take home!

There are very capable and creative women in leadership hosting Bible studies, mom’s groups, and retreats. Yet there is a troubling trend that has emerged in many local churches. Very often women’s ministries exist on their own islands, detached from the involvement of the shepherds of the church.

While taking an island vacation with your women’s ministry may sound fun at first, a commitment to living on that island can eventually be problematic.

Decisions are made in isolation for the island while not considering implications to the mainland. The people with the most charisma, not necessarily the most qualifications, rise to positions of influence. Existing as an independent island community can limit the available resources, skills, and protection from predators.

Is your women’s ministry operating like an independent island community?

In the evangelical church today, there seems to be an unfortunate disconnect between pastor / elder teams and the intentional discipleship of women. How did women’s ministry become its own entity?

Could it be that women’s ministries have become comfortable operating independently from church leadership?

Could it be that the shepherds of the church have rarely been invited to offer oversight, share wisdom, or provide theological knowledge?

By practically operating outside of pastor/elder involvement, women’s ministries may be limiting themselves and missing out on the richness of Christ’s plan for His church.

One way to begin building bridges is to prayerfully invite church leadership to invest in the older women in the congregation. Here are four benefits of inviting shepherds to oversee the discipleship of women by identifying and equipping older women.

Benefit #1: Scripture is Applied

The book of Titus is written to the leadership of the church to oversee the discipleship of its members. Titus was left in Crete to “set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city” (Titus 1:5). Women’s ministries can be encouraged that the pastors and elders of a local church are ultimately responsible for the discipleship of their entire congregation.

One of the clearest explanations in Scripture on ministry to women is for the older to disciple the younger. Paul exhorts Titus to oversee that older women are “teaching what is good so that they may encourage the young women” (Titus 2:3b-4a).

The first benefit of shepherds investing in older women is that Scripture would be faithfully applied. It is a biblical mandate for pastors and elders to identify and equip older women for the crucial task of teaching younger women. Women’s ministries can prayerfully seek ways to invite their shepherds to fulfill this mandate together.

Benefit #2: Sound Doctrine is Upheld

A second benefit of elders equipping older women to make disciples is that sound doctrine would be upheld. According to Titus 2:1, it is the responsibility of elders to oversee that the Bible is the standard for all that is accomplished in ministry to women.

Women must learn and embrace sound theology so that it permeates everything they do. It is imperative that women’s ministries continually invite pastors and elders to help older women understand the Bible and sound doctrine, so they will be better equipped to teach the next generation.

Benefit #3: Ministry is Multiplied

A third benefit of shepherds equipping older women is that the effectiveness of the entire church body would be multiplied. Ministry and discipleship efforts could be greatly enhanced if elders equipped older women to train and encourage younger women.

In addition, many women have personal and delicate situations that could best be addressed by a spiritually mature woman with more life experience. There are numerous scenarios of younger women in various degrees of crisis in which a trained older woman could support and assist.

Benefit #4: Christ is Glorified

The fourth and most important benefit of implementing principles of women’s discipleship from Titus 2 is that Jesus Christ would be exalted. Ultimately, Titus 2 is given so that the church would know how to grow in godliness to bring Christ glory and display His gospel to the world.

The instructions for discipleship in Titus are given, “that the word of God may not be reviled” and to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour” (Titus 2:5b10b). When the Bible is embraced and applied, it can be a powerful witness to the world.

Is your women’s ministry operating outside of the involvement of the church leadership God has appointed? It is never too late to start building bridges that will connect the island of women’s discipleship to the main land of the local church.

Please prayerfully consider the rich benefits of embracing Christ’s design for His church and invite your pastors and elders to invest in the older women. In doing so, Scripture will be applied, sound doctrine will be upheld, ministry will be multiplied, and Christ will be glorified.

*This post originally appeared on The Gospel Coalition Canada.

 

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4 Things I Have Learned in 10 Years of Marriage

A&A338*Originally published by The Gospel Coalition Canada.

If there was a romantic comedy about my life leading up to marriage it would be called “Christmas by Candlelight.” It would begin when I see a handsome stranger, and we lock eyes across the room of an Old Testament seminary class. It feels like love at first sight, and a friendship develops. But confusion ensues over six months until he finally makes his intentions known.This is followed by him cooking me an incredible meal as we clear up all of the miscommunication and laugh into the evening! We then fall in love surrounded by Christmas lights, and he later proposes in the budding spring gardens of a castle courtyard. The montage of our exquisite December wedding is set to the music of the live Motown band from our candlelit reception.

The final scenes of our wedding day set up the sequel of our “picture perfect” future: we would launch both of our successful careers, buy our forever family home, fill it with beautiful, compliant children, and make memories travelling the world together.

Just as it is rare to find a sequel as good as the original, the scenes after our wedding day have yet to play out in the “picture perfect” way I had imagined. Continue reading

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

Mary Kassian gives a helpful overview of the feminist movement and its impact on the evangelical church. We must be aware of both the positive and negative effects of the movement, and how feminism has influenced our thinking and practice. Mary reminds us to hold firm to God’s good and wise design for male and female according to Scripture. She will be teaching again this year at Revive ’17, Adorned: Women Mentoring Women The Titus 2 Way.

Shepherds and Sisters Interview: Courtney Reissig

courtney-reissigCourtney Reissig is a wife, mother, and writer. She has written for numerous Christian publications including the Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, and the Her.meneutics blog, and is also an assistant editor for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Courtney is the author of The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design and Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God. She also writes regularly at “In View of God’s Mercy”.

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Biblical Principles for the Discipleship of Women (Part 4 of 4)

13. A biblical approach to the discipleship of women should include an emphasis on service which will help women identify and use their gifts to serve the church. (Romans 12:2-8, 1 Corinthians 12, Philippians 2:1-11)

The Bible teaches that every believer has been given spiritual gifts for the building up of the body of Christ. Women should be trained to understand what the spiritual gifts are and which ones we may be uniquely blessed with. We must then help women develop their gifts and offer opportunities to use them to serve and support the mission of the local church.

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Biblical Principles for the Discipleship of Women (Part 2 of 4)

5. A biblical approach to the discipleship of women should include teaching on biblical manhood and womanhood. (Genesis 2:15-25, 1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:22-33)

In order to disciple women effectively, we must begin with God’s created design for men and women before the Fall. God entrusted man with creation to work and maintain it, and with the law to keep and to teach it. He then created woman to be a helpmate to support and assist man in his responsibilities. Scripture also teaches that the marriage relationship between husband and wife was originally designed to point to the relationship between Christ and his church. Women must be taught and equipped to know and live out our created design by God to be helpmates and pictures of the bride of Christ both in singleness and marriage.

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Biblical Principles for the Discipleship of Women (Part 1 of 4)

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.

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Is Homemaking a Valid Career Path?

Recently I had a conversation with a woman who has chosen homemaking as her primary career. Now that summer is over and her husband and children are back in school, she is left at home wondering if joy and fulfillment can be found among the long quiet hours that await her each day. Many women her age have successful careers in workplaces outside the home. Media and the surrounding culture suggest that women should enjoy the convenience and freedom of the single life. Alternatively, women can “have it all” if they so choose marriage, family, and an aspiring career, which also comes with high-achieving children, exotic vacations, and a white picket fence!

God’s Word teaches that young women are to value the call to marriage and motherhood. Even so, there are women everywhere who wonder how changing diapers and cleaning bathrooms can really be a fulfilling way to follow Christ. It seems the values of the surrounding culture have had a much greater impact than the truths in Scripture about God’s high calling and purpose for young women. Continue reading

Women in Ministry and Leadership

Heritage

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity be led by Dr. Margaret Kostenberger and Linda Reed at Heritage College and Seminary in Cambridge, Ontario.

Dr. Kostenberger is the author of Jesus and the Feminists: Who Do They Say That He Is? and co-author of God’s Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological SurveyLinda Reed is the Director of the Heritage Centre for Women in Ministry at Heritage College and Seminary. Linda has taught women’s Bible studies for over 25 years, and also enjoys writing Bible study curriculum.

Here is an overview of the course from the Heritage Centre for Women in Ministry: “The course will include an overview of the biblical teaching on man and woman, including the uniqueness of their roles in the home and church as well as an exploration of the practical components of being a Christian woman in ministry and leadership in today’s church. This course will also consider four essential components of ministry and leadership: call, character, craft and competencies. Various methods for leading will be explored, including large-group ministries and one-to-one mentoring, with examples provided from biblical, historical, and contemporary women in ministry and leadership.”

This course is offered over two weekends: September 23-24 and November 18-19, 2016. For more information, click here.