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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Why Do the Hard Work of Exposition?

HelpMeTeachtheBible

“Your story and my story might have the power to amuse someone or impress someone, even inspire someone. But let me tell you, only God’s story centered in the person and work of Christ has the power to make dead people alive…

That’s why Him we proclaim, we proclaim Christ and not ourselves…

We’re not out to make friends or fans for ourselves. We’re out to reconcile people to God. That’s why we do the work of exposition. We start with the Scriptures, we’re doing the work to figure out what they have to say, what the main point or implication is first. Then we’re figuring out what story will help to open up the hearts and minds of women to see their need for, and to be open to, accepting the implication of this passage for their lives. That’s how we want to use story.”

Nancy Guthrie challenges women Bible teachers and writers to do the hard work of exposition to make the mystery of Christ known. This is a must listen for all women Bible teachers and writers! Thank-you Nancy for your work to the glory of Christ!

Listen to her podcast on  here.

Discipling Young Women (Part 1): Biblical Rationale

Scripture offers numerous reasons to focus on the discipleship of young women. This discussion will consider four major aspects of this biblical mandate. First, Jesus gave the Great Commission so that his followers would make and develop disciples. Second, the example of Jesus and other New Testament writers demonstrated the importance of teaching adults. Third, Paul specifically addressed the need to disciple young women in the season of marriage, parenting, and homemaking. Fourth, sin distorted the blessing of childbearing and relationships for women, and made this season of life painful and challenging. Continue reading

Can Women Lead and Teach in the Church? (Part 7)

BIBLICAL FOUNDATION: Romans 16:1-2

Was Phoebe a Deacon? This is the final passage that will be considered in regard to the role of women in leadership and teaching. “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well” (Rom. 16:1-2). Continue reading

Can Women Lead and Teach in the Church? (Part 3)

BIBLICAL FOUNDATION: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16

Should women wear head coverings in corporate worship? When it comes to the discussion on the role of women in ministry and leadership, scholars have engaged considerably on this topic in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. Johnson suggests there are 22 debatable issues[1] in this text and argues that the women’s movement over the last century has impacted the biblical interpretation and increased the dialogue surrounding it.[2] Continue reading