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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Upcoming course: Great Women of the Faith

Ladies, don’t miss an exciting opportunity to learn about great women of Christianity. The course can be taken for credit or you may enjoy it as an audit student. It is being offered at Heritage College and Seminary in Cambridge, Ontario on May 7-10 from 9am-4pm.

Great Women of the Faith with Dr. Michael Haykin & Dr. Linda Reed.

“Women have played significant roles in church history. Church history scholar, Dr. Michael Haykin, along with Dr. Linda Reed, will present for the first time at Heritage a survey of the story of the impact of these women from biblical times to the revivals of the 18th century and the missionary movement that followed.  Join us as we look at such remarkable Christians as Perpetua and Macrina, Queen Jane Grey and Phillis Wheatley, and Amy Carmichael and Elisabeth Elliot: ‘Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith’ (Heb 13:7b).”

For more information click here.

The Bestselling Christian Books of 2017

What books are being read by the women in our churches? Check out Tim Challies’ “A Guided Tour to 2017’s Bestselling Christian Books.” Tim has a very discerning mind and love for God’s truth. Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Readers bear the responsibility of ensuring that what they read is consistent with the Bible. The fact that a book is published under a Christian label and sold in a Christian bookstore has absolutely no bearing on whether it is filled with truth or stuffed full of error. At a time where truth is easier than ever to access and book reviews abound, there’s no reason to be taken in by the junk.”

Check out many other theologically sound resources and reviews at his blog, Challies.com

 

How to (Consistently) Get More of God’s Word in 2018

Check out this excellent article by Dorothy Kelley Patterson on cultivating spiritual disciplines that you can maintain beyond January. She offers six practical ways to develop patterns that will help you consistently enjoy the Bible:

  • Choose a time
  • Determine a plan
  • Meditate as you read
  • Memorize Scripture
  • Pray fervently and specifically
  • Write on your heart

Read the full article here. This and numerous other helpful resources are available at BiblicalWoman.com, a ministry of Southwestern Seminary’s Women’s Programs.

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.

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