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Mar
20

The HOW will vary

I remember well the phone call.

“I am Pastor _____ and I have a question for you. One of the women in our church talked with me recently and she insists we have a ministry just for women. And I don’t get it. Can’t women just join in with the rest of us as we Encourage, Edify and Evangelize?”

We exchanged perspectives and agreed on key issues. Yet I could see he held his position strongly. I asked how he viewed the Titus 2:3-5 text (see last blog Impact on a Decadent Culture).

After a second sip of water and a telegram prayer, I asked, “As pastor of your local church, how are you following Paul’s words to Titus? What are you doing to provide opportunity and enhance the effectiveness of older women ministering to younger women?” Silence followed.

Then a change in tone emerged. I believe our key difference was the how.

The perspective on how this plays out in a given church environment certainly varies. Cultural and generational changes undoubtedly play into these variations. Yet the biblical intention is clear.

What follows is a recent sampling of 4 churches to stimulate further conversation on the how.

 

The Summit Church offers a full-time position for a “Director of Women’s Discipleship.” A sampling of Responsibilities includes:

  • Develop a reproducing discipleship culture among women through the small group ministry
  • Oversee current female small group coaches and leaders; identify and recruit small group leaders.
  • Contribute to small group curriculum and other equipping initiatives
  • Develop and support larger scale women’s volunteer led initiatives (e.g. trainings, prayer gatherings, retreats and conferences).

She should have a strong history of disciple-making and a passion to see women developed and released to lead in the church.

 

Santa Barbara Community Church, in addition to women’s Bible Studies, Mentoring, Mom’s Groups and Hospitality ministry, offers StoryNights. These give women the opportunity to share their life story for the purpose of influencing each other in their life journey with God. What does God look like in the life of a woman? What difference does knowing Jesus Christ make in the life of a women—single, married, divorced, widowed, working, at home, etc.? Women who don’t know Jesus personally get a first-hand look at a godly woman.

 

Salem Heights Church’s ministry for women is laid out in a 5 year plan and is called “Women’s Discipleship.” It looks like this:

Year 1 – John

Establishes roots based on the truths of who Jesus is and understanding what it means to believe in Him.

Year 2 – Galatians

Provides a foundation for growth by gaining an understanding of the freedom we have in Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Year 3 – James

Experience the pruning and maturing that comes as a result of studying what genuine faith looks like in the life of a believer.

After completing the Year 3, there are several options for women to branch out beyond discipleship. Women may consider joining the One Sent Ministry (1 Sent) whose goal is to teach and disciple believers to share their faith in our community by identifying hurting people and aiding them in their daily lives with the goal of sharing Christ’s love and the message of eternal life.  Shepherding Women in Pain training is included in this last segment. And there are additional gatherings for the women that supplement this core intentionality.

Year 4 – Reflections of a Godly woman

Flourish through the study and application of the characteristics of a godly woman by studying the principles in Titus 2 and women in the Bible

Year 5 – To Know His Name

Be built up by experiencing God more intimately through a deeper study of His names as they are revealed in scripture, This study gives women the opportunity to further their biblical study skills and share what they have learned with their group.

 

Imago Dei Community includes “Women’s Formation” as a core of their ministry specifically for women, with this description, “Women’s Formation refers to the purposeful processes by which women discover and develop their identity in Christ. Its aim…is to empower women to recognize, cultivate and share their God-given gifts with each other, with Imago Dei, with Portland, and the world.” A Pastor of Women’s Formation oversees the variety of venues in which this is realized.

 

YES, Pastor! Certainly women join “with the rest of us as we Encourage, Edify and Evangelize.” It is simply the how that plays out that may vary.

The underlying question the Titus’ text triggers, remains, “Teach the older women….so they can train the younger women…” (Remembering every woman is older and younger than someone.) “What can we do to increase opportunity and enhance the effectiveness of older women ministering to younger women?” 

We’d love to hear how you are doing this in your church.

About Bev Hislop

Dr. Bev Hislop is currently Professor of Pastoral Care at Western Seminary, developing and teaching pastoral care to women courses. She also served as the Executive Director of the Women’s Center for Ministry at Western. She authored Shepherding Women in Pain and Shepherding a Woman’s Heart, Moody Publishers. Bev has established and led ministries for women in churches and communities on the west and east coasts of the U.S. and overseas. She has a passion for more effective shepherding in church and parachurch environments.