Monday, October 4, 2010

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Chapter 4 Discussion

By Stephanie from Offering Hospitality and Stephanie's Mommy Brain.

It's easy for us to agree that a church needs a women's ministry. It's also easy to agree that Jesus Christ is the motivation for our women's ministry. But then things start to get a little fuzzy.

Duncan and Hunt help clarify and guide our efforts to minister to women by naming five foundational principles for an organized women's ministry (and any ministry for that matter): The Gospel, Truth, Sound Doctrine, Discipleship, and Covenant.

Today I am going to focus on Truth and Discipleship as those two resonate with me most. Not that the others aren't necessary, I just don't have much to say about them {smile}.

The truth about womanhood has been culturally conditioned. At a conference a young college woman asked, 'How can I think biblically about womanhood when I am constantly told to pursue my own dreams, to be true to myself, and to seek my own fulfillment? (page 59)

This quote echoes my heart's cry. Where is Truth in the messages I hear about being a woman? Messages that tell me I should be a "strong woman." Or that I am "sacrificing" by being a stay at home mom. Or that I have to take care of myself first or I won't have anything left to give my family.

Only in a truth-based church will you hear "we exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope." (Romans 5:2b-5 NASB)

Or "if anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24 NASB)

Deny myself. Exult in tribulations. It's difficult to reconcile those two statements with the "be all, do all, have it all" of our culture's vision of womanhood.

But it's truth. Truth you can build your life on. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock. A women's ministry helps women build their lives and we all want our lives built on truth. Because without truth you are building on sand. And we all know what happened when the foolish man built his house on the sand.

Hearing truth at church is one thing. Seeing it lived out in the lives of other women is something altogether different. This is where the discipleship of Titus 2 comes into play.

As women, we are relational and we learn best through our relationships. Especially relationships that allow us to observe and participate in everyday life. What better way is there to teach the concept that children are a blessing from God than for a young woman to develop a relationship with a mom who lives out that principle?

Unfortunately the relationships of Titus 2, without the truth and sound doctrine, often become the focus of a women's ministry. Duncan and Hunt warn that "if we overemphasize content, the ministry will be academic. If the emphasis is only relational, the ministry will be anemic." (page 60)

That's why a women's ministry needs all 5 principles to be healthy. The Gospel, The Truth, Sound Doctrine, Discipleship and Covenant all balance each other. Focusing a little too much on one and not enough on another can disable or even cripple a women's ministry.

Does your church have a women's ministry? If so, is it built on these 5 principles?

4 comments:

  1. AMEN to this!

    Our church does have a women's ministry (in the form of women's Bible studies) but, being at the stage of the game (i.e., little kids) I'm in not sure how they go over. I can clearly see that things organized BY the women at the church (i.e., events and potlucks) are executed beautifully and that makes me excited and happy. People take their responsibilities at church seriously.

    I'd like to check out the Bible study, but right now that would involve finding a sitter which doesn't really work for me. So....I'm watching and learning as I go.

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  2. Carrie, having small children AND homeschooling means I have the same childcare issues. If it's during the day then I have 4 kids to bring with me. But I'm not a fan of routine night activities because it means I leave my husband and kids at home. I'm not sure what the solution is.

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  3. Our church has a wonderful women's ministry! We have monthly "Titus-Two" meetings on Saturday mornings. Women's bible studies tuesdays at 1pm with childcare for infants/toddlers and a CEF Goodnews Club for older homeschooled kids. Other than the occational baby/bridal shower there is no weeknight women's classes. All our classes are scripturally focused and provide many decipleship opportunities. I ♥ my church!!!

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  4. "Deny myself. Exult in tribulations. It's difficult to reconcile those two statements with the "be all, do all, have it all" of our culture's vision of womanhood.

    But it's truth. Truth you can build your life on."

    Amen and amen!

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