The Ministry of Women: Discipleship
Carrie, one of our ministry support workers for women's ministry, reflects on her time in ministry. She shares her heart and hope that women will continue to minister to one another with the word and also be equipped to handle the word.
Time flies by so quickly! End of 2023 will be the ninth year of my full-time ministry with GBC. This role has allowed me opportunities to know many people particularly sisters in church. Together with Bibianna, we try as best as we can to help build a culture of discipleship among the women in church.
Is it a biblical requirement to have a women’s ministry program? It is certainly not commanded in the Bible to organise small groups or Bible study groups and special gatherings just for women. However, it is helpful to have an organised and formal ministry among women where discipleship can take place. We are all called to discipleship as a believer (Matt 28:19-20). As a woman who knows Jesus, each of us is called to ministry among women, to disciple one another in different ways within a healthy church such as through the ministry and equipping of the word.
Ministry of the Word
In Titus 2:3-5, we read that “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” This command for older women to teach younger women “what is good” is in the context of living out the doctrines of the gospel as God’s people in a body.
Godly women are to live out God's truth and to teach these truths to one another. There are younger women who need the wisdom and experience of older women, that is, to learn about the mistakes, hear about the failures, and see how God works and moves. Even older women need to have a safe person who can help point them back to Jesus. This means time is needed for women to teach each other through learning and application of God’s word which can be done in the context of an organised women’s ministry, to be together to discuss the word of God together, ask questions, share insights, support one another in the faith.
Equipping of the Word
2 Timothy 3:16 informs us that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”. It is therefore imperative that women’s ministry be also about equipping women to study and pass on the Word from generation to generation. Receiving regular teaching of the word from elders, and instruction and encouragement from both men and women is crucial. Women’s ministry should seek to build up generations of women who study and pass on Scriptures, to “teach what is good” by passing on to other women not just practical principles but also the foundation of God’s word upon which these practical principles are built on. We are to be real-life role models of women whose lives are saturated in the word, who are being transformed to the image of Christ and God’s word is constantly on our lips.
This teaching can take place in Bible study groups (like our Wednesday Bible Study, Friday Ladies Bible Study, Mums Connect, Ladies Precept Class, YA small groups), mentoring relationships that are based on sharing God’s word, one-to-one Bible reading, when women speak God’s word to one another as they gather to pray, serve, grieve, minister and celebrate. I am thankful that some of our women in GBC are already doing this. Sisters, will you be among one of them today?
Nevertheless, whether with or without ministry staff and programs, we can still make the ministry of discipleship an ordinary reality among women in the church. Let’s consider the mindset of Christ in Philippians 2:4–5: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but alsoto the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant”. Discipleship flourishes as we look to the interests of other women with a Christ-like humility. Be genuinely curious about how the women are doing and whether they are relationally connected. Work with like-minded sisters to connect those who need discipling. Encourage women as you see them caring for others. Continue to help enlarge each other's vision to build lives through discipling relationships.
Ladies, we invite you to join us this Saturday, 18 November at 9.30am at our Women of Grace event on “Growing in the Gospel” which we hope that you can be encouraged and strengthened, be connected with other women and build discipling relationships. If you are unable too join us, or for the brothers who are reading this, continue to participate by praying for this event and for the many discipling relationships in GBC that it will be rooted in the word and bear much fruit!
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