Recently I have read so many words on women’s ministry telling me of the latest event to run or the best speaker to have. I’ve read words that offer advice, words telling me what women’s ministry is and what it isn’t, words that enthuse, and words that leave me cold and feeling I haven’t quite got it right!
Sadly, all too often the word on women’s ministry gets a poor press. Some prefer to have little to do with it, while others embrace the opportunity to have fellowship and reach out to others to draw them to Christ. Perhaps, at times, it’s good to stop and read some words filled with power and purpose, words that are Holy Spirit filled and have life-giving, long-lasting quality for our lives. We need to remind ourselves of God’s words and His perspective.
The Apostle Paul writing in his first letter to the Thessalonians (2:8) says, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”
Have you ever noticed how women tend to cluster together? How they congregate in the church foyer, how they organise their diaries with coffee dates and retreats and days out. It seems a natural instinct to do life together, to learn from each other and encourage each other. Paul the apostle built on this idea in his instruction to his friend Titus, who was pastoring the church in Crete.
Paul writes, “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God (Titus 2: 3-5).
Paul carefully instructed Titus to teach the older women so that they in turn could teach and mentor the younger women. From the early years of the church, women ministering to women was in the plan. Titus was to be actively involved in teaching, encouraging and instructing the godly older women so that they would be equipped for the task of leading the younger women.
It is so good to be reminded that God’s plan for women is to know that they are valued and that their identity in Christ has real purpose and His mission at its core. Women’s ministry was part of God’s plan for Titus in the early church in Crete and it is still part of God’s plan to build His church in PCI today.
If we are honest, many of us have benefited in some way from other women reaching into our lives, women who have prayed for us, women who have advised us and guided in difficult decisions, some who have opened the Word of God to us and taught us, others who have challenged us.
Sometimes I hear worried words that suggest women’s ministry is fading, but I don’t believe that. I believe that women’s ministry has been with us for a long time and is here to stay, simply because it is part of God’s idea for the growth and nurture of His church.
As we think of the different expressions of women’s ministry within PCI I think it’s fair to say that it is alive and active, with many ‘Titus’ women thinking of creative ways to reach other women for Christ.
Let’s pray that women across our congregations and beyond will know Christ’s real purpose for their lives and be passionate about being ‘Titus’ women.
Pauline Kennedy is Women's Ministry & PW Development Officer. She is responsible for supporting the ministry of Presbyterian Women, as well as assisting in the development of strategy and coordination of women’s ministry in general.
Presbyterian Women is holding its Annual Meetings next Thursday, 4th May 2017. All women are welcome to attend the meeting at 2pm and the Evening Celebration at 7.30pm. Both events are free and require no registration.