There are many ways in which we can be ministered to, and minister to one another, in our journey of faith as Christian women. From September 2019 the Council for Congregational Life and Witness has been raising awareness of the potential of a relational approach to women’s ministry, getting alongside one another in twos and threes for prayer, discipleship, pastoral care, intergenerational ministry or outreach. There are as many ways of doing this as there are individuals, settings inside and outside church and life circumstances. This webpage offers an introduction to the vision and suggests some resources that may be of help.
Women’s ministry is something we do alongside one another in our congregations so that we can grow together in following Jesus. Side by side, we find support, challenge and encouragement through relationships that go deeper than small talk. In a meeting of hearts and minds, we share life together and find ourselves better able to know life in Christ.
Paul urges us as Christians ‘to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…’ (1 Thessalonians 5.9-11).
Paul longed that each member of the body of Christ in Thessalonica (no matter what age or stage of life) would be active in building others up and showing real love as they walked the path of faith. This wasn’t something they were to do for a while and then stop, it wasn’t a one-off ministry event or theme for the year. This was to be a way of life and they, ordinary people like you and me, were to keep on doing it, more and more.
‘If you feel quite weak and ordinary – if you feel like a mess but have the Spirit –
you have the right credentials. You are one of the ordinary people God uses to help others.’
Side by Side, Ed Welch (Crossway)
Through Side by Side, we have the opportunity to explore how we can be women who build each other up, finding fresh ways to walk and grow in faith together.
Ordering Side by Side
You can download a PDF copy of our Side by Side resource from the download section on this page. To order printed copies of the resource, please contact the Presbyterian Women office with your details firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastoral conversations: downloadable Bible prompts for pastoral care
Proximity: relevant and challenging content for the context of relational discipleship
Prayer partnerships: Let’s Pray | ASK prayer cards | Prayer Journey
The Word 121: designed to share the Bible with those who aren’t yet Christians
Community Bible Experience: a new way to talk about the Bible with others
One-to-one by Sophie De Witt (Authentic)
Dig Deeper by Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach (IVP)
Side by Side by Edward T Welch (Crossway)
Women of the Word by Jen Wilken (Crossway)
One2One: Real Women by Sarah Bradley (The Good Book Company)
One2One: 24 studies for Bible reading partnerships by Andrew Cornes (The Good Book Company)
5 Things to Pray (The Good Book Company)
Alongside these resources, you can download a book list (above right) designed to help you go deeper in your approach to side by side relationships.
In signposting these resources, the Council for Congregational Life and Witness is not necessarily endorsing all of the ideas or views expressed within.
Side by Side Stories
Side by Side’s podcasts will feature the women who have been involved with the events taking place in churches in Autumn 2019. These will be uploaded weekly when available.
Pauline McNeely (member of the Women’s Ministry Panel) leads a study of 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (0.00-18.52);
Pauline Kennedy (Women’s Ministry and PW Development Officer) presents the vision of Side by Side (19.20-37.18);
Helen Hooks (member of the PCI Youth Assembly) reflects on the importance of intergenerational relationships (37.35-47.00);
Eleanor Drysdale (Deaconess in Wellington Presbyterian, Ballymena) shares practical experiences of developing a variety of side by side relationships within a congregation (47.25-57.56).