Thursday, March 11, 2010

woman to woman (2) the purpose of women's ministry

Here's the next instalment from my article about women's ministry to women. Let's keep the conversation going! Have a read and tell me about the ministry of women to women in your church. Does it have a clear direction? Does it look like Titus 2:3-5? Why or why not?

Women's ministries often struggle with a lack of clear direction. Even in churches without an organized women's ministry, it can be hard for women to know how to encourage other women. What we need is a clear direction—a simple aim to keep in mind. Here's an excellent place to start:

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. (Titus 2:3-5)
These verses give shape and purpose to women's ministry, whether formal or informal. They give us a clear statement of purpose: older women are to teach and train young women how to live as Christian women.

Unless older women take responsibility for teaching young women, it probably won't happen. Paul encourages Titus to teach every group in the church—older men, young men, older women, slaves—every group except for young women! Teaching and training young women in godly womanhood is primarily the responsibility of older women, not the pastor or male elders of a church. It's vital that women and women's ministries don't lose sight of this goal.

Have a look around your church. Are older women teaching and training younger women? Are women being equipped and encouraged to mentor women? Are relationships flourishing between women of different ages? Sadly, these are the very things that aren't happening in many churches.

* Who are the ‘older women’? It's clear from 1 Timothy 5:1-16 that Paul probably had in mind women beyond child-bearing age. The reason the advice in Titus 2:3-5 for younger women focuses so strongly on married women with children is that the vast majority of young women in the first century would have been married, and Paul intended for this to be so (1 Tim 5:11-15). But Titus 2:3-5 is relevant to all women: we're all ‘older’ women in relation to women younger in age and the faith, and we all have a responsibility to teach and encourage them.

You can read the rest of the article at The Briefing.

image is from Davidoff at flickr

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