Wednesday 10 June 2015

Training women in our churches

It was a real pleasure to hear about the women’s ministry at Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh during a recent FIEC Pastors’ Network Conference. Part of that ministry involves a rich training course I’d love to see adapted and imitated in many more churches. I asked the Women’s Ministry Coordinator, Rachel Sloan to explain how the course started, what it looks like and what resources she makes use of:

The Women's Ministry Training Group arose out of seeing the need to train and equip women to grow and develop the gifts and abilities God has given them for service.  Christian women have a vital role to play in the local church.  When we are welcomed into God's family he gives his gifts to us to point others to Jesus.  But, sometimes, it can feel hard to use those gifts.  We don't always feel equipped to tell others about Jesus or to encourage one other to keep going in our faith.  The aim of this group was to give confidence to those considering how to serve for the first time and to encourage and further equip those already serving.  

We started back in June 2014 and have completed 10 sessions over the past year.  The group initially included younger women who showed leadership potential and a few who were serving but would benefit from being better equipped.  One thing that has stood out from the group is that in church life we can often give roles to individuals who are keen and show leadership gifts without ensuring they have the necessary skills to lead.  One real benefit of the group has been to equip these women with skills they need to lead with confidence.  

Outline of the Women in Ministry Training Course (adapted from the Women's Ministry Course)

1. Women’s Ministry: What is women’s ministry and why do we need it?
2. Understanding the Bible: How do we understanding the Bible? What basics should we all know about the Bible?
3. Sharing the Bible: What are the different ways we can share the Bible with others? How do you prep a Bible talk? How do you lead a bible study?
4. One-to-one discipleship: What is one-to-one discipleship? Why should we do it? What are the essential elements?
5. Women and evangelism: How do I share the gospel? How do I create opportunities?
6. Pastoral Care: What is Pastoral care? What are the tools for pastoral care?
7. Pastoral Care - Mental Health: Different conditions. How to support those with depression, self-harm and eating disorders
8. Pastoral Care - Sexuality: Why do we need to talk about this? What does the Bible say about sexuality? What are the struggles women can face?
9. Supporting those who are married: What is God’s pattern for marriage? What are the challenges of marriage?
10. Supporting singles: What does the Bible teach about singleness? How can we celebrate singleness? The challenges of singleness. Godly dating, welcoming the divorced, valuing widows.

Further Resources

• How to Read the Bible for all it’s Worth - Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart
• Dig Deeper: Tools to unearth the Bible's treasure - Nigel Beynon & Andrew Sach
• Everything you want to know about the Bible - Peter Downey and Ben Shaw
• God’s Big Picture - Vaughan Roberts
• Jesus Storybook Bible - Sally Lloyd-Jones
• Leading better Bible Studies: Karen and Rod Morris
• Iron Sharpens Iron: Orlando Saer
• Expositional Preaching: David Helm
• One-to-one: Sophie De Witt
• One-to-one Bible Reading: David Helm
• How People Change: Timothy S Lane and Paul David Tripp
• Everyday Church - Tim Chester
• Questioning Evangelism - Randy Newman
• Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands - Paul Tripp
• Relationships: A mess worth making - Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp
• CCEF books in general -
• Walking with God through pain and suffering - Timothy Keller
• Depression: Looking up from the stubborn darkness - Edward Welch
• I’m not supposed to feel like this - Chris Williams
• A Thorn in my Mind - Cathy Wield
• Shame Interrupted - Edward Welch
• A New Name - Emma Scrivener
• Helping women escape the fantasy trap - Helen Throne
• Is God anti-gay? - Sam Allberry
• The Plausibility Problem - Ed Shaw
• Captured by a Better Vision - Tim Chester
• Sex is not the problem (lust is) - Joshua Harris
• Pure - Linda Marshall
• Loving my (LBGT) neighbour - Glenn Stanton
• Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change - Winston Smith
• The Meaning of Marriage - Timothy Keller
• When your husband is addicted to porn - Vicki Tiede
• Sexual Detox: A guide for guys who are sick of porn - Tim Challies
• What did you expect - Paul David Tripp
• “God’s Design For Women” by Sharon James has chapters on singleness, marriage & motherhood.
• “Just The Two Of Us” by Eleanor Margesson & Sue McGowan – a Christian take on infertility from two couples who have experienced it in different ways.
• “I’ll Hold You In Heaven” by Jack Halford – a book for people who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion.
• The Miscarriage Association has excellent resources for those who have experienced a miscarriage.
• - An excellent article in the Christian Post about miscarriages and hope.
• “God’s Design For Women” by Sharon James
• Disciplines of a Godly Woman - Barbara Hughes
• The Heart of Singleness - Andrea Trevenna
• Redeeming Singleness - Barry Danylak

For more information and ideas you can check out their website and blog dedicated to the ministry among women at the church: