Women Reaching Women as the Global Church Grows
“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” We probably all recognize the words from Ruth to her mother-in-law, Naomi (Ruth 1:16 NIV). How amazing it is to realize that the bond between Naomi and Ruth played a role in the lineage of Jesus! The relationship between these two women paints a beautiful picture of how God knits women together for His purposes.
As the global Church grows, so does the opportunity for women to reach other women with the Gospel. Just as God commanded in Titus 2, women-to-women ministry is taking place in incredible ways throughout the world. We recently sat down with some faithful women to hear more about their women-focused ministries. They shared amazing stories of how God has not only allowed them to impact women cross-culturally, but now those women carry the torch in reaching others in their own communities and cultures. For this month’s Prayer Focus, we invite you to pray for women-focused ministries in these four ways:
1. PRAY for relationship-building among believers and unbelievers.
The most common theme that arose from the women we spoke with was the value of building organic friendships with other believers as well as with unbelievers. As women get to know one another, trust develops. Then spiritual conversations and discipleship occur naturally. In many cases, these new relationships form with neighbors. Another avenue for women in ministry is befriending the moms of their children’s friends.
One example is Aileen who serves along with her family as a part of TEAM Japan. Aileen teaches two Bible studies in her home each week. Both groups consist of Christians who want to know more about the Bible. These women can then in turn build discipleship relationships with other women in their sphere of influence.
Aileen is intentional about friendships with non-believers as well. “I hold a ‘Mommy and Me’ group twice a month,” says Aileen. The women bring their preschool children to play together while the moms fellowship. “Most [of these women] have never been in a church and probably wouldn’t normally go,” Aileen shares. “But they know I am a Christian and I talk about Easter and Christmas and what the real stories are. Then when our church holds outreach events, I can invite them and they respond well because they know [me.]”
Regardless of the way Christian women cross paths with other women, we can pray for sincere, caring relationships that naturally lead to deeper spiritual conversations and opportunities.
2. PRAY for God to raise up programs and projects that meet tangible needs of women which then lead to Gospel opportunities.
Many of the women in TEAM global ministries engage in creative programs that meet specific needs of the women they serve. These include literacy programs, micro-enterprise projects like sewing, medical services like midwifery, and teaching English classes for women with a desire to learn the language. These types of initiatives help Christian women to engage with women they might not otherwise meet. Workers build trust as they demonstrate tangible help and support.
Meg (name changed) serves displaced Muslim populations as a part of her work with TEAM France. During her time in this ministry, the Lord has raised up various needs in the community for Meg and others on her team to address. Recently, for example, Meg’s team learned that local high school students needed English tutoring to help them get into university. “Through our church, we organized English lessons on Sunday afternoons,” says Meg. One Sunday, a young lady came for her lesson and heard Christians singing worship songs in Arabic in a nearby room. “She was so intrigued,” shares Meg. “She came over and joined us. During our time in prayer, she was moved to tears and she asked my teammate to step out with her so could process. We are now praying for the Holy Spirit to continue to pursue her.”
TEAM is blessed to have a hand in many programs that meet physical, tangible needs of women while also opening doors for evangelism at the same time. A number of these initiatives exist in high-security areas where details can’t be shared publicly but God is at work in mighty ways. Your prayers are coveted for our sisters in Christ, both workers and national believers, who minister to women every day in some of the darkest corners of the world.
3. PRAY for women to understand their value in Christ.
In many parts of the world, women have little value within their culture. They rank far below men in perceived worth and importance. Some cultures even view women as less important than livestock! As a result, generations of young girls grow up believing that their only purpose is to produce (male) children. They see themselves as largely insignificant to the world around them. These women need to know that not only are they highly valued by God, but they have an invitation to become His daughters!
Mollie, a part of TEAM Chad, sees this need on a daily basis. “We live in a 99% Muslim community in which the majority of the population is very poor,” says Mollie. “[Women’s] primary value to society is to birth children for their husbands’ honor. Can you imagine the shame for the unmarried or sterile woman? These women are often considered cursed or sinners.” God has opened doors of opportunity for Mollie to pour into many women over the years at various seasons of their lives.
One example is an older friend Mollie affectionately calls “Lime Lady.” For many years, Mollie shared the love of Jesus with her, and eventually the Gospel message. Lime Lady listened, but as far as Mollie knows, she had not expressed a profession of faith before her death. “Only God knows where her spirit rests,” says Mollie. “I pray that somehow in her final moments she called on the name of Jesus.”
As Mollie ministers to women, she says, “My hope is that they will come to know they are loved and valued by God…and I pray. Prayer is where the battle is fought, and I hunger for these women whom I love to live in freedom and abundance through Christ.”
4. PRAY for “intracultural reach” as believers in the global Church seek to impact their own community and culture.
A beautiful shift is occurring in international missions where the role of western missionaries increasingly changes to one of partnership rather than leadership in the global Church. As more and more of the world becomes closed to traditional missions, national churches and believers must rise to the challenge of reaching their own communities with the Gospel. Women around the world are answering this call!
Diane is no stranger to women-focused ministry, having served with TEAM in Papua, Indonesia for nearly 40 years. Diane and her Papuan co-workers host women’s groups and women’s Bible studies that have had up to 1,300 women in attendance! (All at once!)
During those four decades, Diane has seen a beautiful transformation take place. Ministry to women once consisted mostly of western missionaries evangelizing, teaching, and discipling national women. But as time marches on, two things happen. First, God gives those women the passion and calling to go out into the villages to share the Good News with other national women. And secondly, women begin to train their own daughters up in the faith, enabling them to reach future generations!
Diane sums it up best: “God has taken the quiet-hearted women of Papua, opened their hearts to His love and forgiveness and transformed them into beacons of light for all walks of life.”
It’s so exciting to think that the Great Commission is being fulfilled as we speak and women from many nations play a vital role in the Gospel being taken to every tribe and tongue! Pray for this multiplicity of discipleship to grow exponentially as we await Christ’s return!
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