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Women of Bountiful Blessings and Abundant Opportunities

by Beth Wade

Today, we have a responsibility to create a life model that merges biblical principles with the reality of present cultural demands. Older women must encourage the Miriams, Deborahs, Esthers, Lydias and Pricillas. of the 21st century who were created “for such a time as this.” Women are now, and have been since Jesus lived on earth, actively in­volved in the Lord’s work. One great difference of this time seems to be that women in many families must earn money to help provide for basic needs.

 

I know new career opportunities in the church are opening con­stantly because they have opened for me. For 17 years my first priority was to be a supportive, loving wife and help rear our five children to love and serve God. During that time, I attended college classes as a hobby.

Since 1985, I have been employed full time on the staff of three different churches. In Fort Worth, I was coordinator of community services and was available for a limited number of hours of counseling. Those elders asked me to handle the benevolent needs of individuals and families in the community. During the three years I was there, the staff developed a Caring Center with a budget that grew from $89,000 annually to more than $400,000 annually.

I was the representative for the church at community meetings, the speaker who shared with area organizations our concern for those in need, a panelist on local television shows about helping the needy and the coordinator of more than 100 volunteers who served others through the center.

 

I worked with the deacons who were responsible for the benevo­lence ministry, attended ministry staff meetings and met with elders pe­riodically to be sure I was functioning as they wished. Right before I left Fort Worth, we established the first home for abused women and their children.

 

When I moved to Houston because my husband had accepted a new position, I was sure God could not provide another exciting oppor­tunity for me to work full time on another church staff, but, after two years of school counseling, he did! I heard Jesus say, “Oh, ye of little faith!” and I replied, “I believe, help thou my unbelief!” For two years I worked at one congregation as a Christian counselor, then I was approached by the elders at Memorial about the possibility of being a part of their staff. At each congregation I have been interviewed by the elders, hired by the elders and my work has been under the supervision of the elders. There have been no accusations of my usurping authority over any Christian man, but many men have chosen to ask my opinion on personal and/or group matters.

I truly believe that having a woman or women on a church staff is the best way to obey Titus 2:3-5 and also to respond obediently to Titus 3:9’s admonition to “shun foolish controversies.” On each staff, I have been able to teach women’s and children’s classes, teach seminars on family issues and do group, family and individual counseling. This could also be done as coaching in family life skills according to biblical principles.

As F. LaGard Smith stresses in Men of Strength for Women of God, I believe the Scriptures teach a principle of male spiritual leadership in public worship services that is evident from Genesis to Revelation. However, I also believe there is an undeniable principle of responsibil­ity for older women to teach younger women about love, family, pu­rity, sensible behavior, use of talents, homemaking, kindness and humble acceptance of position as planned by God and revealed in Scripture.

Women cannot do this from the pulpit and we no longer live in a society where the majority of women gather to cook, sew or even study together regularly. In order for us to do God’s will as He directs, we will have to develop situation-sensitive responses to needs as iden­tified in each congregation.

My opportunities in church work have included speaking alone or with my husband in the manner modeled by participant couples in the “Saving the American Family” seminars. Harold prays and leads in public. I participate in preparation, private prayer and discussions dur­ing classes and seminars. Sometimes churches that invite us to speak choose to separate_men and women. At one congregation, we spoke to separate groups for six consecutive Sunday evenings at their regular time of worship. One of the benefits of God’s plan for congregational autonomy is that each group of elders can decide how women will be trained.

 

Since we are living in a world where most females are being pre­pared for careers and where most will be employed at some stage of life, I ask you to consider this question: Should churches develop more paid positions for women?

Young women have a need to understand how they fit in with God’s plan for His church from age 10 to age 30, or even later if they are not married. Since the average age for marriage continues to climb, this can be a significant number of years. Because I see so many in counseling, I know our children need young women with a passionate love for the Lord to model Christianity in action. Can congregations use godly young college graduates as assistants or staff associates spe­cifically charged with the responsibility to teach even younger fe­males?

At the present time, women are working in the following careers: community outreach coordinators, counselors, professors in Christian colleges, secretaries, social workers for benevolent services, transla­tors, Christian school administrators, curriculum writers, custodial service providers, women’s chaplains, authors of Christian books, day care providers, children’s Bible class coordinators and as full-time missionaries.

 

Christian university staff members should consider developing a degree plan designed for young women planning to work as church employees and a graduate degree plan for empty-nest women planning to work as Christian Life Coaches or Family Life Consultants on church staffs.

Life experience coupled with biblically-based training would pro­vide the blend of skills to develop a pool of wise women our younger women would respect and listen to. It is time to brainstorm ways to use the full potential of our multi-talented women in non-controversial, acceptable careers in the church!

Women of God must find a way to effectively help others who are bearing heavy burdens. We need to respond as Jesus would if he were on earth today. Consider Matthew 5-7. The Word teaches us to func­tion as a family that takes care of each member.

Our Lord said, “By this will all men know that you are my disci­ples, if you have love one for another” (John 13:35).

Lydia was a business woman. The worthy woman bought and sold fields. We can innovatively devise acceptable ways to obey God’s will while maintaining public worship services that glorify him in a spirit of harmonious unity. We can humble ourselves and accept God’s plan for male leadership in the public congregational activity of worship. We can choose to live as His people and go about doing good to His glory. BUT–we cannot choose to neglect using our talents for Him!

As a member of several community organizations that do good works, I know that giving God the glory is not the primary considera­tion for all who do good works. The older I get, the more my desire is for every word and action to be specifically directed to His glory. Many women are so well equipped to serve. With enterprising spirits, outstanding leadership abilities and the cooperative efforts of all ages women can be a powerful force for good throughout the nation and the world. I encourage the use of every creative thought process to de­velop new, exciting and spiritually acceptable ways for us, as a huge family, to bring great honor to our Father who created us and to our older Brother who redeemed us. Let’s go forward in the 21st century with com­mitment to proactive productivity. As God’s chosen ambassadors, we–women of bountiful blessings and abundant opportunities–can tell the story of Jesus to a world society that needs our Savior.

— From March 1996 Christian Chronicle by permission. Copy­right 1996.




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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10