Growing With Christians
As a Discipleship Pastor, one area of unique ministry within the care of my position is Women’s Ministry. I often joke with the women at Old Fort that this poses a unique challenge to me as I have never been a woman! I then reassure them that I am at least married to one of them and have spent a lifetime trying to figure them out.
Fortunate for me and others in a similar position, the Bible is clear to define parameters and direction for what it means to be a Godly woman. In Sunday School, we are studying the book of Ruth, which follows Proverbs 31 in the Hebrew Bible.
Proverbs 31:10 asks, “who can find a virtuous woman?” and finishes in verse 31 proclaiming “her deeds will praise her in the gates.” As one continues to read the Hebrew Bible, this description of a Godly woman is immediately followed by the book of Ruth, where Boaz praises Ruth in Ruth 3:11 professing, “all those in the gates of my people know that you are a virtuous woman.”
Two books recently that have provided much wisdom into women’s ministry that have been valuable to my growth in leading women are Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin and Word-Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church edited by Gloria Furman and Kathleen B. Nielson.
From Word-Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church, Kristi Anyabwile discussing the importance of discipleship among Christian women explains: (1) discipleship should be gospel centered, causing us to be more gospel focused in every relationship, including with those who are not yet Christians; (2) discipleship should be fueled by our love for one another and ignite our love for the lost and a desire to see them come to faith in Christ; and (3) vibrant discipleship should inspire us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ and embolden us to speak God’s truth to those who have not yet become Christians (Word-Filled Women’s Ministry, p. 176).
Anyabwile also wrote words that have stuck with me since reading the chapter in Word-Filled Women’s Ministry discussing the importance of Titus 2 for women’s ministry. She proclaims, “discipleship happens when love puts on shoes” (p. 175). What a beautiful description of living out what we have experienced and learned through Christ’s love for us.
Growing With Christians for Others to See
This philosophy of discipleship happening when love puts on shoes should not just be reserved for women’s ministry, but for all Christians in their relationship with others. Christians are called to live in community with one another. Titus 2:1-10 explicitly describes relationships designed to interrelate to one another for the purpose of Christians living a life that is a testimony to the faith they profess in Jesus Christ. Hughes and Chapell in their commentary on 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus explain, “God did not design the Christian life to be lived independently. Thus it is important for church leaders to know how God intends for the lives of the people in the church to interweave, to influence each other, and by these interactions to testify of the truth, power, and hope of the gospel” (p. 355-356).
Could you imagine the impact Christianity could make if Christians began living intentionally in helping to develop other Christians? In JP Moreland’s book Love Your God with All Your Mind, Moreland ponders what would happen in the secular world if established Christians in the business world began discipling other Christians beginning a career in their field. He writes, “If possible, they should be paired up with someone in the church who is engaged in the same vocation, and this person could be available for support through letters, phone conversations about issues in the discipline, and so forth. Can you imagine the extent to which the Christian mind would emerge in this culture if thousands of churches began to practice this?” (p. 232).
If you are a Christian reading this and are in the work force, do you have someone that you know in your line of work that you could begin discipling to help impact the secular world for the glory of God? If you are a Christian reading this and are currently going to school or training to enter a profession, do you have someone you know in the field that would be willing to mentor you and help you be better prepared to enter the workforce?
Rather than having the workforce potentially socialize Christians out of their evangelical community and commitment, imagine having them being adopted by fellow Christians already in the workforce ready to help them navigate both their spiritual and secular growth. Imagine a community full of Christians engaged in loving God with all their hearts, minds, and strength, both in the church community and in the secular world. Imagine the impact these dedicated Christians could have for the glory of God!