Team Series: Discipleship Leader, by Gena McCown
Many churches have a program of people meeting together to study the Word. These groups can go by many names: bible study, small group, or life group are the most common. There may be a group of people within the church that are meeting to pray together. Or, you may even have some mentoring relationships going on. There are churches that have a structured program in place for what types of materials they study, when, and how often the groups meet. Others allow leaders to naturally step up to the plate, and the church really serves as a conduit of information; connecting the people to the groups.
When the church has a system in place, whether structured or organic, the Women’s Ministry will often focus on other areas they can serve the women of the church. However, what would happen if we placed a member of our team in charge of taking that system a step further? What if we were more purposeful in how we disciple and mentor the women under our care?
Characteristics of this Leader:
- Spiritual gift of Leadership and Teaching
- Dedicated student of the Word
- Organized, may also have the spiritual gift of administration
- Sincere desire to develop people, encourages women into the Word
How this Role Serves the Women (and church):
- Researches and vets new study materials to ensure they are theologically and doctrinally sound.
- Looks for new small groups leaders, and helps develop their leadership skills.
- Develops a step by step program that disciples new believers from their first steps into accepting Christ and beyond.
- Helps connect new believers to seasoned believers for mentoring relationships.
When you bring a leader on to the team that has a heart for discipleship, your Women’s Ministry can take a turn toward not only the Cross but the Great Commission, to go out and make not just converts but disciples. This creates in the Women’s Ministry a very intentional direction and purpose, and quite often our fellowship and social events are geared toward funneling the women into the church and into these disciple making processes.
What that may look like in your church will vary, based on the needs of the church/community and the availability of those willing to step into the roles of teacher or mentor. It may take time to develop your program into the full vision, but each year you can move a step closer to that end goal.
For myself, I like to walk women first through and overall understanding of the scriptures (Angie Smith’s study “Seamless”), then I want the women to learn how to study the scriptures for themselves (Jen Wilkin’s book “Women of the Word”). I follow these two books up with walking the women through prayer (Don Whitney’s book “Praying the Bible”). After these three steps, then the women can plug into study groups on topics that are more applicable to their season of life or circumstances. Some women would prefer a small mentoring relationship with an older wiser woman over a group study.
Just a note: Remember that in a mentoring relationship “older and wiser” doesn’t always mean older in age, sometimes it is older in regards to experience. A 40 year old new Christian can sit under a 28 year old life long, seasoned believer. A woman who is 50 and a newly wed in her first marriage can sit under a woman who is 30 and married for 12 years.