Ministering to Women – Part 3

For those who were unable to attend the Mentoring and Ministering training event, we are ending our recap from our speakers.  Today, we are going to share some of Aimee Nelson’s talking points about ministering to our mothers of unexpected pregnancies.  Aimee is a Senior Pastor’s wife, speaker, author, and founder of YouMom YouMom is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed for the purpose of providing emotional, practical and spiritual support for single, young girls who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy

It is incredibly important for us, the leaders of the Women’s Ministry Council, to not only work on providing quality training for Women’s Ministry leaders and their team members; but also connect them to resources and encourage how their ministries will impact our community.  Therefore we ended this year, and will be focusing the better part of next year on intentional discipleship.   When Jenny Andrews spoke the group, she hit a very key point… mentoring is an intentional act.  As leaders we need to be positioning seasoned women in our churches into positions where they can mentor the new believers.  However, our reach doesn’t stop there.

I can’t think of a single church that hasn’t been impacted by an unexpected pregnancy.  The truth is that every single Christian church was founded on the ministry of a baby born unexpectedly.  When Aimee Nelson shared her heart for women who face unexpected pregnancies, she said two things that jumped out at me and I keep finding myself returning to.

  1.  When Mary found out she was pregnant, she went to her cousin Elizabeth.  Mary had a woman who would walk alongside her in this pregnancy.  She didn’t go this journey alone.
  2. We must not forget that teen moms are not the only unexpected pregnancies that will happen in our church.  Think of that mom, with adult children, who finds out she is pregnant.  Married or not, this too is an unexpected pregnancy and she will need women to walk alongside her.  A lot may have changed in the world since she was last parenting a baby.

Aimee Neslon didn’t waste one second to get right to the point, when she posed this question:

We would all agree that mentoring is necessary and pertinent, and in most churches we do it well.  However, I want to pose a question.  If a teen mother walked into your church, would there be a place for her to go and be ministered to?

Aimee Nelson, Founder of YouMom

Aimee pointed out that churches have conveyed strong messages about not having an abortion, and celebrating those who walk away from the abortion clinic. Yet, she hit us all right in the heart when she asked who from the church was going to walk alongside her now that she has chosen life?  Strongly encouraging us to see this as an opportunity to share the love of Christ.

“On her Facebook Page, Aimee referred to these young mothers as the “Modern Day Widows” and that has struck a cord for me.   These are young women who, regardless of the reason, are left alone to raise their children without a spouse at their side.  If we are called in the scripture to help the widow, the orphan, and the alien… it includes our teen and single mothers”

Gena McCown

Aimee shared about the work her ministry, YouMom, does within their community.  This includes and intentional mentoring program where the mothers earn “bucks” to spend in their “store”.  The community supplies things from diapers, clothes, formula, etc. for the “store” and the women can spend the “bucks” they earn by attending mentoring sessions and group meetings.  These meetings cover prenatal counseling and birth coaching through helping the moms after the babies have been born.  Mixed in with the practical mothering advice, these young moms are introduced to Jesus.  They have celebrated many of these girls accepting Christ into their lives and being baptized.  Aimee’s group is creating a legacy in her community.

A few months ago, I met a woman who shared the following story with me.  She had been invited as a teen to attend youth group with one of her Christian friends.  Her family didn’t attend church and she enjoyed the youth group and fellowship.  Then, she found out she was pregnant.  Afraid that she would set a bad example for the other teens, the Youth Pastor asked her not to return.  She walked her pregnancy alone, and became a teen mom.  A few months after her child was born, tragically the baby died.  She not only had to endure the pregnancy alone, but also her grief and mourning.  When the church eventually learned what happened, suddenly they wanted to rally around her.  She declined their offer and has never stepped foot in a church again. 

We need to do better as a church, and the Women’s Ministry can be a driving force in making this happen.  We can reach out to our single moms in the church and in the community, in a positive and helpful way. 

There were seven specific things that Aimee shared that we can do as a Women’s Ministry, and church, as we come up along side these young moms.  We are going to highlight these points.  If you would like more information, I would encourage you to reach out to Aimee Nelson via YouMom or find her on Facebook.

  1. Acceptance – They need to know that they are welcomed and loved. 
  2. Affirmation – We can affirm her, as we affirm the choice she made FOR LIFE.
  3. Accountability – Connect her to a mentor, to help her set and accomplish goals.
  4. Respect – Teen pregnancy often results in the girl being disrespected by friends, family, and strangers.  When she is shown respect, it solidifies her choice of life was the right one.
  5. Support – She is under a load of stress and emotions, she needs to know she’s not walking alone.
  6. Grace & Compassion – When she realizes she deserves grace, she will not only extend it to others but will begin to walk in that grace.
  7. Knowledge that Her Life Is Not Over –  Teen moms often feel that their dreams are over because of the pregnancy (education, career, marriage, etc).  She needs to know that this too is now a season of her life, and there is more ahead.  Remind her of her value and worth, and that God is a redeeming God.

How can our Women’s Minsitries create this space?  Aimee suggests the following:

Pray, and ask God to open your eyes.  Are there any teen moms in your church or in your community?  What are their needs?  Do we have valuable resources that might assist them?  Pray over what your church can do (starting a support group, financially supporting a community support group, collecting goods for a pregnancy closet, volunteering at a pregnancy crisis center).  Pray for these girls, their babies, and that they will see their value in God.

Be an advocate for these girls.  When you see someone speaking down to them, be a voice and stand up for them.  Proverbs 31:7-8 says, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”  And, Psalm 82:3-4 reads “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and destitute.  Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Aimee Nelson, YouMom

Aimee closed by reminding us that one girl’s yes, 2000 years ago, changed the universe.  What could your yes change?  When the church partners together and we walk alongside a young woman, we are letting her know that hope is in front of her.   We empower and equip her, having an impact on two lives at one time.

Mentoring Women – Part 2

For those who were unable to attend the Mentoring and Ministering training event, we’d love to recap some highlights from our speakers.  Today, we are going to share some of Jenny Andrew’s talking points about intentional mentoring.  Jenny Andrews was mentored under the One to One Discipling materials when she first became a Christian.  For nearly five years she has been mentoring others under that same curriculum.

Mentoring needs to intentional.

  • Sometimes we assume that people naturally understand what we mean when we give them instructions.   Jenny sited an example of instructing her toddler son on a task, only to find him in a hysterical predicament.  She assumed he understood his instructions, but since no one had ever taught him a particular term… well, he used his toddler logic to fill the gap.  We teach them, because we love them.
  • When we start a new job, we don’t show up on the first day understanding everything expected of us.  We require training and time.  Someone had to show us how to do the job.   Someone was intentional in teaching you, whether out of love or because they were paid to.
  • Jesus intentionally pour into his disciples, and the people He would encounter.  Jenny shared with us the scripture, Luke 6:12-16.  Jesus selected Judas Iscariot as a disciple, even though He knew that Judas would betray Him.  Jesus still poured into Judas, teaching him and guiding him.

I really thought this was a fantastic point, that Christ knew that Judas would ultimately betray Him… and yet that didn’t stop Jesus from investing in Judas.  Especially in Women’s Ministry, we can be hurt by the women we serve along with.  A friend once said “even sheep will bite”.  If Jesus can love and invest in Judas, then I can serve or serve alongside those who may have hurt me.  This doesn’t mean we become doormats, it is healthy to establish boundaries, we can love and pray for them from a safe distance. 

Jenny Andrews continued, by sharing that it isn’t enough to see the example made by Jesus, but that we need to put that into practice too.  If we are to be Christ-like, we must do Christ-like things.   We start in prayer and then more forward into intentional disciple making.

I felt the need to share with others about the One to One Program because I went through it myself and it taught me a lot.  The One to One Discipling ministry that I co-lead at my church has ministered to at least 100 women in the last 5 years since it started.

Jenny Andrews, Connect Church

Jenny co-leads a team that averages fifteen mentors at any given time, and each mentor will have just a small handful of women they mentor to.  Using the One to One Discipling program, these mentors use the materials with sixth graders on up.  Jenny shared that they adjust the materials to the specific dynamics of their church and the ages they are mentoring.  Which means the curriculum allows flexibility.  The program is designed for nine weeks, but you can adjust it to the frequency that your mentors and mentees have available.  In some cases, women have chosen to go through the materials repetitively.
Every time I do it, I learn something new.
Jenny Andrews, Connect Church
Their mentoring program is used for mature women who want a deeper understanding of the scriptures, or for newly baptized women.  The goal is to create solid believers who have a basic understanding of the faith, using scripturally based materials.  While it may seem intimidating, a structured curriculum like this makes it possible for any of us to mentor another woman.  We are not walking through it alone, either.  We are all in this together.
What if each woman here took on one women in our church’s and being to
pour into them what we know?  We would have solid believing Christian
women because we believed in them.
Jenny Andrews, Connect Church
Jenny left us with the follow challenge:
Can I encourage you to set a goal whether you use this tool or another to be intentional on mentoring at least one woman this year?  Ladies, we are in
this together.  We need women who will mentor us in new areas and season
of our lives.  We also need to be those women.
Jenny Andrews, Connect Church

You can connect with Jenny Andrews via her Facebook page or Blog, or at an upcoming Women’s Ministry Council meeting.  Thank you Jenny, for sharing your heart for mentoring.  We are blessed by your words and challenged as leaders to be intentional!

Monday, we will finish up our recap with speaker Aimee Nelson.

Mentoring & Ministering to Women

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Mentoring & Ministering to Women, Part 1 by Gena McCown

This Saturday, twenty five women’s ministry leaders attended a special training event on Mentoring and Ministering to women.  Author Gloria Furman once defined “Women’s Ministry” as any act of ministering to the needs of women.  Each church is comprised of women with a variety of needs, and areas where we can serve, leaving no two ministries identical.  Yet, the methodology is the same.  We are women who are rooted in scripture, dedicated to prayer, faithfully living out our calling to build a Women’s Ministry that is gospel centered and disciple making.

Later this week, in Part 2 of this series, we are going to recap some of the speakers points and talk a little more in depth about mentoring and discipling of women.  However, today I would like to share our gratitude with the supporters who walk alongside of the work we are doing here in S. Florida.  We couldn’t do this without their support and prayers.  If you attended, we’d love for you to give some social media love.  If you didn’t get to attend, check out these great resources!

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First, we’d like to thank NavPress for their donation of “The Gentle Art of Discipling Women” by Dana Yeakley.   Discipleship needs to be an intentional focus for Women’s Ministry, and each our leaders in attendance received a copy to share with her ministry team.

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When discipling women, it is great to have a reference resource to help navigate through questions we may not have all the answers for.  FaithWords donated a copy of “ABC’s of Christianity” by Terdema Ussery for each Women’s Ministry Leader in attendance.

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If you are looking for a straightforward structured system for discipline, check out Multiplication Ministries mentoring curriculum, “One to One Discipling for Women”.  They also have a version for men.  Our speaker, Jenny Andrews, spoke on her experiences with the materials and how they have incorporated them into their church.  (We’ll cover this a bit more in part 2).   Ten ministry leaders brought home a copy of “One to One Discipling for Women”.

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For those look for a less structured mentoring program, you may want to look at “Organic Mentoring” by Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann.  Eight of our ministry leaders received a copy of this book at our event, but all of our women can read the first three chapters on our Facebook page.  Thanks Kregel Publications!

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Quite often when we talk about mentoring, we think of the scriptures in Titus 2.  Crossway Publishers donated two copies of “Spiritual Mothering:  The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women” by Susan Hunt.  Crossway also sent a sample chapter of “Parenting” by Paul David Tripp for each woman in attendance.  Mentoring and discipling isn’t just limited to those who attend our Women’s Ministry events, but most importantly our own children.

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Finally, we were able to connect our Women’s Ministry Leaders to a great ministry “Embrace Grace”.  This ministry reaches out to our unexpected mothers to be, giving them encouragement, support, and most of all Jesus!  We already have one local church who has started an “Embrace Grace” group, and Lord knows we could use more in our area and throughout the country.  Each leader went home with a complete information pack on how they could bring Embrace Grace to their church and community.

Thank you so much for your generosity, prayers, and support.