Thursday, November 3, 2011

Women in Apologetics (Part 5): Implementing Apologetics in Women's Ministry

The following is Part 5 of the series on women in apologetics from Apologetics 315. See parts one, two, three, and four.

Implementing Apologetics in Women's Ministry - Mary Jo Sharp*

In Matthew 22:37, Jesus replies to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?” His reply is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Though Jesus’ words here mean to love God with our whole being, he specifically emphasizes three aspects. The last aspect is to love God with all of our mind. Are we, as ministry leaders, providing opportunities for the women in our church to love the Lord with all their mind? Women need to be challenged in the area of growing in knowledge of the Lord.

When I speak at a women’s conference, I sometimes ask the audience to share with me how much time they spend in learning Biblical truths or in answering difficult questions about faith in God (through discussion, bible study, reading, but not including time spent at church). The average response amounts to 1% to 3% of a typical day spent thinking on and learning about truths from the Word of God. So, a majority of the day is wrapped up in secular activities. While there is nothing inherently wrong with many worldly activities, women need to keep in check the messages consumed as they go about their day. When a woman turns on the television, reads a newspaper or magazine, surfs the internet, listens to the radio, goes to the movies, goes to work, or even just goes shopping, she will most likely encounter untrue messages about the Christian faith. Some of these messages include that science is the only way we can know truth, religion is the root of all evil, and that religious people are not smart. How are we combating these false messages in our ministry to women?

It is vital to the spiritual growth of our women to address their doubts. If a woman doubts God’s existence or has never investigated her reasons for belief, she cannot reasonably be expected to grow in knowledge of God, find a study of the Word as a priority in life, or share what she believes is the truth about God with the world. However, if a woman has confidence in her belief in God, she can place her trust in God as a real being who can really affect her life.

Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

It is especially important for women to have a safe, loving environment such as a women’s ministry in which to share their doubts and ask questions. In my experience, women are more hesitant to do this in an environment in which men are present. There could be many reasons for their hesitation, but I have found - in candid moments one-on-one - that some women generally do not want to come across as “dumb” in front of their Christian brothers. These ladies will not ask very many questions in the presence of men, if any at all.1 I have also found many women do not feel it is acceptable in the church to have doubts about God. An apologetics element in our women’s ministries would help alleviate these fears while combating untruths assaulting our women’s minds, enabling them to be emboldened in their faith in God.

Three Goals for pioneering this field in women’s ministry:

1) Establish the Need
2) Create an Environment
3) Find/Create a Study...

Read the rest here.

* See Mrs. Sharp's website, Confident Christianity, here.

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