“The Lord sends out the Word and the women who proclaim it are a great host.”
This past November 6-15, the first Global Proclamation Academy (GPA) for Women happened! It was held in the Philippines and attended by 28 Women Pastors/Preachers/Ministry Leaders – 19 Philippine Delegates and 9 Global Delegates (Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina, Panama, India and China).
They went through an intensive ten days of learning how to study, interpret and preach the Word using Scripture Sculpture, learning from spiritual truths and life application from master coaches, one-on-one mentoring and an opportunity to build lifelong friendship with one another.
One of the women, only 30 years old is already an ordained minister and the president of a Christian denomination as well as a National Youth Movement. When you talk with her, you can immediately feel the passion she has for the ministry. But when you hear her speak, you will not be able to leave unmoved. Her passion for God is excitable and contagious. Another lady is a lay minister at a conservative Baptist Church, overseeing and mentoring the adult ministry there. But she is also a psychology professor at the University of the Philippines (the country’s premier state university), and she is finishing up her Ph.D. in developmental psychology.
Still, one more lady. The founder of an NGO called Women of Worth in India, which has been actively advocating against the abuse of women and fighting for women’s protection in that country for 10 years now.
These three women are but mere representations of the rest of the WGPA participants – passionate communicators and teachers of the Word. These are women who are out there leading women, influencing people and impacting their society. Gifted women with a heart for God and a passion to spread the love of Jesus to the rest of the world.
We may have different views on women in church leadership, but whether we are complementarian or egalitarian, one thing remains: women are proclaimers of the Word too. Psalm 68:11 affirms this. When women proclaim the Word, they are a great host, a powerful voice, a mighty throng.
Women have different roles to fulfill, but nevertheless carry the same mandate to “preach the Gospel and make disciples.” (Matthew 28:18-20) And all around the world, the number of female proclaimers continues to rise. Whether speaking from behind the pulpit to a congregation, in a coffee shop to a small group of working women, or in their home to wives and stay-at-home moms, we cannot deny the influence that women have and their ability to spread the Gospel in more ways than one.
We must also equip the women.
This is the need the WGPA seeks to address.
We cannot just equip the men! If so, that is only half of the church we are training!
What about the other half, who also have the heart, passion and gift for preaching, teaching and mentoring? And didn’t they say that women speak more words than men (research says women speak 20,000 words per day, approximately 13,000 more than men.)? We might want to use that to the Gospel’s advantage, don’t we?
Here is the challenge that we must accept:
Proclaiming the Word is not only limited to preaching behind the pulpit, but includes teaching and mentoring, in a group setting or one-on-one. Nowadays, mentoring and teaching is in more demand! Two megachurches in the Philippines say that people continue to flock to their churches, not because of the preaching of the pastor every Sunday, but it is a result of the intentional small group discipleship and mentoring that happens during the week. In the age of digital and detached relationships, the yearning for personal relationships becomes greater. This is a gap that both men and women need to work together to fill. There is no need to stand up front to be a preacher of the Word. The world is a your pulpit! There are multitudes out there who need to hear God’s Word, and to hear it accurately!
FEMALE BELIEVERS NEED FEMALE TEACHERS
Women need other women to teach them. It is not every instance that a man can effectively teach a woman on how to apply Biblical truth. The reality is, women may understand God’s Word more effectively when it comes from the mouth of another woman.
Titus 2:3-5 tells us that older women ought to live out a Godly life so that they have the credibility to teach younger woman about the ways of the world. Only a woman can teach another woman how to love her husband, how to raise Godly children, how to be pure, sensible, a wise homemaker and how to submit to their husbands. This last one has caused so much debate, perhaps because it is different when a woman hears about submission from a man, than when she hears it from another woman!
WOMEN IN MINISTRY NEED WOMEN TO MINISTER TO THEM
The pressures that women in ministry face are unique. Only another woman in ministry can truly understand her as she goes through things such as defeat, discouragement, and despair. Only another woman can fully understand what these situations look like in their eyes. There are just some things no man will understand. The language is just different. There are things that happen in a woman’s life that need the strengthening, encouraging, refreshing and revitalizing ministry of another woman, because she understands more.
And to be ministered to is one thing women in ministry eagerly long for in their life, but seldom have. They, too, want to someone to shepherd them, to listen to them, to encourage them, to counsel them, to listen to their quirkiness and weaknesses, victories and dreams, without judging them, criticizing them or thinking less of them.
The first WGPA was definitely a first, and it should not be the last. Female ministers need to be as equipped in studying, interpreting, and preaching the Word. Female ministers need to be mentored by older women ministers. Female ministers need to connect with other female ministers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donna Tan, from the Philippines, is a pastor’s wife, a pastor’s kid, a counselor, professional editor (for both academic and popular writing), resource speaker, writer, and blogger. Her passion is to minister to women (pastor’s wives in particular), couples and families. Donna’s ministry experiences span ages and cultures; having led youth and women ministries in the Philippines, as well as women ministries in the US (as a leader with Trinity Wives Fellowship from 2010-2012, in Deerfield, IL).
Donna is married to Dr. Jason Richard Tan (Ph.D.), and they have two children – Joshua (16) and Elisha (11). They have been married for 18 years. Jason and Donna are missionaries under GlobalGrace Fellowship (based in Pasadena, CA) serving the Philippines and Asia. She is the Admin Director of Great Commission Missionary Training Center. You can connect with Donna through her blog TonesOfHope.blogspot.com.