SBC women's leaders urge balance in discipleship, evangelism, missions

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The life of a Christian woman and the women's ministry of a church share in common the need for balance among discipleship, missions and evangelism, women's ministry leaders from three Southern Baptist Convention entities said Nov. 16.

Chris Adams, women's enrichment specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources, Laura Savage, ministry consultant at Woman's Missionary Union, and Jaye Martin, women's evangelism associate at the North American Mission Board, spoke in the closing session of the Women's Enrichment Leadership Forum, Nov. 16 at LifeWay in Nashville, Tenn.

"My focus here at LifeWay is discipleship and enrichment," Adams said. "That is sometimes the hook to reach women and meet their needs."

Missions and evangelism, however, must be part of a balanced ministry, she said.

"We don't want women to just sit and soak. We want them to become involved in serving," Adams said.

Savage said all three women's ministry leaders "firmly believe missions is not an option for women in the church. There are so many ways women can be involved in missions. Everyone can do something to reach non-Christians."

In addition to mission service on an international, North American or community field, she said women can be involved in praying for missions."

Martin said, "My particular task is to help women's ministry in the local church become evangelistic. Every Christian has a responsibility of knowing God and sharing him."

Women's groups may be involved in direct evangelism as well as praying for people who are not Christians, she said.

"The first step is to pray for God to break our hearts for evangelism," Martin said.

Witness training with women is important, she said, because "women share their faith differently. Men tend to think and talk. Women tend to share and feel."

The three acknowledged that tension sometimes can arise in a church between women involved in missions and those participating in discipleship or evangelism. They emphasized they are working closely together to present a balanced view of women's ministry and to model cooperation.

"We have a monthly phone call and prayer time," Savage said. "We share our ideas with one another. If you have problems on the local level, you need to pray together."

Martin said evangelism, missions and discipleship are all needed to challenge women to spiritual growth.

"If you just know God and don't share him, I think you miss half the Christian life," she said.

Approximately 300 women attended the three-day forum sponsored by LifeWay.

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(BP) photo and graphic posted in the BP photo library at www.bpnews.net. Titles: BALANCE and A WOMAN'S LIFESTYLE.

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