WIC 101: Women In the Church in the PCA
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WIC Ministry to Teens
For Women In the Church to help cultivate a nurturing environment which will attract girls inside and outside the church in order to teach them the joy of biblical womanhood, and will encourage them to continue to be an integral part of God’s covenant family.
For the WIC ministry to equip and encourage women to obey the Titus 2 mandate by serving as models and teachers of biblical womanhood to junior and senior high girls.
Some ways this will be accomplished:
• Articles in the WIC Resource Letter.
• A Resource Guide that will give various models of ways this could be done in a local church as well as ideas for adapting the WIC core curriculum to use with teens.
• Encourage local WICs to include teens in their events, retreats, etc.
• Encourage teens to attend PresWIC and national WIC events.
• Invite female staff workers who work with teens to the WIC Leadership Seminar.
• Train PresWIC presidents to use resource materials.
• Train specific women to lead seminars at regional conferences for youth staff, PresWIC meetings, EQUIP conferences, etc.
In August of 1996 a task force of women met with CEP staff members to discuss the potential for WIC ministry to teens. The women on that task force were Barbara Thompson, Janet Colton, and Marlys Mulkey. During the meeting, Will LaRose, Youth Ministry Coordinator for Christian Education and Publications, shared his insights regarding this concept. The following interview gives some of Will’s thoughts.
Q. In your experience of working with teens, what are they asking for from the church?
A. First and foremost, teens are looking for someone to listen to them. They want relationships.
Q. What do adults in the church need to know about teens?
A. That they can minister and establish these relationships.
Q. What models of ministry are being used in local churches for discipling teens?
A. The Pioneer Clubs model where teens are assigned “grandmothers” has been used successfully in churches. Also, the Christian Service Brigade has some models for mentoring. Many churches are using small groups which are organized by age and gender and taught by men and women of the congregation. The groups often use the same curriculum, but with activities and applications geared to their particular group.
Q. What have you observed about youth ministers on local church staffs?
A. Youth ministers are often pressed for time and resources. There is a need for adults in the church to view youth ministry as every member’s job.
Q. What kinds of resistance can occur when groups or individuals want to be involved in youth ministry?
A. The most frequent resistance relates to scheduling activities. Teens are very busy people and the church ministries must be carefully coordinated so there is no competition among the ministries for the teens’ time.
Q. How can WIC coordinate with youth ministers to encourage and assist in the youth ministry?
A. First, be sure that youth ministers don’t hear about these plans after the fact, but that you involve them from the beginning. Listening to their ideas is very important. Recognize their time limitations and their need for encouragement and assistance. When you approach them, emphasize that you are not creating more work for them to do, but that you want their direction and that you want to reinforce what they are doing.
Q. What one word do you think would describe an effective WIC ministry to teens?
A. WIC ministry to teens could best be described as enhancing the youth ministry.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Maybe as you read about Marlys and Janet your response was “no way.” Many of us cannot imagine pouring our lives into teenagers. But perhaps God is nudging you to pioneer inother ways. Here’s how other PCA women are investing themselves in the lives of teen girls.
Marlene Roese, a widow from Lake Osborne Presbyterian Church in Florida, is discipling a group of teens on Sunday evenings. She gave the disclaimer of her old age to the girls, but the reality for all to see is a young at heart, genuine and willing servant.
Women of Palmetto PresWIC recently invited teens to attend their annual retreat at Ridge Haven.
There were a number of young women jogging around the mountainside. What a joy to have women from 16-80+ as they worshipped, fellowshipped, and studied together.
Debra Perret, from Plains Presbyterian Church, in Zachary, LA is teaching Treasures of Encouragement, the 1996-97 WIC addition to the core curriculum, to a group of senior high girls. Jenny Mills, who recently returned from CoMission in Ukraine, is co-leader. A ruling elder’s wife is their secret prayer partner and encourager. She will become known to the girls when she gives her testimony of the encouragement of the Word of God in her own life.
Step 4: What do we do?
Now it is time to think about those most-often-asked questions.
Q. Why do we need a WIC organization?
A. Women need women. Paul must have understood this. He told Titus to be sure that older women in the church were equipped to teach younger women certain aspects of covenantal life. The church needs to provide some way for this to happen.
Q. But in our church men and women serve side-by-side on committees and in various ministries. Why do we need an organized WIC?
A. Women still need some way to nurture one another. In the church-structure you mention, your WIC may focus primarily on fellowship and nurturing relationships among women. These relationships will energize women to become involved in the various ministry-opportunities offered by your church. The WIC ministry should be a place where women are enfolded, nurtured, equipped, and sent out to minister in all aspects of the life of the church.
Q. Our church emphasizes small groups. Why do we need an organized WIC?
A. The answer is still the same. There needs to be some way for women to connect with women and to learn about issues involving biblical womanhood. Married and single women express their need for mentoring by other women. A WIC ministry can provide this.
Q. How do we organize a WIC ministry?
A. Begin with prayer, prayer, and more prayer.
This should be followed by a time of study. Women must have a vision for a WIC ministry before they will have energy to do it. Events and programs, as exciting as they may be, do not elicit long-term commitment. An understanding of a biblical philosophy for a women’s ministry is essential for long-term commitment. So we encourage you to begin by gathering a group of women to work through Leadership For Women In the Church, using the accompanying leader’s guide Loving Leadership. This will help the women to develop a group vision for the ministry, assess needs and resources, set goals, determine structure, and plan the strategy for implementing the goals.
If you are a new church just starting your WIC ministry, you may want to ask all interested women to participate in this study. If you are an existing church with an already established ministry, this is a training course for your leadership team. It should be used each year to train new leaders.
Q. How do we revitalize a floundering WIC? We can’t get anyone to take a leadership position.
A. Prayer and study...the same as the answer above. Stop worrying about structures and filling positions and spend time praying and developing a vision.
Q. But I want a formula—step one, two, and three. Tell me exactly what to do.
A. We have done that in the WIC Core Curriculum. Get it and read it. In addition to dealing with vision, philosophy, and goals, the leader’s guides for these books are filled with practical ideas for recruiting and training leaders, developing programs, implementing a Spiritual Mothering program, etc.
Q. In addition to the curriculum and other printed studies, do you have any other resources?
A. The Women’s Advisory Sub-Committee and your PresWIC President have been trained to assist you. You may want to invite one of them to teach the leadership course to your women. Our WIC staff is also available to you. But we encourage you to get the curriculum materials first because we really believe this will answer most of your questions.
The WIC Resource Letter is an ongoing training and networking piece. It is published five times a year and is sent to pastors’ wives and local WIC Presidents (or contact person).
The WIC Resource Manual gives suggestions for various kinds of organizational structures, a constitution, etc.
Q. Does it matter which book in the curriculum we study first?
A. Usually it is best to study them in order, however it is important for the leadership team in your church to make this decision based on your particular situation.
Q. What is the role of the PresWIC President and council?
A. Just as with local churches, PresWICs determine their own ministry-focus and structure depending on their particular needs and opportunities. Basically, however, PresWIC officers serve as a resource to help local WICs and as a facilitator to connect the women in local churches. Your PresWIC officers are one of your greatest resources. On the presbytery level there are opportunities to experience our connectionalism as you meet with other women to share ideas, study, pray, serve, and fellowship together. No matter how large or small your church is, you will be richer if you become involved with women from the other churches in your area. This is the way we do it in the Presbyterian church. We believe it is the biblical way.
A final word:
Whatever else you do, you must pray. Everything we do must be saturated with prayer. Unless God shines His face upon us, there will be no blessing. We must live in His presence and radiate His glory. Then we will know His pleasure upon us. The ultimate question: Is God glorified?
Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together (Psalm 34:3).
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