By: Rev. Ed Schneider
Like all discussions regarding biblical understanding it is essential to begin the journey with a common understanding. So, the very first thing is to have a working definition of what the word “evangelism” actually means. The word “evangelism” means TO CARRY the Good News or to “bring” Jesus to others.
It is a true statement to say that, “All believers have the sacred privilege and faithful obligation to carry Christ to others.” However, women hold a special place in this regard by the very nature of who they are and how the world around them reacts to their leadership.
A good example of this reaction is seen in the Gospel of Luke where the writer reminds his readers that women are being summoned to be true disciples…not just emissaries to the “real disciples.” Women were to be full partners in the evangelistic process. According to Luke, women were able to receive “Divine revelation” from Christ Himself. (Luke, Chapter 24).
In addition to this written display of Divine partnership, Luke also points his readers to the understanding that women are also given special recognition to their abilities to lead and share the Good News….or the CARRYING OF CHRIST to others. Please remember at the resurrection scene when the women abandoned the tomb to “carry the news” of a resurrected Jesus to not only the “cowardly men” who had previously left what they believed was a failed messiah but also were given the responsibility to tell all of what they had experienced to everyone else….in addition to the male disciples.
Remember also that the male disciples…the eleven…could only testify to the women’s FIRST HAND accounts. The women were the Divine guarantors of the resurrection event. (Luke 24:9-10, 12, 22-24) It was women who testified to the miracle. It was women who were there when males left in fear. It was women who faithfully reported that the angels said Jesus was alive, while the men insisted they would have to see to believe.
There are at least a dozen other examples of the Divine empowerment of women to CARRY JESUS to others in biblical scripture. There is no doubt of the foundational importance of the equal partnership of women in all evangelistic efforts. Carrying the message of a loving, powerful, and transforming God has ALWAYS BEEN a shared privilege and responsibility of those who are in covenant with the Creator of all that is known and unknown.
Miriam… was a prophet and worship leader.
Deborah… was a prophet, judge, and ruler of an army.
Anna… announced the arrival of the messiah Jesus.
Lydia… was a Philippian church leader.
Priscilla… was a church planter and authority in the “Followers of the Way” movement.
Junias… was an apostle of Christ.
Phoebe… was a deacon.
What I am NOT going to argue in this writing is the scriptural disagreement concerning women in the pastorate. That will take a much broader perspective of biblical and theological understanding of systematic Christology. For now all I am saying is to limit the role of women to some subordinate afterthought of sharing, teaching and leading efforts relating to evangelism…or CARRYING THE GOOD NEWS….is scripturally suspect and theologically bankrupt.
Now let’s move on to some practical ways of evangelistic outreach particularly valid as it relates of Christian women.
- Absolutely the first thing you must do is to STAY POSITIVE. Assume the best will happen even if you’re not there to see it happen. You have got to learn how to trust…or lean on…God’s ability to use you to help carry the Good News. Trust God more than YOU!
- Treat all people with the DIGNITY they deserve as creations of God Almighty.
- Search out ways, means and methods to bless others before yourself. Allow God’s mission of Christ to receive the acclaim for each “blessing” offered and received.
- Never forget once you are part of “The Way” of Christ you no longer represent just you any longer. The Integrity of Christ must rule in your life, your motivations, and your actions.
- Be a constant reminder to younger people, who most likely have an assumption of authority concerning adult females, of the character of Christ and the display of His grace.
- Be an empowering agent of future Christian non-clergy leadership of both men and women.
- Bring younger women together to display a willingness to learn and serve Christ’s church.
- Be open and obvious participants in the attendance and practical leadership of biblical studies.
- Lead efforts in outreach to those who are suffering in their circumstances; i.e., work, health, hunger, employment, confidence, marriage, grief, parenthood, education, natural disasters, etc.
- Provide for the empowerment and transformative opportunities for other women to experience the life changing effects of devotion to The Way of Jesus opposed to The Way of the World.
- Organize men….insert large smile here….to do better….to be better….to live better for Christ.
- Be an open and obvious supporter of pastoral leadership and new minister development.
- Instead of participating in SELF-HELP seminars….organize and implement CHRIST-HELP seminars that inform and empower women and their children to experience a more productive and joyful life…under the banner of Christ and within the Biblical principles found in scripture.
These can be a few starting reference points in taking the lead in practical evangelistic outreach. Also I would encourage you to remember that being a “prophet” of God is basically the same as being a “preacher” of God’s word…which is foundationally the same as expressing The GOOD NEWS shared in The Bible. In the Bible it plainly states that all believers are to “Go forth and preach” His word.
Inspired women of God, can and will reach out and change a life for the glory of Christ. As an empowering agent of God’s Transformation a woman who is devoted to The Way of Christ will super-naturally find ways to move that which is hindering someone’s life…either a believer or not…by the power of the Gospel. The same Gospel that proclaims,
“God is no respecter of persons.”
After any “believer” is IN CHRIST there is no more man or women…young or old…rich or poor…no more earthly separation.
Finally, I would encourage any person, man or woman, to teach competently, passionately, and without private or self-supportive motivation Biblical truth…THE WHOLE TRUTH. Teach, preach, and demonstrate what the Bible means more than what it says while living…or displaying…your life in a way that draws people to Christ rather than repels them away from the grace of God.
Just a little food for thought. Peace.