Women as First Responders to Take the Gospel to the World by Andrea Buczynski
I am delighted to have my friend Andrea Buczynski guesting on Kindling today. She is a real fire starter, as you will see.
“No. Less. Than. EVERY nation,” he said with emphasis, a dramatic pause after every phrase.
“No less than, EVERY tribe.”
“No less than EVERY tongue.”
“No less than EVERY people.”
“The Great Commission is not just for the professionals. It is an all-hands-on-deck task. And we’ve got to see it that way for the Great Commission to be fulfilled.”
Sounds like a ministry conference, right? It was a Sunday sermon by Rev. Reggie White at Northland Church in Orlando.
I was deeply stirred by his message and struck by the fact that often people perceive the work of the Great Commission as the work of professionals.
While I don’t tend to think of myself as a professional, others do. And when they do, they take themselves out of the picture, as though they are not qualified or able.
The truth is we need everyone to contribute. Everyone to be salt and light. Everyone to love their neighbors and reach out to them with the good news of Jesus.
Multipliers and Mobilizers
The past few years there has been an emphasis on both multiplication and mobilization of disciples toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission. During our ministry’s history, we have done both in different ways. But Dr. Ralph Winter captures the need for increased mobilization well in this question:
“Wouldn’t it be better to awaken one hundred sleeping firemen than to hopelessly throw your own little bucket of water on a huge fire yourself?”
Around the world, God is already raising up people with hearts to reach their families, friends and communities, but they often don’t know how. Student-led Movement Catalytic teams have visited campuses and found people who said, “I was just praying about how to reach this campus.
What can we do?
With women as 50% of the world’s population, we cannot afford to have them think the Great Commission belongs to professionals. We cannot get there without millions of women engaged in ministry and fully utilizing their gifts.
In our own ministry, Steve Douglass has said women have often been the first to respond. Whether they respond as catalytic leaders or as the first national staff members, women will stand up and take the challenge when the call is given.
Here are some other reasons to consider making greater efforts to envision women for how God might want to use them:
God has used women throughout history; in the New Testament, we see they are involved in evangelism, discipleship and leadership. For example, think about the Samaritan woman, Lydia, Priscilla, and others. Women are natural networkers. Whether we’re talking about kids, parents, health or common interests, we can easily find things we have in common.
Women are often in positions to influence the rising generations, whether as mothers, teachers, or caregivers. Because almost half of the world’s population is under twenty-five years of age, women have great influence.
Women are in positions to influence other leaders whether in the marketplace, higher education, or government. Research has shown that the presence of women on leadership teams and boards increase the effectiveness of those organizations.
Women are very effective church planters. They are often the key to effectively penetrating unreached people groups. In Mission Frontiers, January 2016, one author states, “. . . historically—in the New Testament world, China, Korea, etc.—the gospel has sometimes spread quietly first among oppressed women on its way to transforming society in visible ways.” Other leaders have seen women be the best evangelists in difficult places.
When Jesus sees the crowds, He has compassion on them and then turns to his disciples and says, “You feed them.” He intends to do something BEYOND the ordinary. He has this pattern throughout Scripture--He sees people, hears their cries, and then turns toward us and says, “I am sending you.”
Do we see the same need He is seeing? Do we hear the cries of people’s hearts? Are we willing to pay attention to what’s on God’s heart? Will we believe Him for more than we ourselves are able to do?
Are we willing to be mobilizers as well as multipliers?
“The ultimate objective of the mobilizer is to recruit, train, and connect all believers to their most strategic role in fulfilling the Great Commission—whatever role that may be!”
“Essentially mobilization refers to any process by which God’s people are awakened and kept moving and growing until they find their place for strategic involvement in the task of completing world evangelization.
Mobilizers are those who channel key resources, training and vision for world evangelization to the Body of Christ.
It has been said, that to improperly appreciate and support the role of the mobilizer, is to seriously hinder the functions of the goer, sender, and welcomer.” Wesley Tullis, Youth With a Mission.
Help Women See their Potential
We are uniquely positioned to help women see their potential to be part of the Great Commission. Many of us are in churches where we can both pray and mobilize pray-ers.
We can arouse the latent potential of women through sharing a vision of how God might use them.
We have the tools and training to equip women for this task, but they must be awakened to the necessity of their own engagement.
God is laying this vision on our leaders’ hearts, as well as across the Body of Christ globally, so we must conclude that He is doing something.
We must pay attention to the Holy Spirit as we walk through our days to participate with Him. The opportunity is ripe. The time is now.
What about you? What might you do to encourage women all over the world to their part in expanding God’s Kingdom?
Andrea, the Vice President of Global Leadership Development for Cru, has served in the Campus Ministry and on the Global Executive Team. She calls herself a follower of Jesus, developer of people, avid reader, thinking most of the time. Find her at https://abreflections.wordpress.com