Friday, September 13, 2013

Mothering Ministry


Titus 2:1-5
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Since the Bible is so clear that women cannot be pastors or preach in the church (1Tim 2:8-14; 1Corinthians 14:33-38), many churches that upholds the authority of Scripture have been gone to extreme - emphasizing what women cannot do in the church forgetting what they can do. The result is that women ministry is neglected, the spiritual gifts of our sisters are not fully tapped to edify the body of Christ, there is resentment and rebellion by women. We must be careful to always seek to strike the balance of Scripture by teaching the whole counsel of God. We must not withhold anything that is profitable. 

Have you thought along Biblical lines on what need to be done within the Scriptural parameters, so that women serve in the church? I would like us to seriously consider what I am calling a mothering ministry. The passage I have read, says:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5

 It appears to me there is no deliberate plan for older ladies to seek to disciple and mother the younger women in many churches. Yet there is no school or college that trains girls to be wives. It is the responsibility of the older ladies to be mothers of the younger ones in the church and so train them biblically. But this problem in not confined to the older ladies only, the younger ladies are not intentionally looking for the older ladies to be mothered. You remember that it is Mary who went to Elizabeth not the other way round. So both of have a responsibility to each other.

How are we going to do this? How can you seek to identify, disciple and mother the younger ladies? How will the younger ladies be intentional in seeking out the older ladies to be their mothers in the Lord? Or is it necessary?

In bringing this up, I am seeking to point out to you that God recognizes in this passage there ought to be a deliberate effort in discipling people in terms of their gender and age. This is why Paul instructed these younger man Titus to have older women teach younger women and older men teach younger men. He told Timothy similar thing when he said,
“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. Honor widows who are truly widows” (1Timothy 5:1-3)

So let us be intentional in the way we approach female discipleship than we have been so that in that manner we may take into account the fact that men and women are different, and these differences need to be recognized, taken into account, and addressed in the course of discipleship within the church. We must avoid the danger of egalitarian at the very outset and emphasize that we are complementarian – men and women are equally before God and in bearing God’s image, but they have different roles and responsibilities in the church and in the family. Because men and women are different in the way God created them, we ought to carefully be conscious of the fact that they face different temptations differently and so as a church we should address the distinctive temptations of men and women distinctively.
In bringing this matter up, I would to very briefly summarize the verse standing upon the shoulders of Mrs. Sarah Hunt and Ligon Duncan, who are very godly and faithful ministers of the gospel in their respective spheres.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5

From this passage consider the following: 
1.  Ecclesiastical authority and responsibility:
This passage is addressed to Titus not to the women leaders. So the ministries have to be under the oversight of the elders. The ministries of women can be disastrous when authority of the eldership is by-passed. For this reason, many churches ignore or even suppress the ministry of women so that the church becomes also disobedient in training everyone for ministry.
2.  Teaching sound doctrine
Paul tells Titus to teach what accords to sound teaching in verse 1. This is what he has to make sure takes place so that the discipleship that takes place in the church is that which is founded upon the Scriptures only. Therefore even mothering ministry in the church has to be the ministry that trains everyone to have a Christian and biblical world-view. Knowing and applying God’s Word is at the core of women’s ministry. We must never forget that we are products of our theology and when we have the wrong theology, the whole of our lives will be overthrown.
3.  The communion of the saints
Clearly this passage from v1-10 points to the fact that truth is to be taught in the context of relationships. This is not just the responsibility of the pastor or of only the few who preach from the pulpit. Every member has a responsibility to forge relationships with every member. While pastors have a responsibility that overarches every other ministry, yet everyone is being trained for ministry to serve others. At the same time everyone is making effort to forge good relationship with every member. Clearly, the older generation can give a rootedness to the past that provides sturdiness for the future. What is your relationship with the younger people. Parents have to think, multi-generational and raise others who will provide stability to the church and to the society as they raise up their children.
4.  The gospel has a redemptive transforming influence in believers lives
From this passage, we see that as truth moves out into life, older women develop  a reverent love for God, younger women become lovers of husbands and children, young men become self-controlled and mature etc. this growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ develops individual and community maturity in Christ.
5.  The gospel has redemptive, transforming influence in the culture
We are living at a time when feminists are very vocal, the sexual perverts like homosexual are receiving more attention than the God-ordained heterosexuals. Soon rapists and pedophiles will demand their rights as well if we do not intentionally teach what accords to sound doctrine so that our children and our society may not be plunged into more chaos. Cultural transformation is only possible because of the gospel which has power to save. This cultural transformation has to begin with us, in the church going to the society.

6.  The gospel is the motivation
Investing in the lives of others costs effort, time and resources. It involves taking relational risks. But the gospel motivates because even Christ took such risks and spent such vast heavenly resources, time and effort to bring us salvation and the love of Christ constrains us (2Cor. 5:14-15)
7.  The gospel is the unifying integrative factor
We must acknowledge that while discipleship is age and gender specific, no discipleship is separate from the whole because Christ came to save men and women boys and girls and His blood works for all in the same manner. Biblical discipleship is not just imparting facts and inculcating values and disciplines it is transmitting a way of thinking and living in word and in deed, uniting all into a glorious whole of glorifying God.
The women produced from this discipleship are said to be ‘reverent’ [befitting a holy person] those with holy reverence for God

Biblical example: Luke 1:39 - 56

May the Lord grant His church to be faithful in training every Christian to be faithful in using their spiritual gifts for the benefit of the whole church.

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