About Women’s Ministry
by Executive Chairwoman Marilyn Miller
About Women’s Ministry
“Now we are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).
WELS Women’s Ministry, always using Scripture as its guiding principle, has the following objectives:
- To encourage and model personal study of the Bible and use of the Sacraments so that the gospel message may be proclaimed boldly and clearly in our daily lives
- To work under the WELS Commission on Adult Discipleship
- To work together with men to fully understand from Scripture how we are all to serve God
- To explore scripturally sound opportunities for service in every calling of life from home, to church, to the world
- To equip women to fulfill their callings
- To develop fresh approaches to God-pleasing ministries for women
- To offer a variety of venues for communicating and sharing ideas
- To thank God for the solid foundation of faith and service he has given to us as an example in the many godly women and men in our congregations who’ve gone before us
The WELS Women’s Ministry Committee was spawned from an event that took place in June, 2002. The event, a brainstorming retreat, was a pilot project of the WELS Board for Parish Services. The “think tank” objectives were:
1) to review and reaffirm the Biblical principles of the universal priesthood of all believers and of the role of men and women in the Church,
2) to brainstorm, clarify, and prioritize ideas regarding vehicles and approaches which will foster, encourage, and enhance the personal and corporate ministry of WELS women and,
3) to craft the outline for a document that will present our recommendations to the WELS Board for Parish Services for appropriate action.
Ten WELS women from various walks of life participated in the June task force. Some of these women had full-time ministry positions or had had them at one time. Several women were working professionals, several were retired volunteers. Six WELS pastors representing the Board for Parish Services, Wisconsin Lutheran College, and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, and Martin Luther College also participated. The Friday, Saturday, and Sunday retreat generated a set of “Action Plans”. One of the programs that resulted as a key idea from the brainstorming retreat was a Commission or Committee on Women’s Ministry in the WELS.
It took a year to get the committee going; nevertheless, the think tank weekend essentially generated the committee. Initially, four women who attended the think tank were appointed to this committee. There were three men on the committee who represented the Board for Parish Services and the seminary.
Why is this ministry needed?
At the retreat the need to enhance the ministry of WELS women was expressed. All who attended felt—and also represented many other WELS brothers and sisters who feel—that there are some barriers that we in our church body must overcome in order to enhance this ministry of and to women. The task force participants felt that women in the WELS passionately seek to serve God in the Church in ways that please God and do not violate His Word. The committee’s task is to fulfill the need to foster, encourage, and enhance the personal and corporate ministry of WELS women.
These principles direct everything we do as a women’s ministry committee. Whether we are developing or promoting Bible studies, or organizing and promoting congregational and synodical ministries for or by women, these principles give direction to all we do:1) We are determined to let the gospel predominate.
The gospel of Jesus Christ predominates in all we do. The gospel is not an afterthought to add to a Bible study or ministry project to make it acceptable. God’s grace in his Son proclaimed to all the world is the beating heart behind every study or activity. Our subjective/personal response to the gospel (as important as that is) will never overshadow the importance of the objective truth of all that is ours because of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ in our place. Even when we are giving “how to” encouragement, we will not forget that the gospel alone empowers us to will and to do according to God’s good purpose.
2) We delight to teach all that Scripture’s principle of head and helper has to say to us.
In all we produce and promote we give clear evidence that we rejoice in the beauty of the interdependent partnership God has given us as spiritually gifted men and women. We will emphasize both the beauty of our equal status and shared callings in Christ as well as the goodness of our unique callings that make us true complements, not clones, of one another.
3) We are unafraid to apply Scripture wherever Scripture speaks, but we refuse to bind consciences beyond Scripture.
While teaching all that Scriptures has to say, we will resist the pressure to set up a rule book of what ministry by and for women must look like in every ministry setting. Refusing to set up a one size fits all rule book gives people the opportunity to make wise and spiritually mature use of their Christian freedom. It refuses to cater to the laziness of our sinful nature that does not want to wrestle with challenging issues. We will urge people to listen carefully to what Scripture does have to say. We will also encourage them to make wise use of Christian freedom in decisions neither commanded nor forbidden by God, always striving to do only that which will honor God and build up Christ’s church.
4) We help God’s people to remember that we are part of a larger fellowship of believers.
We will help God’s people avoid spiritual myopia so that they ponder how their decisions affect other Christians beyond us, our congregations, and our synod. Since the Word didn’t begin or end with us, we will consider whether what may indeed be permissible is truly wise for other Christians as well as ourselves.
The Congregational Ministries Team networks women from our congregations to share ideas and resources. These women also receive information and updates from Women’s Ministry coordinators to share with their pastor and congregation.
“Serving on the Women’s Ministry Committee has given me an opportunity to meet so many wonderful women who are serving the Lord in a variety of settings. What a joy to see all their gifts being used for God’s glory!” – Ali Manning, Dakota/Montana district
“One of the most important aspects of our work is listening to what women are doing so we can share what has been successful and find out what resources they need to be more effective. Encouraging these women in their faith and faithfulness to the Scriptures is our greatest joy.” – Naomi Schmidt, Executive Team
Does your congregation have a “Women’s Ministry Congregational Contact” (WMCC)?
A WMCC is a woman who works with her pastor to be the connection point between her home congregation and WELS Women’s Ministry. She receives information and ideas from WELS Women’s Ministry and passes them on to her congregation. She also reports on what is going on in her own congregation so that ideas and encouragement can be shared with other congregations in the district.
If you are interested in serving in this way, first talk with your pastor. Next, contact us for more information.
What We Do
WELS Women’s Ministry provides resources for individuals and congregations nationwide. Consider supporting these ministries with your prayers and gifts.