Women in Ministry: In Keeping with Tradition
Creativity and Compassion in Women's Ministries
Maria S. Gevorkian
Being more perceptive, more emotional, and more kind-hearted, it was easy for women to quickly respond to Christ's call, and they served Him during the blessed time that Christ walked on earth in human flesh. They were the first to see Him after his resurrection and hastened to spread the good news. Jesus' first appeal after his resurrection was directed to women: "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers." Having accepted Christ into their hearts, they never once doubted Him, as some of his closest apostles did. Recall the apostle who demanded to see Him and to put his finger into Christ's side, only then saying, "My Lord and my God!" (Matthew 28:8-10).
Christ performed not a few miracles, and continues to perform them in the lives of each of us. Blinded minds, however, often fail to see the obvious. This is especially true of men, who today put even more faith in reason than they did two thousand years ago. Therefore, Christ's appeal to the heart and soul of mankind is even today directed to women: "Go and tell my brothers!" This means first and foremost to those nearest to us by blood: to our husbands, brothers, and sons. We thirst for their salvation and they, having come to believe and accept Jesus Christ, do more than we do: they preach; they make others see things reasonably; they exhort; and they do all this having received the impulse from our heart.
In the Home
One role women perform is to strive to create Christian families. One family, if that family is Christian and united by a spiritual principle, can have an enormously positive influence. Even though Christ gave preference to spiritual kinship, He never once denigrated the role of the family. Through Paul and Silas we have the promise, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household" (Acts 16:31). A perverse, twisted, one-sided, and over-simplified reading of Christ's word has misled some to think they can leave their families, children, and elderly parents in order to enter into so-called Christian communities. By strengthening our love and faith for our families, we should prove that Christ, who called on us to love our neighbors, never meant anyone to interpret his words as a justification for leaving our families.
In the Arts
Women who possess professional skills and are filled with God's love can create and lead groups of adults and children who have common interests, such as music, painting, various folk crafts--in a word, any activity that involves creativity. Such groups are easy to organize and they provide ample opportunities for evangelism. With a good leader a feeling of mutual faith and love arises easily and naturally. While in Corinth Paul stayed with a certain Jew named Aquila, and he stayed with him precisely because he and Aquila shared a common profession. Common work soon grew beyond a business tie, and the household of Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, became a place of domestic worship (Acts 18:1-3).
Creativity, which is instilled in each of us, can bring us closer to God. Even with the limitless heterogeneity of creative manifestations, the most surprising facet is still that in creating something, we are creating ourselves. And this is precisely what our Creator bade us do when he said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness" (Genesis 1:26), and imparted to man a will, freedom, and authority. Even when sending man out of the Garden of Eden, God bade him to cultivate the land. We need to apply all our energies so that the path which has been shown us by Jesus Christ reaches perfection, so that God, looking down upon us and upon all of the rest of his creation will say: "It is good." Another useful aspect of such work lies in the fact that, whether done by children or adults, creative work has a certain material worth, and this makes possible charitable sales: "Work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need" (Ephesians 4:28).
In Assisting the Needy
Another opportunity for involving women in active work is the rendering of assistance to disabled people in rehabilitation centers or at home. Very often people with physical disabilities thirst to find some sort of support in faith. I became convinced of this from my own experience working in a center for posttraumatic rehabilitation. If we need the Word of the Lord as much as our daily bread, then people like this need it like they need air. This help can be rendered to them either through brothers and sisters in Christ working with them as service staff in an institute, or by visiting them at home. Regrettably, there are quite a few disabled people who are completely alone, weary, and verging on hopelessness. Their hearts are receptive soil for sowing seeds.
In conclusion, the end of the age is approaching; technological development is leading us headlong towards an ecological catastrophe; and the enmity that has filled us has led to numerous wars. Self-destruction threatens us. Thus it's time, my dear sisters, for us to do as the Apostle Paul once bade our brothers do: robe ourselves in the full armor of God and, having taken up our spiritual sword, our shield of faith, and our helmet of salvation, to go forth and stand against all the machinations of the devil. Perhaps the day is approaching when, as the prophet Jeremiah spoke, "The Lord will create a new thing on earth: a woman will save a man" (Jeremiah 31:22; literal English translation of Russian Synodal version). Let us raise up a prayer in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that our hearts would burn with pure love and that, in the heat of this love, all evil that reigns in this world would be consumed.
Maria Stepanovna Gevorkian was born in Yerevan, Armenia, in 1949. She graduated in 1973 from the Yerevan Foreign Language Institute, and in 1997 she completed a one-year Bible school program. As a child, she attended the Armenian Apostolic Church. Since 1994 she has been a member of the Methodist Church, where she leads a Bible study for teenagers and teaches knitting. Profits from craft sales are used for charitable causes.
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© 1998 Institute for East-West Christian Studies