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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...



AGTV Video
Connections: Arlene Allen

For Every Woman

With more than 40 years’ experience in ministry to women, Arlene Allen has served as national director of the Women’s Department of the Assemblies of God since 2003. She spoke recently with Editor Ken Horn.

evangel: Women’s Ministries has changed significantly through the years. Talk about that transition.
ALLEN:
We began in 1925 as the Women’s Missionary Council. Women across the Assemblies of God committed to pray for our missionaries and to help equip missionaries to go overseas. At the 1975 General Council the department name was changed to Women’s Ministries, with the main focus changing to discipling women and preparing them for ministry. We have never given up our passion for missions. Nationwide, women continue to give more than $11 million a year to missions. But we also want our women to understand that God has gifted them to uniquely fill their role in the body of Christ.

evangel: What are some current trends you see?
ALLEN:
I see young women involved in the conferences, retreats — in everything that I am privileged to speak at. It is good to see younger women taking the lead. A few years ago if you attended one of our events, probably the majority of the women would be over 50. We knew we had to get the younger women to realize that it’s all about them too.

evangel: You have a strong emphasis on women ministering to women. Why is that important, and what most effectively ministers to women?
ALLEN:
If you look in Titus 2, we are instructed that women should minister to women. What ministers to men doesn’t necessarily minister the same way to women. Mature women are the best models for younger women to emulate. Women understand women.

We’re encouraging small group ministries to be focused around specific interests and needs women have. Also, we want to encourage mentoring opportunities in the church for the younger women to be placed with older women, or even with women their age who understand and are more seasoned in their walk with the Lord.

evangel: Are most of our churches involved in Women’s Ministries?
ALLEN:
Women’s Ministries is women being ministered to and women ministering. So you see we believe every church has Women’s Ministries. Those churches that have reorganized their ministry to women around many small groups are the ones that are most effective. To attract and minister to a 25-year-old woman, a church’s 50-year-old program needs to change. But it’s not about a program; it’s about having small group ministry involving every woman. We have a three-dimensional design we are presenting to churches that will help them reorganize to better minister to today’s woman. It is designed around big events, maybe three times a year; and then small group ministries that have definite completion times; and finally around one-on-one connectedness.

evangel: What are some resources to help guide that process?
ALLEN:
We launched a new Web site the beginning of this year, “For Every Woman” (women.ag.org) — one Web site with three unique levels. The first level is for every woman where she can find biblical answers to her everyday problems. The second level is for that woman who is a believer and wants to discover her ministry gift and become involved. Free downloads are going to be offered for the leaders of the church to use or women individually. The third level is a membership-based site. We charge a nominal fee in order to pay for leadership material from a variety of experts.

evangel: How would you encourage a local church to move more towards what you’ve been talking about today?
ALLEN:
I would encourage them to first look at the women who make up their Sunday morning service. Then determine what small groups need to be offered to help disciple these women and minister to their needs. We have resources for every church, every leader, every woman who has a passion for ministry to women and a passion to grow herself. District women directors also offer resources and events to help disciple the women of their district. A local Women’s Ministries can grow even beyond its doors to the women of their community with meaningful ministries that meet the needs in their lives.

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