Women in Disciple Making Movements- Why Not Women?

women in ministry

There is a simple way to almost immediately double or triple the number of people you are reaching with the gospel. What could that be? If you properly understand the key roles women can play in Disciple Making Movements (DMMs),  your discipleship fruit will leap forward. They may even double or triple.

The tremendous potential of mobilizing and releasing women is a blind spot for some. There are various reasons for a hesitation to release women in ministry.  This article can not address them all.  For more on this, please read the chapter in my book, The Multiplier’s Mindset: Thinking Differently About Discipleship. It covers this mindset shift more fully. In this article, I hope to shine some light on this topic, share my story, and take a brief look at scripture.

The goal is not to convince you of a particular position.  I hope, instead, to show you a key to growing a movement rapidly.  By considering changes in how you release women, many more lost people can come into the Kingdom of God.

Women In Disciple Making Movements – Serving as Key Players

Female disciples can serve as evangelists, disciple-makers, trainers of disciple-makers, and as very key players in disciple-making movements.  Jesus certainly saw this!  So did Paul.  Modern-day apostles like Loren Cunningham of Youth With A Mission have also lifted women to important roles.  Doing this has always brought an increase in spiritual harvest.

women in disciple making movements

Women played key roles in the movement that started in Jesus’ time. We find them playing a key role in the new churches described in the book of Acts as well.  Historically, there are also many instances where the release of women in ministry was key to the church’s rapid growth in a nation or people group.  China and Korea are just two examples.

If you are serious about seeing thousands of unreached people become disciples of Jesus quickly, you can not afford to ignore the vital need for women to be active in Disciple Making Movements (DMMs). They can and should serve in key roles such as; evangelists, disciple makers, and even leaders of a growing movement.

The Struggle To Embrace My Call & Gifts

Here’s a little of my personal story. My husband and I both felt a call to church planting among the unreached when we were in our twenties.  Obeying God’s call, we moved to Asia and began to learn a local language.

In our early years of ministry, we were still figuring out who we were. We experimented with many different types of things.  We were discovering our spiritual gifts.

As the years passed, it became clear that God had given me the gifts of teaching and leadership.  I also began to flow in a gift of faith.  My deep passion and desire for pioneering work in new areas and for ministry among the unreached made me wonder if I might have an apostolic gifting as well.

My husband’s gifts also became clearer as we worked in various roles.  He is very strong in the gift of helps and hospitality.

Wait!  These were not the typical giftings that our denomination normally ascribed to men and women.  Were we wrong to use these gifts?  Should we try to be different or more “normal”?

I then studied 1 Corinthians 12 and was especially struck by verses 7 and 11.  Verse seven said that it was God who gave gifts to each person.  Verse eleven emphasizes how the Spirit is the One who distributes these gifts as He determines.

“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”- 1 Cor 12:11- NIV

So, if God had given me the gift of leadership, the gift of teaching, and a passion in my heart to pioneer New Kingdom work in new places among the unreached…who was I to tell God that wasn’t allowed?

With God’s help, I embraced the gifts He had chosen in His wisdom to give me.  I knew then that women in Disciple Making Movements had a place. They had a spiritual inheritance to claim.

These gifts may not fit the cultural and stereotypical norms in my denomination and I may be a bit “out of the box” for some people.

The Unreached Are Worth Our Sacrifice

Had we not made that decision as a couple, we may have been a bit more comfortable at times. But there would be hundreds who would not have been trained as disciple-makers, movements that hadn’t been launched, and unreached people who would not have met Jesus and experienced His love transforming their lives had we taken that path.  It was not an easy choice to make and there were sacrifices and challenges along the way.  God chose me to bear fruit, and He chose women in Disciple Making Movements to play a key role. I’m so glad I said, “Yes!” to His calling.

The Church Must Lead The Way

There are many cultures where women are oppressed by society and culture.  Jesus did more than any other historical figure to uplift and restore women to their place in the Kingdom.  Sin and Satan put women under oppression, but Jesus came to set them free.  The church must lead the way in releasing women to fully develop and use the gifts and talents God gives them.

Women in Disciple Making Movements need to be encouraged as disciplers and evangelists.  They need to be trained.  We ladies need to be welcomed to the “team.”  Giving women simple training, encouragement, and blessing to do Kingdom work can greatly multiply disciples!

In one mountain village, we trained Indian church planters about releasing women to do evangelism.  One of them went back and trained the women in his church to share their testimonies with others.  They then shared with hundreds and many, many came to faith.  After that, they were much more active than the men he trained.  Women are often part of those we call faithful and fruitful.  Remember, train those people more and focus on them!

How will you take action this week to encourage and train women around you as disciple-makers? 


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