Church

28
Feb

Unity in Christ Series

GUEST POST: BETHANY IVIE

Candles at Believers Verse

There is an epidemic of loneliness in our culture today. The news is full of stories about suicides and other tragic events that are all a product of broken, lonely hearts that have nowhere to turn.

Did you know that women are nearly twice as likely to experience depression as men? We believe this is due to the lack of genuine relationships that we are able to form as our lives have become so busy.

The Church Has an Amazing Opportunity

After reaching out to over one hundred local churches in a recent campaign, we found that the vast majority of churches do not have a formal women’s ministry. This needs to change. Women need a place to connect and grow spiritually.

We spend so much of our time focused on others, we should have a safe place to come together and focus on our own spiritual well-being. This can happen at church through mentoring, Bible study, or prayer.

Developing healthy relationships among Christian women is important and the church should be supporting its female members by providing this opportunity.

The Church is a Community

Whether it is a specific women’s ministry or just providing opportunities for women to get together, the church should be a place where women can connect. In Acts chapter 2, Luke speaks of the church.

He says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.”

Could you imagine a church where there was no disagreement and we all sold everything we had to help one another out of a sincere love and sense of community?

The Church Does not Have Immunity

In John 16:33, we are promised that even after we dedicate our life to Christ, we will still face difficulties. John says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

We will all encounter difficult circumstances. If the church comes together as the community it was intended to be and takes advantage of the opportunities it has to serve it’s members, we will have a place to turn for comfort and support during those hard times.

Comm(UNITY) Ministries for Women

Before Jesus was taken to be crucified, he prayed for his disciples and us specifically as their followers. He cried out to God, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Our mission as a ministry is to be the bridge between women who are active in the church and those who struggle to find their place in the Christian community. We want to provide a safe-haven for women to come together in Christ where they will be empowered through the study of God’s word to go out and serve others.

We are striving to create the unity that Jesus prayed for, and we would love for you to be a part.


 

Bethany Ivie

This post was written by Bethany Ivie. Bethany is the co-founder of Comm(UNITY) Ministries for Women and owner of The Ivie League. She left her her teaching career after five years in the classroom to follow God’s call into women’s ministry. As a certified Christian life coach and published writer, she is passionate about equipping and encouraging other women to fulfill their God-given potential. She is a wife and mother of three as well as a member of the church choir and women’s ministry leadership team. You can connect with her on Facebook in the Community of Christian Women.

28
Feb

Uniting the Sisterhood

Proverbs 31_26

Unity is a critical topic these days. Seems everything is fractured around us – from long-term marriages ending in divorce, to the local church searching for yet another senior pastor, to the vicious infighting within the country’s political parties. Everywhere we turn, we see division.

So what does unity mean? Merriam Webster defines unity as “the state of being in full agreement”. In this age of tolerance, everyone is encouraged to speak his/her own opinion. We are certainly finding fewer opportunities for agreement and more situations settled with the “we’ll have to agree to disagree” mentality.

However, the Bible clearly speaks of unity among the followers of Christ. In fact, all throughout the Bible we are given examples of unity:

  • The creation and joining of man and woman (Gen. 1:27-28, Matt. 19:5)
  • The Lord’s instruction to the nation of Israel to remain as one (Deut. 7:6)
  • The spreading of the gospel beyond the borders of Jerusalem to all the world (Mark 16:15)
  • The actions taken by the newly formed Church (Acts 2:42-47)
  • The imagery of Christ, the bridegroom, and the church, His bride (Eph. 5:25-27)

Peter tells us:

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. (1 Peter 3:8 NLT)

The Amplified version states it this way: “…be like-minded [united in spirit]”.

Isn’t it interesting that unity is determined by the actions of individuals? Each of us plays a role in sustaining a harmonious body of followers. And although we don’t always agree with each other on everything, there are some core values we have to agree upon to be a unified church:

  1. The Bible is the Word of God and true in its entirety.
  2. Jesus is the son of God who came and walked among us, died for our sins on a cross, and was raised to life three days later.
  3. We must accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Without this vital connection, we are not a part of the true Church.
  4. Our role in the body of Christ is, and forever will be, a servant’s role no matter the position.

And what of women in the Church? Well there is just something endearing when Christian women unite for the sake of the gospel. Perhaps the tenderness that we can channel gives us the ability to be key players in the church. But we must always be conscious of certain emotions which may sneak in and attempt to trip us up. Jealously, envy, and insecurity should have no place among us. Oh, I pray that grace abounds (Romans 5:20) in our hearts today. That at this moment, your heart is swelling up with love for your Christian sisters and that your arms ache to hug their necks. I pray that words of encouragement are ready to just fall off the tips of your tongues as you engage each other. Today, let’s stand united. Right here and right now! Take a moment to lift up your hands and tell God how grateful you are to be counted among your fellow Christian sisters!

Blessings!


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.