Women Without Borders multiplies impact of ministry leaders
They are two big reasons behind Women Without Borders, a cross-cultural partnership between ReachGlobal and the La Unión de Damas (The United Women’s Ministry) of the Venezuelan Evangelical Free Church.
By hosting workshops, providing study materials, helping organize conferences where women can meet, and connecting younger women with mentors, WWB tries to equip women leaders with tools they can use to strengthen their ministries.
Helping leaders lead
Along the way, they build a sense of community and competence. WWB focuses on assisting women like Carmen Matienzo, a Peruvian ministry leader whose team organized a recent women’s conference in Lima. The conference provided a valuable opportunity for women to meet each other, but to sit in on workshops such as “How to Grow in Devotion to God” and hear biblical teaching from other women.
“There have been changes in the spiritual growth of the women, in them working out of their gifts and talents,” Carmen says. “The women are more encouraged to get involved in discipling other women, in leading Bible study groups and in getting to know women from other churches and sharing their concerns, desires, services [and] ministries.”
For four years, a small team from WWB (including Rebecca, a ReachGlobal missionary serving in Latin America), has been traveling to churches in Venezuela, Colombia, Honduras and Peru to help equip women for ministry.
This often means meeting with small groups of leaders, from three to 20 women. Sometimes it means helping local groups that are hosting events such as the Lima conference, which drew about 140 women from eight local churches.
Building women up
Of all the things that WWB does – including encouragement, organizing conferences, visiting local ministries and setting women up with mentors – perhaps the most important thing is to give women the confidence and training they need to carry out ministry successfully, Rebecca says.
“Really the focus of the what the ministry does is coming alongside them, hearing their story, giving validity to what they’re facing and helping them to [find] solutions,” Rebecca says, “which gives them confidence because they have women around them basically saying, ‘You’re not alone, and you’re not the only one to face this — here’s some things you can do, and you can do it.’”
So far, WWB has focused on leaders such as Carmen because through local leaders, WWB can multiply its efforts more effectively. So far, Rebecca estimates that WWB has met with about 300 women in the Free Churches through which it has held its events.
In its workshops and mentoring, WWB tries to focus on helping women in three areas:
- Spiritual development: For example, identifying spiritual gifts and learning how to read the Bible better.
- Being a godly leader: Discussing issues of character, how to develop a team, how to lead a team and how to make their own devotional life a priority so that they can help others to do the same.
- How-to’s of ministry development: How to serve in difficult ministry settings, how to organize a Bible study, and how to plan for activities.
After four years of ministering in Peru, investing in those goals has begun to pay off, Rebecca says.
“What we want is that in each country, they come to a conclusion of what they can do and what the women need to help them be equipped,” Rebecca says. “That is what has happened in Peru. We are doing for them what they want us to be doing.”
Read more about ReachGlobal’s work in other countries.
Read more about Women Without Borders.
Find out more about ReachGlobal’s work in Latin America.