Langham Preaching Global Women’s Forum
At the beginning of October I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the first ever Global Women’s Forum run by Langham Preaching, which was held in the beautiful village of Tochni in Cyprus. There were about 50 women of varying ages from 38 countries – from Africa, Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific. It was led by Ruth Slater, Associate Director of Langham Preaching, with the help of a committee of women from all around the world. I kept pinching myself as I sat down to morning tea with a group of Christian women from, say, Mongolia, Botswana, Vanuatu, Ukraine, the Philippines and Panama, and lunch with women from Bosnia-Herzogovina, Indonesia, India, Burkina Faso, Turkey, Jamaica and Costa Rica. Where else would this ever happen?
Each of the women who attended is involved in some ministry of bringing the Word of God to others. Langham Preaching ministry is not only for regular Sunday preachers, but for anyone in any kind of word ministry who opens the Bible with anyone else. It could be one person, or 100. It could be a two year old or an old person or a church congregation. Many are involved in one or more of the many Preaching Clubs – called Escualitas in Latin America – which are such an important feature of Langham Preaching.
Topics for the week came from the answers to a questionnaire sent by the organisers, canvassing the needs felt by women in the Majority World, and almost all of the teaching through the week was done by Majority World women. I loved hearing their perspectives and listening to their voices. I learnt so much, and their perspectives were so valuable! Everything was translated into Spanish, or when the Spanish speakers were presenting, into English, either by an Argentinian, or sometimes by a young woman from Turkey.
Devotions each morning were all around Mary’s Song in Luke 1. Tuesday was led by the African women, Wednesday by the European women, Thursday by the lovely Latinas, and Friday by the Asia Pacific women. We talked about the way that when God asks something that takes us well outside our comfort zone – as He did for Mary – He also equips us and often gives us a community of others who will support us. The Forum was one such community for the women who attended. We talked about being women of conviction, of obedience, of courage and of determination. And we talked about passing on our knowledge of God to the next generations.
Other topics included the Biblical examples of the way men and women can work together under God, ways to find, train, encourage and raise up the next generation of preachers of God’s word, the values that underpin our ministries, ways to improve Preaching Clubs, to evaluate our own speaking, the importance of reconciling public and private lives so that we are people of integrity, and being wise in taking care of ourselves in ministry. There were many stories of both joy and pain told by the women, who come from very different environments. Some feel encouraged in their work for God, others feel silenced and saddened by their setting. We talked about the difficulties of living in honour/shame cultures, and about living in cultural settings where being a Christian is hard, and being a Christian woman can be even harder.
Among the stories were many from women who have been nurtured and helped to flourish by the work of Langham Preaching. I was so deeply moved by many of their stories and it felt like a real privilege to hear their words of honesty and sometimes of vulnerability. It made me even more determined to support this important work with all my heart.
This post first appeared in the Langham Partnership Australia November eNewsTags: Cyprus, Langham Preaching, Ruth Slater