It was a small, tightly knit town. Everyone knew about everyone else's lives -- especially those who were in disgrace. So when the "evangelist" with the shady past rushed back into town and proclaimed that the Christ was on the outskirts, they had reason to be skeptical. Instead, John 4:39 records, "Many... from that town believed in Him because of the woman's testimony."
From the beginning Jesus released women into evangelism -- and they've been obeying Him ever since.
In fact, in the late 19th century North American women were so enthusiastic about missions, they began forming "cent societies" to give a penny a week to missions (all they could afford out of their meagre household allowance.) Because existing missions refused to send single missionaries (only wives accompanying their husbands were accepted) they gradually formed almost 50 Women's Mission Societies. By 1929, 67% of North American missionaries were women.
By the mid-1900s these organizations had merged with denominational missions; women gradually disappeared from leadership; and missions lost a valuable resource. R. Pierce Beaver wrote in All Love's Excelling, that women's special gifts were lost -- "the power of heart as well as intellect, the important feminine intuition, her impatience with bureaucratic procrastination and endless discussion before action."
During the past half century, women's roles around the world have changed. With greater opportunities for education and more open doors for service, women are impacting the growth of the church everywhere. However, women are still the greatest untapped resource in the world for evangelism.
Some have asked, "Why do we need a Women's Track?" All the other AD 2000 Tracks relate to function -- no others focus on race, nationality or gender. Is this a way of keeping women out of the main stream of the Movement, downplaying their importance or contributions? Decidedly not!
The Mobilization of Women Track enhances, encourages and brings visibility to the role of women in world evangelization. We rejoice in the growing number of women participating in other tracks where they are contributing their gifts toward building up the Body. But until there is equality and ability to work side-by-side with the rest of the leaders of the church, there are valid reasons for the existence of a separate track.
At our Central American consultation women grappled with the problems of reaching professional, single and Indian women through the church. "This is the first time we were asked to think through issues and find solutions," one woman enthusiastically commented.
An Eastern European woman testified that she was ready to quit because of the barriers she faced in leading the women's ministry in her church. But after attending our European consultation, and hearing other women share how they overcame obstacles in their ministries, she went home recommitted to building up the Body.
An Arab pastor testified that women are the key to reaching Muslims because they have such great influence on their children -- especially on their sons even after they are married.
When children see their mothers praying, burdened for the lost, knowledgeable and caring about an unreached world and involved in evangelism, the torch will be carried to the next generation. The Women's Track seeks to focus women's hearts in that direction.
The AD 2000 Women's Track does not seek to perpetuate a wall of division between men and women in the service of the King. Rather it seeks to mature women's gifts and break down barriers -- so they can become fully integrated into God's program as He intended, and to be "fellow-workers" as they were with Paul in the early church. This God-designed synergism is more likely to help to reach the goal of a "church for every people and the gospel for every person" than if we work alone.
Prayer triplets in 180 countries praying for the unreached; national and regional consultations following GCOWE to keep momentum going and to share news ideas and models; mission vision accelerated -- (a) targeting 3 or more unreached people groups; (b) short term women's mission projects in each country; (c) fundraising to cover these activities; and harmonious cooperation between women's groups of various denominations and nationalities and with the national AD 2000 initiatives in prayer, planning and carrying responsibilities.Lorry Lutz, U.S.A.
Chairperson, coordinator and 12 regional representatives met in 1991 and 1993 to pray, strategize and plan.
Women leaders in more than 150 countries have become involved in the Movement. In Africa, the AD 2000 Women's Track is the prayer and evangelism arm of the Pan African Christian Women's Association. Lausanne Associate Robyn Claydon also serves as the regional representative for AD 2000.
We have held 13 regional consultations between 1992 and the end of 1994. The North American Women's Track has held three consultations. Two European consultations were held -- one in Austria and the other in Poland.
Written for the Women's Track by Evelyn Christenson, this prayer manual has been translated into 23 languages and printed in 18. Pick up a free English copy. Non-North Americans may purchase bulk copies virtually at cost. Other languages are also available at the OM book table.
This quarterly newsletter provides news of the Women's Track, models of women in ministry, and global prayer requests for women and related matters. Available in English, French and Spanish, it is distributed in more than 180 countries.
Outreach visits by representatives sponsored by AD 2000: