With “Embrace” still a new
arrow in the Baptist State Convention (BSC) ministry quiver, its director
Ashley Allen undertook a 10-stop February tour targeting each region to explain
its purpose and to connect with churches interested in starting a chapter.
After her first couple of
stops Allen, Embrace’s initial director and on the job since August 2009, said
the level of interest has been “amazing.”
To a couple dozen Region 4
ladies at Lawrence Road Baptist Church in Hillsborough Feb. 4, she outlined the
purposes and practicalities of Embrace in a two-hour presentation.
Emphasizing that Embrace’s
three intents of evangelism, discipleship and missions are all scripturally
based, she explained how the scriptures compel the ministry.
Allen, 30, expressed
particular interest in Embrace becoming a vehicle in which older women connect
with younger women in the church to share their life experiences as Christians,
helping to guide, nurture and encourage each other.
Allen says that is the Titus
2 model, in which Paul says older women should “encourage the young women to
love their husbands and children, to be sensible, pure, good homemakers, and
submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered”
She listed passages
testifying that God has “qualified and called” women to minister.
For those not sure yet what
the role of Embrace is in women’s ministry, the official definition is: Embrace
is a ministry of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina that seeks to
encourage women to walk humbly with Christ in their world and build strong
families capable of creating a legacy of faithfulness.
With an estimated 5.5
million of North Carolina’s population unsaved, according to BSC estimates, the
three intents of Embrace, evangelism, discipleship and missions, “should be our
lives,” Allen said.
While more intensive
training will be offered in April and October, this tour offered initial
handles for women wanting to get started, and Allen offered some first steps.
First, she said, “pray for
the Lord’s direction,” about starting a new ministry in the church.
Then she said women should
seek the support of their pastor. If he is not willing to inaugurate Embrace in
the church, they should “be willing to accept that decision” and assure the
pastor they trust his vision for the church.
Ladies considering launching
Embrace must ask themselves hard questions, Allen said. Who are they trying to
reach? Who is absent and why? How has the audience changed? What are the
audience’s greatest needs? What are barriers to ministry and how can they be
Women of the church should
be surveyed, and Allen offered a sample vehicle.
When “determining who God is
calling into leadership” Allen said it is very important to discern leadership
gifts as evidenced in service.
Ministry descriptions are
important to provide an avenue for accountability.
She said women should “set
the POG” which is defining the purpose, objectives and goals of their ministry.
She emphasized these elements should be compatible with the church’s mission
“Start with what you have
and undergird the ministry of the entire church,” Allen said.
Several events remain:
- Region 7 — Feb. 10 at Harris Chapel Baptist Church, Hudson.
- Region 8 — Feb. 9 at Woodlawn Baptist Church, Conover.
- Region 9 — Feb. 11 at West Asheville Baptist Church, Asheville.
- Region 10 — Feb. 12 at Holly Springs Baptist Church, Franklin.
Two other events were postponed from last week due to weather. They are at Old Town Baptist Church in
Winston-Salem (Region 5) at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 and at Rocky Hock Baptist Church in Edenton
(Region 1) Feb. 27 at 10 a.m.