From Ruth and Naomi to Lois and Eunice to Jesus and the
Samaritan woman, scripture teaches that ministry to women is valuable and
necessary. Ministry to girls is also important, and in order for girls to
mature into godly women they need to be taught the truths of scripture and how
to practically live out those truths.
This is why the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
(BSC) recently launched GEM: Girls Embrace Ministry. GEM seeks to encourage
seventh through 12th grade girls to walk with Jesus Christ every day and to
begin now, at an early age, building a legacy of faithfulness.
Just as gems often experience a refining process before they
become precious, valuable stones, so must all believers go through times of
learning and growing as they seek to become devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.
GEM desires to teach girls that they are precious in God’s eyes and He wants to
refine, mold and shape them into women who reflect His character and who are
equipped to serve Him.
“As female leaders invest in the lives of teenage girls,
they disciple the teenage girl and help her with life issues from a biblical
perspective,” said Ashley Allen, director of Embrace women’s missions and
ministries. “GEM recognizes that the girls of today’s church are the women of tomorrow’s
church. There is an important responsibility for female leaders to teach and
train the next generation.”
GEM, like BSC’s Embrace women’s ministry, is based on three
intents found in Matthew 28:19-20: evangelism, discipleship and missions.
“GEM, in working within the context of the larger youth
ministry, needs to help young women not only foster a lifestyle of sharing
Jesus Christ with the lost people they meet, but also help teenage girls come
to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” Allen said.
Focusing on discipleship helps girls grow in their
relationship with Christ and learn how to prayerfully study and then apply
God’s Word in their lives. As girls are discipled and learn more about what it
means to follow Christ, they will learn that scripture instructs them to tell
others about Christ.
“GEM desires for women to be equipped to do Kingdom work
through service locally and globally,” Allen said.
The GEM kick off event was held Jan. 28-29 at Great Wolf
Lodge in Concord. Girls and female youth leaders gathered for fellowship,
worship and times of teaching. Merrie Johnson, BSC student ministry consultant,
joined Allen in leading the event. Rachel Lee Carter, Mrs. North Carolina USA
2009 and founder of Modeling Christ, brought the keynote address.
Becoming women of purity
Carter shared with the girls and leaders gathered for the
kick-off event that although she grew up in church, went to youth group and
prided herself on being “good,” she cared more about popularity than about
influencing her friends with the gospel.
By the time Carter was 18 she was living in her own
apartment in New York City, making $150 an hour as a professional model and, as
she described, “having the time of my life.” Yet, before long Carter was in
trouble. She began listening to music she should not have listened to, her
language turned filthy and she started practicing New Age religion. Her habits
of staying out all night at clubs and not taking care of herself physically
caused her career to suffer. “I felt helpless, hopeless and like a failure,”
When Carter had nowhere else to turn she turned to Jesus.
One night in her New York apartment, Carter “surrendered it all” to Jesus
Carter is still a professional model, but has turned her
career into an opportunity to share the gospel and how Jesus changed her life.
She teaches on what it means to be a woman who is not only pure with her body,
but also in her heart and mind. Carter shared that in all things, just as
taught in 1 Tim. 2:9, girls should regard the spiritual things and seek to
honor Christ in all they say and do.
Start GEM in your church
Allen shared with the girls and their leaders that the
intent of GEM “is not to have event, event, event. It’s about starting from the
foundation of scripture.” As older women teach the girls how to walk with
Christ, they do so in order that “the word of God will not be dishonored”
GEM will look different in each church, just as Embrace
looks different in each church. With that in mind, ministry leaders can follow
seven steps to begin GEM:
- Prayer — Leaders should pray for God to reveal His
purposes for GEM and for girls to put their trust in Him.
- Connect — Meet with the pastor and youth pastor. Ask about
their direction and vision for the ministry. Do not go forward with this
ministry unless the pastor and youth pastor agree that this is God’s will for
- Network — Talk to the girls who will be involved in GEM about
what they would like to see included in the ministry.
- Refine — Create a GEM leadership team; one person cannot
do all the work.
- POG — Determine the purpose, objectives and goals for GEM.
- Engage — Get the girls involved in GEM through Bible studies,
events and mission projects.
- Reflect — What went well? What can be done differently?
Always be looking for ways to make the ministry more effective.
Four one-day training events are being held to help equip
women’s ministry leaders to start GEM in the local church. Each event starts at
7 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. on a Friday evening. Cost is $10. Girls and women’s
ministry leaders are invited to attend.
During the regional trainings Ashley Allen, director of
Embrace, will meet with ministry leaders to discuss the how-to’s of starting
GEM, and Johnson and Carter will meet with the girls to talk about modesty and
purity in Christ.
- Feb. 18 — Apex Baptist Church
- March 4 — First Baptist Church, Dublin
- March 18 — Old Town Baptist Church, Winston-Salem
- April 8 — West Asheville Baptist Church
For more information about GEM or Embrace, visit www.embracenc.org. To
register for a regional training, call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5561.
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