I've just been elected as my church Women's Ministries leader. Where do I find out what I am supposed to do?
First, contact your conference Women's Ministries Director for information and resource material. If there is no director in your Conference, contact the union Women's Ministries Director. Reviewing the Job Description here on our web site will be helpful to you. The General Conference Women's Ministries has Resource material available as well. Two suggested resources you can order are Organizing Your Women's Ministries Committee and How to Begin Women's Ministries in the Local Church. After you have read them you will know where to begin.
What is the Women's Ministries Leadership Certification program?
The certification program is a series of seminars designed to equip women to serve in leadership roles within the church. It is divided into three levels of study, each with certain core requirements and some electives. A total of 10 seminars must be completed from each level to receive certification in that level. You will find a more complete answer as well as information on how you may become involved at the following link: Leadership Certification.
What can I do if there is no Women's Ministries in my church? Or conference?
Contact your conference leadership and request guidance on starting a local Women's Ministry. If there is no conference Women's Ministries director, then contact your union director.
About the devotional book: Where can I get it? Who can write for it? What is its purpose?
The devotional book is 365 personal spiritual stories, experiences, and insights written by women for women. Any woman can write for it though authors are not paid in any way. All proceeds from the book go to fund scholarships for young women. Click here for more information.
What special days does Women's Ministries observe?
There are three principal days:
Women's International Day of Prayer (First Sabbath in March)
Women's Ministries Emphasis Day (Second Sabbath in June)
Abuse Prevention Emphasis Day (Fourth Sabbath in August)
The Women's International Day of Prayer provides an opportunity for women and men worldwide to strengthen bonds of spirituality and corporate faith through a day dedicated to the celebration of prayer. Women's Ministries Emphasis Day is an occasion for local Women's Ministries to educate the general membership about the purposes and ministries of the department. Abuse Prevention Emphasis Day provides an opportunity for local churches to address the issues of abuse, educate their memberships, and reach out to victims.
There is a packet supplied for each of these days to help you in your planning if you should wish to use it (click on the link above and it will take you to the material), but you are free to plan your own program also.
What is the difference between Dorcas and Women's Ministries?
Because both involve women there is a great deal of confusion in many places. Very briefly, there are three principle differences:
Women's Ministries is a full church department for the nurture and empowerment of women in all areas of ministry. Dorcas is the community outreach of the Sabbath School Personal Ministries Department.
The primary objective of Dorcas is to reach out to the poor and needy in the community, principally non-church members. Women's Ministries is for the spiritual growth of the women in the church. From that spiritual base they are encouraged to become involved in a ministry-it may be in the home, the church, or the community; these ministries may be composed of just women or they may be working along side the men of the church.
Women's Ministries provides many resources and training to help each woman become the best woman she can, using the gifts God has given her. There is church leadership at almost all levels to accomplish this; Dorcas is organized for training in a few places and has almost no special resources for this. Women's Ministries also has many retreats and congresses to help women develop personally and professionally, as well as spiritually.
Where and how can I learn about mentoring?
Your local women's ministries leaders may have established mentoring programs in which you can participate or resources on the subject which they can provide for you. If you are the local leader there are several resources available from this website (see Resources page) including a brochure entitled Mentoring Young Women and the Women's Ministries Revised Handbook. There is also a seminar on mentoring in the Leadership Certification program that you can order.
How does Women's Ministries relate to the feminist movement?
It really does not. Both are concerned for women and are against sexism, but the feminist movement has earned a bad name because of some of its stands and tactics. Many feel that feminism isn't even in touch with the real needs of women in the twenty-first century, needs to address issues such as prostitution, sex slavery, illiteracy, abortion, AIDS, poverty, etcetera.
Women's Ministries, however, is based on the fact that God created women and values and gifts them just as He does men. Women's Ministries desires that women have the opportunity to use their gifts and fully participate in the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It therefore seeks to address all the needs of women within a biblically based value system.
Is it all right for a woman to teach a Sabbath School class or preach?
Absolutely. The only prerequisite for individuals performing such functions is that they be members of the church in regular standing. For more detailed information refer to the Church Manual, pages 96 and 98. You can also find helpful information in the article written by Angel Rodriguez entitled "Women's Ministries and the Bible."
I want to nominate someone for the Woman of the Year. How do I do that?
The Woman of the Year awards are given out by the Association of Adventist Women. The Women's Ministries Department is not involved with it in any way. Requests for information regarding the award should be sent to :
Toini Harrison, Woman of the Year Coordinator
24414 University Avenue, #167
Loma Linda, CA 92354
Phone: (909) 799-5448
What programs or materials do you have for young women and sexual purity?
There are a number of resources on the subject available from the Resources section of this website. These include three different booklets from the Scriptographic Series, a seminar from Level 1 of the Leadership Certification program, and a brochure entitled Women's Ministries and Our Teens. Advent Source also offers several resources. An excellent non-Adventist source that many of our leaders have found helpful is True Love Waits.
I'm curious about the history of Women's Ministries. When did it begin?
Briefly, Women's Ministries was originally started in 1898 by Mrs. S. M. I. Henry who served as its first director. When Mrs. Henry died in 1900 no new director was appointed and the work begun under her died out. The idea of such a specialized ministry was taken up again beginning in 1973. Over the next 22 years the concept gained momentum. At the division level, North America began Women's Ministries in 1989 and the General Conference voted the Office of Women's Ministries at the Annual Council in 1990 under the leadership of Rose Otis. In 1995 the General Conference in Session voted that Women's Ministries should become a full department. Between 1990 and 1996 each Division established its own Women's Ministries department. Heather-Dawn Small serves as Director of the General Conference Department of Women's Ministries; Raquel Arrais is the Associate Director.
I've heard about six challenge issues in Women's Ministries. What are they and how can I help?
The six challenge issues are areas of particular concern for women. They are abuse, health risks, leadership training and mentoring, literacy, poverty, and work load. Each of these challenges is an opportunity for ministry. Your local women's ministries may already have ministries to address some of these issues which you may become involved in. If such programs do not yet exist you can start your own using support and resources from your Women's Ministries directors. To learn more about these issues click here.
Does Women's Ministries have sermons by women available to use? How do I get one or more?
Yes, we do. You can go to Sermon of the Month and find a new sermon each month or a variety or sermons that have been specifically prepared for or by women. There are also sermons that are part of the Special Day Packets for this year and those from past years that are archived that are available. Don't be afraid to develop your own. You might want to begin with some of the stories of women in the Bible as you can identify with those women.
Who should I contact to request a Women's Ministries speaker to speak at my church for a special event?
Start at your Conference. If they are unavailable or cannot recommend anyone, then ask your Union.
I'm having a retreat weekend and want some thing special to give out. What do you suggest?
Several giveaway items are available for sale in the Resources section of this webpage. These include items such as buttons, pens, gold seals, bookmarks, and postcards which range in cost from five to thirty-five cents per item. Small handmade items created by craft-gifted women within your church would most likely also be greatly appreciated.