Manyano – Session 8

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Sections

Us to God: Worship and prayer

Start this session with song and prayer. Some weeks, you could also make time for prayer requests and ask women to share prayer items.

Me to us: Sharing

Choose one of the questions below to share your stories. If the group consists of more than eight people, divide into smaller groups.

  • What do you do when you feel overwhelmed with everybody’s expectations of you?
  • Where have you seen men and women working together as equals? How did God use their different gifts to glorify His Name?
  • How can we handle disagreements in such a way that it does not bring harm to the church?
  • Where have you seen men and women working together as equals? How did God use their different gifts to glorify His Name?

God to us: Preaching

An apostle is someone who is sent to preach and plant a church.
The word apostle actually means one who is sent out to do something. Apostles are sent with the authority of the one who sent them, and have to report back to him.

Apostle first referred to the twelve disciples of Jesus, together with Barnabas and James, the brother of Jesus (Acts 13:2; Galatians 1:19). After Jesus returned to heaven these apostles had to lead the new church. Later Paul was also added as an apostle. Their duties were to preach, teach and manage the church. When it became too much for them, their tasks were divided (Acts 6). The apostles continued with preaching and praying (Acts 6:4). Other people were chosen to handle the work of compassion (Acts 6:2-3).

The other main use of the word apostle in the New Testament is as preacher and church planter. Today we call people who do this work missionaries. Many women have been doing this work from the time of the Bible up to today.

Romans 16 speaks of a number of women who were leaders in the early church.
In Romans 16 Paul writes about a number of women who had leading positions in the early church. Phoebe served the church at Cenchreae and helped many people (Romans 16:1-2). The word used for her service is the same as the word for deacon. Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, were Paul’s “fellow-workers in the service of Christ Jesus”. They risked their lives to help him and were a blessing to all churches among the people who were not Jews, the so-called Gentile churches (Romans 16:3-4).

We also read of Junias (or Junia) who was “well-known among the apostles” (Romans 16:7). Junia is a woman’s name. It is not quite clear whether she was actually an apostle, or only someone who worked with the apostles.

Throughout Chapter 16 of Romans it is clear that men and women worked together in the service of the Lord to build up the churches of Christ.

Women did the same work as the apostle Paul.
We read of two other women who did the same work as the apostle Paul. They were Euodia and Syntyche. Paul mentioned them in Philippians 4:2-3, “Euodia and Syntyche, please, I beg you, try to agree as sisters in the Lord. And you too, my faithful partner, I want you to help these women; for they have worked hard with me to spread the gospel, together with Clement and all my other fellow-workers, whose names are in God’s book of the living.”

Paul says that they worked hard with him as his fellow workers, not as his servants or helpers. They worked hard by teaching, preaching and spreading the Gospel. Paul knew that they had a great influence. He feared that their differences of opinion would bring harm to the church. His concern clearly shows the importance of the work these two women did.

  • An apostle is someone who is sent to preach and plant a church.
  • Romans 16 speaks of a number of women who were leaders in the early church.
  • Women did the same work as the apostle Paul.

We to the world: Growing questions

Choose one or two of the questions below that will help the group grow in their church, community and lives.

  • How and why are women’s work in the church today different from the women in Romans 16 and Philippians 4?
  • When all the work became too much for the first apostles, their tasks were divided, and they focused only on preaching and praying. What can we learn from this example?
  • Share stories of women leaders that you know or have heard about. How did God use them?
  • Share stories of women leaders that you know or have heard about. How did God use them?

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