Spiritual Life Handbook

August 20, 2011

 

Greetings,

Thank you for saying “yes” to God’s call to serve the women of your church as Spiritual Life Chairman.  What an awesome privilege!

It will be your challenge to help bring the women in your church to a deeper commitment to Christ.  It will be your responsibility to help advance their spiritual growth through encouraging Bible study, prayer, observance of the Lord’s Day, family worship, and regular church attendance.

In addition, you should strive to lead the women to a better understanding of “total stewardship” by encouraging them to be faithful stewards of their time, talents and possessions.

Enclosed in this packet are several items of interest.  I want to encourage you to be creative in your ministry to the women of your church, and I have included some things that may be useful in carrying out your work this year.  You may, or may not, choose to use these ideas.  It is completely optional.  Your local church’s Women’s Ministries may have other ideas for you.

I pray that God will richly bless you and your ministry to the women of your church, and that your work will be a sacrifice of praise to Him for His great mercy and grace.

Holding on to Him,

 

Barbara Sherrill

Spiritual Life Chairman

First Presbyterial

Goals for Spiritual Life Ministry

First Presbyterial

 

1.       Help to bring the women in our churches to a deeper commitment to Christ and seek to advance their spiritual growth through:

  • Daily personal Bible study and prayer
  • Group Bible study and prayer
  • Family and Personal Worship
  • Regular church attendance and observance of the Lord’s Day
  • Spiritual mentoring with other women
  • Observance of ARP WM Prayer Emphasis Program
  • Observance of the World Day of Prayer (first Friday in March)
  • Observance of the National Day of Prayer (first Thursday in May)

2.       Seek to lead the women in our churches to a better understanding of “total stewardship” by:

  • Encouraging faithful stewardship of time
  • Encouraging faithful stewardship of talents
  •  Encouraging faithful stewardship of possessions

 3.       Other Goals set by your local Women’s Ministry


Spiritual Life Ministry – AT A GLANCE

January – March

  • Make plans for this year’s work; share them with the WM Board in your church
  • Promote Prayer Partners and Prayer chains to the women
  • Begin your own and encourage other women to begin Prayer Journals
  • Hold a Prayer Emphasis Program (suggested program is printed in the November issue of The ARP Magazine)
  • Plan and promote a program for the “World Day of Prayer” to be observed on the first Friday of March

April – July

  • Encourage spiritual growth through family worship and personal prayer time
  • Stress the importance of regular church attendance and observance of the Lord’s Day
  • Encourage the women to be faithful stewards of their time, talents, and possessions
  • Encourage participation in the “National Day of Prayer”, held the first Thursday in May
  • Encourage the women to attend the Family Bible Conference
  • Encourage the women to attend the annual ARP WM meeting

August – December

  • Promote and attend the annual Presbyterial Meeting
  • Receive and review your Spiritual Life notebook from your predecessor
  • Promote and attend the Presbyterial Women’s Ministries Retreat at Bonclarken
  • Encourage attendance at First Presbytery’s Spiritual Life Conference
  • Pray for the women in your church, especially the WM officers and Bible study Leaders
  • Promote the planned Bible study among all the women in your church. Be sure study books have been purchased.
  • Ask your pastor to preach a sermon on total “Stewardship”

Bible Study:

Most local women’s ministries have already planned for a particular Bible study for this year. The ARP Women’s Ministries Spiritual Life Committee has recommended two books on David; David the Annointed by Daniel Doriani and David: Encountering the King Who Reigned in Power by Michael Bentley. Many churches study a different book of their own choosing and that’s just fine. The important thing is that the women are studying God’s Word together and seeking to grow in their understanding of it.

If your circles usually have the Bible study along with a business meeting you might suggest that the Bible study be first on the schedule. That way if anyone is limited in the amount of time they can spend at the meeting they would be there for the most important thing—God’s Word! Ideally, (and recommended by our ARP WM Administrator) have the Bible study and business meetings at different times. This also might be an incentive for women who do not belong to circles to attend the Bible studies. You might encourage the women in the church to attend by handing out an invitation to all the women following a Sunday worship service.

If there are women who just can’t find time to attend the group Bible studies, you might suggest some of the books listed on the enclosed Recommended Reading list, for their personal Bible study. Or remind them that they can read just one Scripture verse a day when they are too busy to sit and read a whole selection from the Bible (e.g. moms of young children).

Prayer:

Most importantly under this category is to encourage the women to spend time in prayer daily. This is one of the greatest privileges and responsibilities we have as Christian women. It is so easy to let the busyness of life squeeze out prayer and quiet time with our Lord. But, it is essential for spiritual growth. Encourage the women to make prayer a priority, to schedule a time for prayer and to pray everyday.

Schedule a time during January to hold the Prayer Emphasis program. This program is usually printed in the November issue of the ARP Magazine. You can select three women to read the selections from the Magazine or invite one person to speak on the theme of the program. Suggested Hymns and Bible Songs as well as appropriate Scripture verses are listed with each section to be used. Some women schedule this on a Saturday morning and serve a continental breakfast before the program. You’ll want to schedule it at a time when the most women can attend. This is a good time to take up an offering for Outreach North America.

Promote the World Day of Prayer on the first Friday in March. This is a day when Christian women worldwide, come together in prayer. You may want to invite one speaker for this event or just get together for a time of prayer. Assign different categories for prayer to the ladies ahead of time. Examples of prayer categories might be your local church (children and youth, women, church officers, WM officers, the pastor and his family), the ARP denomination and its agencies; local, state and federal governments and officials; missionaries. You can revise this list to meet your particular needs or passions. Another possibility is to ask two or three of the women in your church to write and read a two minute selection on the topic of “How prayer has affected my life.”

The National Day of Prayer is held on the first Thursday of May. The mission of the National Day of Prayer Task Force is to communicate to every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer. Their goal is to have Americans pray for our country and its leadership in seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.

If you do not already have a “prayer chain” in your church, speak with the pastor and elders to see if that would be a possibility. In some churches the prayer chain is developed and implemented by the women of the church, but prayer requests come from all members. Most churches use the telephone to accomplish this but some also have an e-mail prayer chain as well.

Some women’s groups have “prayer partners”. This is a great way to help women to build relationships with other women. Write duplicate numbers on small pieces of paper, fold and place the numbers in a basket. Let each woman draw a number. The prayer partners would get together briefly to exchange telephone numbers, e-mails, addresses, and any special prayer requests. For the next six months (or however long you desire) they would communicate through calls, cards, lunch dates, etc. to get to know each other and update prayer requests. It is a great way to perform small acts of kindness by sending scripture verses in cards, gifts of candy or cookies, offering words of encouragement, etc. This helps get women caring for and loving each other.

Regular Church Attendance and Observance of the Lord’s Day:

Please see the attached excerpt from the Westminster Confession of Faith to which the ARP denomination adheres. It clearly states our position on worship and the Sabbath. It is important to urge the women to attend church regularly and to keep the Lord’s Day holy. You might ask the leader of your Women’s Ministry to give a devotion on the Fourth Commandment (or perhaps you could do it) at one of the women’s quarterly meetings. Or, you could suggest this to the circle leaders if they usually have a devotion before beginning their Bible studies/meetings.

A book entitled History of Psalm Singing in the ARP Church, by Dr. Calvin Smith, is available from Christian Education Ministries at the ARP Center in Greenville. The singing of psalms richly enhances our worship, both private and corporate.

Family Worship:

Attached you will find a copy of A Parent’s Guide to Family Worship, by Jay Younts. This is a free download from the internet! “ Just go to www.johnayounts.com and select family worship guide. Pass this information on to families in your church. It is a great resource. Jay Younts is author of Everyday Talk, What About War? and In Touch With Paul, Stewardship Series. He is an elder in the ARP Church. He and his wife have five grown children and reside in South Carolina. He is also a popular speaker at conferences and seminars around the country.

Stewardship:

A definition of faith according to Hebrews 11 is to trust God totally, for everything. It means to trust God for what you cannot see. Most of us really want to have this kind of faith, but in today’s world we face so much pressure to do just the opposite. Scripture tells us to be content and commit ourselves to serving God. Hebrews 12:1 says “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Ask your pastor to preach a sermon (many do this in October) about total Stewardship. Personal commitment to God gives us the freedom to see the blessings of God and have a closer walk with Him. It is important for the women to know that tithing is more than giving money to the church. Tithing is also giving of our time and talents.

It may be beneficial to have someone speak to the women of your church about “Discovering and using your gifts.” Or you could have a covered dish supper for the entire church with this program.

Enclosed there are a couple of brochures which were published by the ARP Board of Stewardship that are available from Christian Education Ministries or the book room in the Bonclarken Gift Shop. They are: “Why Do You Serve?” and “Why Not Tithe?” These are both available to churches for a minimal fee. The brochures as well as Jay Younts’ series on Stewardship (also from CEM) are good resources for churches or women’s groups.

Spiritual Life Ministry Resources

www.ARPWMADM.org is the website for ARP Women’s Ministries. This site is maintained by Elizabeth Burns, WM Administrator/Coordinator. She is a great source for information and is also a great speaker.

www.firstarpwm.info is the new website for First Presbyterial Women’s Ministries. For information and resources, as well as upcoming events such as meetings and retreats, just access this website.

The ARP Magazine – The magazine includes a Women’s Ministries section (www.ARPMAGAZINE.org)

www.BibleGateway.com is a website that gives many plans for reading through the entire Bible. Some are oriented to begin in January, but others can be started at any time

For information about the World Day of Pray or the National Day of Prayer go to their respective websites: www.wdpusa.org. and www.nationaldayofprayer.org

The ARP Christian Education Department is at the ARP Center, One Cleveland Street, Greenville, SC 29601; www.christianeducationministriesarp.org

The www.ARPBookstore.com is a great place to find printed materials, (books, brochures, etc.) for study and for programs

The Prayer Emphasis Program is published annually in the November issue of The ARP Magazine. Offerings for Outreach North America are usually taken at this time. (www.outreachnorthamerica.org

Barbara Sherrill, Spiritual Life Chairman, First Presbyterial, P.O. Box 182, Flat Rock, NC 28731; 828/698-4789; dalesherrill@bellsouth.net . Please feel free to contact me for additional information, programs, speakers, other resources, names, addresses, etc.

 

2011 – 2012

 

“…For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

  (1 Samuel 16:7)

 

Welcome to Spiritual Life Ministry!

Study the goals of your department and commit to being faithful in using the means necessary to achieve those goals. You may not be able to do everything suggested under the “goals” and your local church may have other goals and objectives for you. The important thing is that you get involved with your sisters in Christ and build relationships with them so that you can encourage them in their daily walk with the Lord.

 It is your privilege to help bring them to a deeper commitment to Christ, to encourage their spiritual growth and to lead them to becoming good stewards of all the Lord has given them. It is your responsibility to do the best job you possibly can to achieve this, fulfilling the ministry to which you have been called.