Updated: Statewide tour exposes women to Embrace
    February 8 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    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.

    BR photo by Norman Jameson

    Ashley Allen, left, discusses starting an Embrace chapter with Doris Sharper, center, and Margaret Dillon of Swan Station Baptist Church in Sanford.

    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” (HCSB).

    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 removed?

    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 statement.

    “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.
    2/8/2010 9:55:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 2 comments

It concerns me that from the beginning we were told that this ministry would not be about missions, since that is the calling/ministry of the WMU. Yet, according to the literature and this article Embrace three intents are: evangelism, discipleship and missions. Somehow this feels like a betrayal, since the WMU has always been about leading women and girls in evangelism, discipleship and MISSIONS through mentoring, mission action projects, and mission education.
2/9/2010 7:37:28 AM

Gene Scarborough
I am unclear as to what this is really all about.

Is this something to replace WMU since they have become independent? Or is this "in addition to" WMU?

Can anyone clarify what is going on?
2/9/2010 5:10:33 AM

 Security code