Where will you be in the year 2020? What will you be doing? While we can’t predict the future in order to answer this question, we can be sure we are striving toward our goal as described in Philippians 3:12-16.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. [13] Brothers (sisters), I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, [14] I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  [15] All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. [16] Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

As our churches seek to have a clear (as in 20/20 eyesight) vision for the next ten years, the members of the ICOC Women’s Service Team have also envisioned several goals that are specific to women. You may ask, “What is the ICOC Women’s Service Team?” Let us give you some background. Equipped with the same doctrine and a shared desire to get the good news of Jesus out to the entire world, several committees were formed in order to help see this unity become a practical reality. This took place after the International Leadership Conference in 2007. The committees formed are (alphabetically) campus, communication and administration, elders, evangelists, HOPE worldwide and benevolence, singles, teachers, women, and youth and family. Over the past few years much progress has been made in each of these arenas.

The Women’s Service Team was formed during a time when women’s ministry was struggling to find enthusiasm and focus. Since this time, women’s ministry in our churches has been revitalized and in some cases restarted. It is our deep conviction that women in the kingdom of God can change the destiny of the lost, confused and entangled women in the world today by showing them God’s plan for them, one woman at a time. The women’s committee was formed to help us as women of God be more effective in seeing this vision become reality

Robin Williams, of Los Angeles, was selected by the Delegates to serve as chairman of this committee. She asked the following women to serve alongside her: Jeanie Shaw (Boston, MA), Anne-Brigitte Taliaferro (San Antonio, TX), Elizabeth Sin (Hong Kong, China), Gloria Baird (Los Angeles, CA), Nadine Templer (Delhi, India), Terrie Fontenot (Hampton Roads, VA), Karen Louis (Singapore), Tammy Fleming (Manchester, England), Joyce Arthur (Boston, MA), Laura Garcia (Los Angeles, CA) and Rolayo Ogbannayo (Lagos, Nigeria). In July, Elizabeth Sin resigned from the committee because of increased travel and needs in her ministry in Hong Kong and China. Elexa Lui (Hong Kong) is now serving in her place.

Originally, the goal of the Women’s Service Team was to plan the women’s portions of our International Leadership Conferences. To help facilitate that goal another sister from the city where the ILC was held was included on the committee to help plan the program for the women that year: Lena Wooten (Kiev, Ukraine) was added in 2008, Deb Cook (Denver, Colorado) in 2009 and Barbara Porter (Miami, Florida) in 2010.

In 2011 we did not have an ILC, so that we could spend more time making exciting plans for the 2012 World Discipleship Summit in San Antonio, which promises to be an incredibly memorable time. Anne-Brigitte Taliaferro is heading the subcommittee to plan our women’s program for next year. Our theme will be “One Incredible Journey”. Please make your plans to be there; you won’t want to miss worshipping and sharing with over 10,000 Lord willing.

Our goals expanded beyond planning the women’s program of conferences, in order to serve the women in a greater way. The next goal we set was to begin a website for women that would be a learning and inspirational tool for sisters all over the world. There has been a noble beginning to this task as numerous articles have been published on the Women Today portion of the Disciples Today website.

As this is being written another dimension to our women’s committee is, hopefully, soon to be approved. With the formation of the evangelists’ committee, we realized many of the women on the Women’s Service Team were also on the evangelists committee, as they were asked to work alongside their husbands on that committee. So, in an effort to streamline the number of meetings the women would be involved in, we have submitted a proposal to the delegates asking for their approval to have the wives of the men on both the evangelists’ and elders‘ committees to comprise the women’s service team. This would almost double the size of the women’s committee, but we believe it will be a move in the right direction to include more women in meeting the needs of our sisters worldwide. Our goal would be to have additional subcommittees to search out and address different needs of our sisters; i.e., articles for women, networking, single women’s needs, and resources for training in each stage of life, to name a few. We believe the unity of the evangelists‘ wives and elders‘ wives will make us stronger in meeting the needs of our sisters around the world. Our prayer is that our proposal will be approved, and that we can soon include more detailed plans for our committee in future articles.

This, the first in a 3 part series of articles, is meant to inform you of the purpose of this service committee. The second article is designed to inspire you to understand your value as you seek to grow as women disciples of Jesus and as we all make him known to women around the world. It will also appeal to each of us as women to understand how needed each one of is in this endeavor. We will also appeal for each of us to appreciate our global diversity as we are united in Christ as one body. (1 Corinthians 12:12-20)

Part 3 of this article will share where we want to go from here and opportunities we would like to see made available for the sisters throughout our churches. We wish to inform you of resources that are available now and where you can find them. We hope to offer access to a series of lessons we believe are needed for every Christian woman. We will also appeal for your engagement as you offer all you can both to your local church and to this “resource pool”. May God bless us all as we seek to serve and glorify him as his daughters all around the world. Let us give him the honor and glory in all that we do.

The Women’s Service Team