by: Elena Melnikova

9 Oct 2017

A women ministry seminar for the Southern District of the United Methodist Church of Eurasia, called Women Leadership Empowerment Academy, took place on August 29 – September 3, 2017 in Golubitskaya village near Anapa city by the shore of the Azov sea.

The new regional women ministry coordinator for the Southern District, Oksana Abramova, shares her impressions:

“We started every morning praising God, praying, reading and meditating on the “Upper room” devotions under the guidance of our District Superintendent, Irina Mitina.

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Right after it, Zhanna Kim led us in our morning exercises to the lively tunes of the Zumba dance. Following the generous breakfast made of the locally grown Kuban food, sisters gathered together to study in the Women Leadership Empowerment Academy. It was the blessed opportunity to learn something new about planting a new church ministry according to the WHOWHY pattern, about setting and achieving the S.M.A.R.T goals for your life, about practical matters of solving family conflicts living with a non-believer. The courses were presented by Elena Melnikova, Zhanna Kim and Irina Efremova. And in the evening everyone has got an opportunity to reveal her gifts and talents participating in the Bible drama storytelling. When the time came to go home, we all felt sorry for having to part. But, thanks God, we all have various media means we can use to keep in touch with each other and share our experience putting our new knowledge into action. And the most important of all – every participant couldn’t wait to implement the course materials in her own community.”

This seminar continues the series of the leadership empowerment training for women, suggested and organized by the Women Ministry Coordinator of Eurasia UMC, Elena Melnikova. This training started to take place in various parts of Eurasia since the fall of 2016, both in the form of a separate event, and as a number of sessions and workshops within other bigger events. It was held in Voronezh, Ushtobe, and Vladivostok. In the near future the seminar will be hosted by Samara, St. Petersburg and some other regions.

“It all began, – as E. Melnikova recalls, – when a group of enthusiastic women just realized that their own experience in ministry, participation in various events and educational programs has prepared them to organize and conduct events, that could encourage and empower others for ministry. We could share our own experience, give practical advice and tips that could help to make women ministry in local communities more effective. T. Fuller once said that if you have knowledge, let others lit their lights from you. I believe that this is exactly what the Christian discipleship is all about. And of course, we don’t come just to teach. We come to study and get inspired from each other as well. A women ministry is not an innovation. Every church has it in one form or another. My goal is to coordinate efforts of many of those who serve, to help others to find out about existing effective women ministries, to help to engage with the positive experience and to study from the negative one so, that the women ministry in Eurasia in general could bear more fruit into the Kingdom of God.”

There are three educational blocks in the Women Leadership Empowerment Academy program – the design and development of the new church/community ministry; leader’s personal growth and development; an effective women ministry program introduction (the one participant could take home and implement in their local communities). One of the key elements of the program is spotting the regional leader for the ministry and – upon the approval of the District Superintendent, – appointing the regional women ministry coordinator, who will see it to the development of this ministry on a district/regional level on a regular basis. And of course, as any Christian program, this seminar contains lots of inspirational spiritual practices and creative style.

If you are interested in this program, please don’t hesitate to contact Elena Melnikova at elabeto@mail.ru, whether it is about participation in the seminar or about hosting the seminar in your district, region or local church or community.

Text, photos, translate by pastor Elena Melnikova