by: Elena Melnikova

28 Feb 2018

One more seminar of the women leadership training series, initiated by Women’s Ministry of Eurasia United Methodist Church Coordinator, Elena Melnikova, took place in October of 2017 under the umbrella of the Women’s Conference of the Volga District called “The Wise Virgins”. It was based on the biblical parable of the wise and foolish virgins, but this time we wanted to focus on what exactly makes the difference between wise and foolish, and what should we do to be among the wise ones in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

The painting of Alexandra Voronova from Samara UMC called “The foolish virgins”, which we used as the lead image for the Conference with the author’s consent, became a wonderful lesson and a source of inspiration for us. My attention was caught by one of the young ladies, painted by Alexandra, the girl wearing red gown on the picture. She seems to be not just disappointed at the lack of permission to enter the feast, but starting to understand the true meaning of what she has lost. She made me wonder, what I could do not to be in her place, but also how can I help other women to escape such fate.

The seminar traditionally consisted of the three study courses conducted by Zhanna Kim, Elena Melnikova and Irina Efremova – a ministry development; personal growth and leader’s personal development; and the effective women’s ministry program introduction. But this time it was brightened by the deep inspirational word from the DS Natalia Prokhorova, rev. Olga Ganina and rev. Nadezhda Nushtaeva, as well as the psychological training and creative workshops. Women of different ages took part in this Conference, but we were especially pleased by the proactive participation of the youth and young adults.


Here is what the participants shared about the impression the Conference left upon them:

Natalia Guryanova, the new Women’s Ministry Regional Coordinator of the Volga Region:

The Conference was very successful. Why do I think so? Because, first of all, it was a meeting with interesting people, secondly, we’ve got to hear very interesting message. I have heard a lot of useful information from our lecturers. Perhaps, they spoke of some things that we already know to some extent, but we keep forgetting them, and it is important to recall them. But also we learned a lot of new things. For example, I have never consciously set any goal in my life, but this is something I relate to and I’d love to try doing it. What do I dream about? What will be my ministry? I would like to encourage women, because many of them are too shy to serve. There are so many women in our churches, but most of them are not involved in any ministry of the church. Sometimes modesty prevents us from stepping forward, even if we are called. I was like this myself. But when you get encouragement, you can achieve a lot. And at this point you could really serve people in need around you. I believe, our mission, first of all, is to teach women, who don’t know God well enough, about God, inspire them. Acting together, we can help people around us, perform social ministry, grow spiritually and support each other.

Tatiana Kasalapova:

I liked the seminar very much, I found it very useful for me personally. For a long time I was thinking how I could gather a team for the ministry that I am called to, because people are so different and it’s so hard to get them act together. During the seminar I found out how we can use these differences in character and skills and make them serve the vision of the ministry. I also liked the way we learned to set goals, because it is so important. If you have proclaimed your goal, it’s a bit like making a commitment. Now you have to make your steps toward it, and there are no excuses. I will use all this in the development of my ministry to the Roma children. This is the dream my heart makes. It’s great that the lecturers came to share their experience… As the saying goes, two heads are better than one… The only thing I regret is that the Conference couldn’t last longer…

Anna Perestova:

I find the information we received during the Conference very helpful. There were three lecturers, but the information they shared touched different spheres and the style of teaching was different too, so we didn’t get bored. I liked the course on the ministry development as well as the course on goals. Irina Efremova shared practical wisdom on the way we can apply biblical principles to family life. And I really liked the variety of topics covered. After this Conference I would like to reshape the ministry I lead. We are very creative, but we need more structure and discipline. I want to encourage other members of our praise team (our ministry is praise and worship) to participate more actively, to take the responsibility and take the initiative. I will rethink my role in the ministry, I will try to set measurable goals and reach them.

Also read the article of Elena Melnikova: “Women leadership empowerment academy”

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Artist Voronova Alexandra.