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Women’s conference focuses on relational evangelism

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–A call to spread the Gospel through everyday relationships highlighted the Southeastern Women’s Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.

The Feb. 18 conference, the first of what the seminary hopes will be an annual event to train and encourage women’s ministry leaders from churches in the region, featured the North American Mission Board’s Gospel presentation program HeartCall.

Jaye Martin, author of HeartCall, shared how three simple pictures -– a heart, a cross and an arrow -– can help women be more intentional and relational in sharing the Good News about Christ with others.

Martin said that it was through her own experience in sharing her faith and training others to share their faith that she made the connection that men are more likely to “think and talk” when they share the Gospel, while women are more likely to “share and feel” as they witness.

Martin challenged the 200 attendees to train women in their churches to “make a difference, and network them together in order to carry out the task of not bringing the world to Christ but bringing Christ to the world.”

Several attendees expressed interest in implementing the HeartCall program in their churches. Attendee Sheila Smith said that what sets this approach apart from most other evangelistic presentations is that it is not a “step one, step two, step three approach, but it is a relational type of sharing through the relationships you already have.”

Southeastern’s women’s programs director Alicia Wong said of the conference, “It was very encouraging to see so many ladies come out and learn how to effectively share their faith with other women without fear.”

In addition to hosting the conference, the seminary’s women’s programs office also coordinated the first Southeastern Women’s Network meeting on Feb. 17. The purpose of the network is to bring local women’s ministry leaders together for sharing ideas and encouragement as well as letting them know of the resources Southeastern has to assist their ministries. The night included an “idea swap” and a panel discussion.

Diane Hart, women’s ministry leader at Faith Baptist Church in Youngsville, N.C., said it was good to have an opportunity to “listen to different comments and ideas from all the different churches.”

“Everybody has different ideas about how to reach out to your women from publicity to e-mails to one-on-one times,” Hart said. “Everybody also has different ways to reach out to different ages, and that’s been a really beneficial thing to learn.”

Christina Middleton, Southeastern’s women’s ministry coordinator, said, “We are excited to see how the Lord will use the Southeastern Women’s Network to aid women in ministry, and we hope to be able to serve the women’s ministry leaders in any way that we can.”

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  • Amanda Mays