The European initiative “Women in Leadership” started 1993 under the umbrella of “Hope for Europe”.
A team of women from different European nations, rooted in the Evangelical Alliance, the Lausanne Movement or denominational networks, are since then planning and performing every second year “Women in Leadership”conferences
– to inspire, encourage and equip women for their personal life and in leadership
– to model, how God uses women in his Kingdom in a variety of ways
– to challenge women, to share the transforming Gospel with women in their country through united national initiatives.
One of the results of these conferences is, that participants are making efforts to bring women within their nations together, who have different church backgrounds, to pray and to start with initiatives for women – on the base of unity and love in Christ.
Examples for these united initiatives are “Femmes2000” in France, “Filia” in Germany, “Prisca” in Austria, “Bilge Kadin” in Turkey and others, additionally to the denominational and other women ministries.
Since Women in Leadership – like the other 17 Hope for Europe networks – is part of the EEA, I was asked as the new Women in Leadership network-chair to offer support to those national EAs, who would like to challenge ladies in their different nations and to start new Christian women’s initiatives.
I am available to motivate and train ladies who are interested in this and to provide resources as well as digital motivation.
Motivating example from Bulgaria
who’s EA celebrated 110 years of its existence on Dec. 8, 2019!
The Women’s Department (WD) of the Bulgarian EA was organized in 1996 with the help of Joan Jankovsky, a member of WEA. Joan was from the US and member of one of the churches of the Minnesota Coalition of Churches, created to help and partner with the churches in some of the former Eastern European communist countries. Bulgaria was one of these countries, which experienced a long and very helpful partnership with the Minnesota Coalition of Churches. Joan Jankovsky is now with the Lord, but she was really committed to help her sisters in Bulgaria. She helped with the structure of the Women’s Department and several years after the start of the WD, she was visiting the country together with a group of American women and was leading leadership training workshops for the members of the WD.
The Women’s Department has members, who are representatives of the denominations-members of BEA. The chair person is elected on a rotational principle every two years. The main goals of the Women’s Department are:
Coordinating the women’s ministries among the different denominations.
Helping the local women’s ministries in the country with conferences, literature and other materials.
Keeping contact with the Women’s departments of the EEA and the WEA.
The goal of the Women’s Department is not to take away the functions of the denominations or to replace them, but to coordinate and help common initiatives, helping to build the unity of the church, to encourage partnerships and sharing of ideas, in order together to be able to fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the national level this goal is fulfilled through:
– Prayer – every first Saturday of November is a National Prayer Day for the Women in Bulgaria, organized by the WD of BEA
– Encouragement and sharing of ideas and ministries – every two years a National Women’s Conference is organized by the WD of BEA. Sometimes the conferences have been between three years, but in between them, there are smaller regional conferences in different regions of the country, which enable the local women to participate.
– Mobilizing/organizing projects, programs or initiatives, when it is needed – several years ago an anti-trafficking network was organized for the churches and organizations involved in activities against human trafficking. We are trying to raise awareness in the churches and the society about the seriousness of the problem; to mobilize the Christians to pray and to work in order to prevent human trafficking.
The WD is serving the churches by uniting the women leaders – encouraging them, training them and mobilizing them to help the women in the churches to use their potential and to be what God created them to be. For ten years there was a Leadership Training Program called “Women Serving Women” in which more than 120 women have been trained.
There is an ongoing ministry under the WD of BEA, called “Marriage and family ”with series of workshops for young people and families.
For more than 15 years a short bulletin has been published every three months with news about the activities of the WD in Bulgaria and the world.
A book from Noor van Haaften and several books from Kay Arthur have been translated and published for the needs of the Women’s Department.
In the beginning usually guest speakers were invited for the National conferences: Ingrid Kern, Jill Briscoe, Elke Werner, Winnie Bartel (when she was director of the WC of the WEA) have been speakers at conferences. Noor van Haaften has been several times in Bulgaria. During the years some very good and talented Bulgarian speakers have grown up.
The fellowship between women from different denominations in the WD of BEA has helped more than any other thing for the unity of the church in Bulgaria.
Grace Nedelcheva/Eva Bordjieva
Our last conference was held in Schladming/Austria, from November 21 to 24, 2019, with 155 participants from 27 nations. The report and fotos can be found on our webpage www.womeninleadership.eu
The next Women in Leadership network-conference will take place in Oradea/Romania, during four days in April 2021.