Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the National Women’s Training Ministry
Like a beautiful rose
by Laurie Lind (with Jeannette Shubert)
A celebration. A reunion. A working conference. A historic gathering.
Mid-September 2019. Forty women from across Russia and two neighboring countries gathered near Moscow to mark the 20th anniversary of the National Women’s Training Ministry, with the theme “Looking to Jesus,” based on Hebrews 12:1-3.
NWTM is a cooperative effort of several ministries, including Entrust, initiated to equip Russian women to serve one another in the local church.
From the original training base in Moscow in 1991, training centers fanned out across all (then) 11 time zones of the country. What contributed to the growth? “Initially, instead of asking women we knew to join the training,” explained NWTM Director Vera Izotova, “we asked the brothers [i.e. church leaders] to appoint the sisters to come.”
Over time, the women realized the need to seek and secure the blessing of their pastors to take part in the training. Many pastors, some unsure at first about the need for women’s ministry training, came to appreciate the Bible knowledge and character development that became increasingly evident in participants’ lives.
Women completed a series of training courses, applying new-found skills in their churches and ministries. Many went on to become the next generation of trainers.
Always eager to learn more and further refine their skills, the women at the 20th anniversary celebration actually did homework. In addition to reviewing and celebrating the history of NWTM, sharing regional ministry reports and personal testimonies, spending time in intercessory prayer, learning about new Entrust ministry courses and enjoying an evening tea, they held three sessions on the art of crafting and analyzing questions to use in facilitating a Bible study. A homework assignment had the women spending their only night together developing open-ended questions about several Bible passages, a skill emphasized in Entrust trainings.
NWTM has adopted a rose as its symbol, reminding women to bloom beautifully for the Lord. The 20th anniversary gathering was fragrant with the beauty of the Lord’s transformative work in hundreds of women’s lives.