Introducing Rachel Sloan – our new Women's Ministry Coordinator
Phil Topham interviews Rachel Sloan, who will become our new Women's Ministry Coordinator in September 2020.
In September, Rachel Sloan will join the FIEC Ministry Team as our new Women’s Ministry Coordinator, succeeding Elisabeth Smyth in our care for women’s workers in FIEC churches.
Phil Topham interviewed Rachel so that you can get to know her before she starts her new ministry with us. You can watch the interview and read an abridged version below.
Rachel, we are delighted you are joining the team at FIEC. First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your current work and ministry?
I am based up in Edinburgh, I moved here when I was 13 and have lived here ever since. I am currently working at Charlotte Chapel and have been there for eight years and serving as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator there as well. I have just finished a part-time degree at Edinburgh Theological Seminary which was very exciting.
Tell us about the role at Charlotte, what are you involved in there?
The main roles include the discipleship of women: so helping with ladies Bible study and helping women to write the Bible studies that we use. We are also developing a culture of 1-2-1s in our church as well, encouraging the older ladies to disciple the younger women.
The second thing I am involved in is training. That means training the leaders of Bible studies, those doing 1-2-1s and those writing Bible studies. I’m involved in our young adults’ ministry as well and part of that is coming alongside the female leaders and training them in their role.
Then the third aspect is encouraging our women towards evangelism, so organising events for them to invite their friends along to, training them in sharing the gospel or how to read the Bible with someone.
What are you most excited about for this role with FIEC?
I’m really looking forward to the opportunity of meeting other Women’s Workers and seeing what goes on in different churches around the country. There are such a diverse range of churches in FIEC so it will be really exciting to go along, find out what they do but also find out what would be really helpful to them in terms of supporting Women’s Workers.
For example, what resources are they looking for? What networks would be helpful for them? So just getting the time to get to know these women is really exciting.
From what you have seen – what are FIEC churches getting right about Women’s Ministry do you think?
One of the great things about FIEC churches is that we are all very clear on the roles of men and women in the church and therefore we encourage women into the ministry contexts that are appropriate for them. It means we see the need to disciple and develop the women within our churches because of what the Bible says about men and women in terms of the equality and the difference there.
What could churches think about a bit more clearly in terms of women’s ministry?
That comes from the same answer in many ways. We can do even better at encouraging women to be discipling one another, to be growing in their ability to handle God’s word, to be growing in their ability to interact with theology, but doing so within this framework of what the Bible says. There are lots of ministry opportunities that are open to women so my desire would be to see churches in the FIEC be really celebrating and encouraging women to take up all that they can do, using their gifts as much as possible for the benefit of their churches.
How would you like to shape the role as you succeed Elisabeth Smyth?
The first thing I want to do is learn as much as I can from Elisabeth and all that she has been doing so that I can continue the work.
In many ways the thing I am most passionate about is creating good support for women in ministry roles in our churches and I want to do that at as much of a local level as possible. For some women it can be an isolating role. Thrive (FIEC’s annual conference for women’s workers) is great but finding ways to develop those relationships throughout the year and forging much closer networks would be something I am really excited about.
The other thing I am looking forward to is encouraging churches to see the benefits of women’s ministry, to see the benefit of having a woman as part of the staff and hopefully see more of that happening in our churches as well.
What would your message be to churches that haven’t got a women’s worker and perhaps have never considered it?
We believe the Bible teaches that men and women are there to complement one another. There are things a woman can bring to a team that the men don’t always see or have, and so we become stronger when we work together. So, having a woman as part of the team really helps the strength of the church.
If you have women in your church who are well-taught in God’s word and who love God’s word – having someone on staff to help women to do that amongst themselves is going to benefit the whole of church life. That’s because you have women who will be growing in their love for God, growing in their Christ-likeness and growing in their desire to share the gospel with others.
How does this role dovetail with the role of Ministry Wives and how much are you looking forward to working with Elinor Magowan (fellow Women’s Ministry Coordinator) in this role?
I think Elinor is wonderful to work with and I am looking forward to getting to know her better!
The geographical location of where we both are (Edinburgh and Reading) will help us to cover the country – having one of us in the north and one in the south will help us to work together to serve women’s workers and pastors’ wives.
I think within a church team it’s really important that a pastors’ wife and a women’s worker understand their respective roles and know how to support one another and work well together. So being able to share that with Elinor and pass on support to those we are looking after will be really helpful.
Rachel starts her new role with FIEC on Tuesday 1 September.