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Ministers’ Wives Conference

Ministers' Wives Conference at  Birmingham Branch on Saturday, 6 April 2019
"How sweet and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity'' was the atmosphere as ministers' wives and their spouses from around the UK churches/groups gathered in sweet fellowship for the first Minister's wife conference (with their spouses).

Arrival and registration commenced at 10:00a.m. There was sweet fellowship among all delegates present during the tea and coffee session. The opening prayers were led by Sister Mangere of Peckham branch and Brother Idowu of Manchester branch.

Welcome address was given by Rev. Isaac Adigun during which, he introduced the conference and highlighted the role of ministers' wives in contributing to the success of our Church especially in these last days. Brother Adigun briefly explained the procedures involved in appointing ministers in the Apostolic Faith Organization.  He mentioned that the   Pastor responsible for appointing ministers would have discussion with the wife of the appointee-minister in order to appraise her of the impending appointment. The discussions gave the wife an opportunity to digest and pray about the appointment.  It is important for a minister to have a faithful and supportive wife who helps the minister to be fully effective as the duties demand that both the minister and his wife live exemplary lives, above reproach.

Following this, Rev. Adigun admonished the delegates briefly from the Apostolic Faith Church daily devotional which focused on 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.  The thrust of the passage was about submission to God's authority and the order He has prescribed, especially in the practice of worship.  A Christian's life is to show that he or she submits to and obeys God.  Delegates were encouraged to download the Church Mobile Application in order to access the Daily Devotionals from the Website and use these to enhance their Bible Study.  

Thereafter, Brother Isaac urged all ministers' wives to highlight and discuss areas in the Ministers' Wife Manual in order to fully understand the roles, challenges and expectations of a minister's wife. The first discussion from the Manual highlighted that the husband (minister) should be the source of spiritual guidance to the wife according to Hebrews 13: 17. Also, suggestions were given that the minister and wife could complement each other.  When challenges or difficult situations arise, they can reach out to experienced mentors for spiritual advice. However, it is very important for the minister's wife to develop knowledge of the Word of God, a strong prayer life, and to first turn to the minister (husband) for answers. 

Another point highlighted was the importance of the minister's wife being a good team player.  There were discussions on effective communication because it strengthens the bond of Christian love (Ephesians 4:3). Ministers' wives were urged to maintain confidentiality of conversations with individuals in the Church as well as being good examples to younger wives and the whole congregation. Furthermore, ministers' wives must endeavour to attend all church services and activities, whilst being active participants in the prayer room and attentive listeners in church services. They should remember to speak softly in the sanctuary and pray alongside ministers when prayers for the sick are going on.  They must desist from practices or actions that disrespect the sanctuary of God for example; chatting, chewing gum or applying excessive vaseline to the lips.

Thereafter, at 12:10pm the session broke off for tea and coffee break, where delegates enjoyed another session of fellowship. At 12:20pm the discussion focused on the minister's wife being a good wife. Titus 2:3-5 were the scripture verses for discussion in which case ministers' wives were charged to abide by these teachings because in thus doing, they would be blessed and would have joy in the Lord's service. There were deliberations on being careful when giving advice or opinion, because perception has it that because one is a minister's wife, then one is an expert.  Victory is guaranteed if the ministers' wives were prayerful, depended on the Word of God and evaluated the advice or opinions they gave.

Ministers' wives were informed of the importance of allowing the minister (husband) private time to communicate with God for his personal spiritual growth and especially when preparing sermons or teachings.  However, the ministers were advised of the need to adopt the good practice of informing their wives if they were preaching or teaching so that the wives would support them with prayers. In addition, the ministers' wives were advised against asking the minister (husband) about his forthcoming sermon or criticizing his sermon as this could yield negative results. Ministers' wives were admonished to rather encourage their husbands by telling them whenever they are blessed through their sermons or teachings. More discussions also focused on the ministers' wife staying within their roles of backing and supporting their husband ministers. 

Ministers' wives were not expected to carry the burdens of an assistant pastor or minister. Bro. Isaac reiterated that the ministry work was not designed to be a family affair or a husband and wife ministry but was set up to include pastors and the ministers who are responsible and accountable to God for their decisions. Ministers' wives were warned against influencing their husbands when making decisions regarding the ministry.
  
They should view themselves as workers in the service of the Lord, and if they are not appointed workers or assigned with specific duties in the church, they were encouraged to identify areas in the ministry where they could serve, for example; altar service, etc. Also, ministers' wives were encouraged to learn to live by God's word, and the focus scripture was II Corinthians 6: 1-10. Furthermore, the ministers' wives were encouraged to understand the fundamental principles of the gospel. In doing so, minister's wives would live the way God would have them live as their Christian testimonies would reflect in their talks and daily life. These can be achieved by actively believing every Word of God because as the Apostolic Faith is a fundamental Church, we believe that the whole Bible is inspired by God.  Therefore, it is vital that ministers' wives get the Word of God in their hearts, focus on praying for one another in addition to focusing on the core Bible principles of salvation, sanctification, and Holy Ghost baptism. The bible requires that ministers be watchman for the congregations; however, no minister should be a spy or watchdog, thus only seeing the negative in the congregation. In the same vein, ministers' wives must be careful not to allow side issues or weaknesses that might exist in the congregation to overshadow the core principles of the Gospel.

Taking admonition from I Timothy 2:9-10, the ministers' wives were urged to live to please God by dressing modestly and having hairdos that did not attract unbefitting attention. They must endeavour to dress in a manner that will not hinder their walk with God or cause offence to fellow brethren. They are expected to be good role models to their children and the congregation.

The session broke off for lunch at 14:25pm and all delegates had lunch and enjoyed sweet fellowship with one another. Thereafter, all delegates reconvened, and the session continued with discussions focusing on living to please God. 
During this session, the ministers' wives were encouraged to shop for clothing with an active Christian spirit, as well as seeking opinion from their husbands regarding dressing. Ministers' wives were urged to endeavour to make their lives and appearances exemplify Christ. In addition to modest dressing expectations, discussions also included ministers' wives desisting from the use of make-up and painting of the nails.  I Timothy 2:9 was read to emphasise that Ministers' wives were not to adorn jewellery or make-up in order not to be the Jezebel of the Bible times. Discussions ended with strong admonition that ministers' wives are expected to be sensitive and be a living sacrifice by doing what God would have them do. This could be achieved by constantly studying the Word of God prayerfully and not to pick and choose between Scriptures. 

Ministers' wives were encouraged to recognise their husbands' (ministers) individualities and never compare them to others but rather, offer support, advice when asked, yet continually praying for them.  If the wives did that the Lord would endow the ministers with wisdom to successfully perform their ministerial and family duties.

Thereafter, challenges associated with meeting the expectations of a minister's wife were explored whilst suggestions and advise were offered. In conclusion, delegates requested that such conferences be regularly held as these equip ministers' wives to be aware of their roles in the service of God.

The conference ended with Sister Affiah saying the closing prayer followed by another prayer from her husband, Brother Affiah. Finally, all ministers' wives gathered for group photographs and most delegates departed to their various locations. Twenty-four minsters' wives were in attendance, of which twenty-two were alongside their husbands, hence a total forty-six attendees.
 
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