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In Testimonies , volume 6, Ellen White published an article called “Women to Be Gospel Workers.” Presumably it represents fairly what her view of women as Gospel workers really entailed. In it she stressed the importance of personal work for others, then went on to write of the work that women are to do, after first speaking of what they are to be. “The Lord has a work for women as well as men to do. They may accomplish a good work for God if they will first learn in the school of Christ the precious, all-important lesson of meekness. They must not only bear the name of Christ, but possess His Spirit. They must walk even as He walked, purifying their souls from everything that defiles. Then they will be able to benefit others by presenting the all-sufficiency of Jesus.

“Women may take their places in the work at this crisis, and the Lord will work through them. If they are imbued with a sense of their duty, and labor under the influence of the Spirit of God, they will have just the self-possession required for this time. The Saviour will reflect upon these self-sacrificing women the light of His countenance, and this will give them a power which will exceed that of men. They can do in families a work that men cannot do, a work that reaches the inner life. They can come close to the hearts of those whom men cannot reach. Their labor is needed.

“A direct necessity is being met by the work of women who have given themselves to the Lord and are reaching out to help a needy, sin-stricken people. Personal evangelistic work is to be done. The women who take up this work carry the Gospel to the homes of the people in the highways and the byways. They read and explain the Word to families, praying with them, caring for the sick, relieving their temporal necessities. They present before families and individuals the purifying, transforming influence of the truth.” 45

So the core of her burden for women was that they do personal work with women and families. If done in the right spirit, under the influence of Christ, “the light of His countenance . . . will give them a power which will exceed that of men. . . . Their labor is needed.”

This need is still with us today. Though some urge this need as a reason that women should be ordained, Mrs. White envisioned women performing this ministry without reference to their serving as ordained elders or pastors. She said that such ministry is capable, when rightly done, of exhibiting a power greater than that of men. It is noble work, needed work. In defining women's work in this way, she has in no way belittled it. 46

Such statements appear in many places in Mrs. White's writings. 47 Her view is consistent: without calling for ordination of women as pastors or elders, she urged a vigorous participation of women especially in personal ministry.

Ellen White's view of women's ministry requires no change in church structure or polity, yet its implementation would revolutionize the church's practice. There would be a great increase in personal work being done, both by paid full- and part-time workers and by volunteer laborers. If the work were done in the spirit of Jesus, the women would show a power greater than that of the men. There would be an explosion in the numbers of people won to Christ and His truth through the gentle, appealing ministry of women. There would be healing in the home relationships, as godly women workers challenged men to reflect the self-sacrificing headship of Christ in their own relationship with their wives, and women to honor that headship as they would the headship of Christ. Families would be strengthened, and the church would make a start on the road to showing a world filled with hurting and broken families what a difference the practice of the lordship of Jesus really makes.
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