“Fighting for Our Daughters” – Only Dangerous Christians Need Apply


Letita Shelton

In August, I wrote about visiting a city church movement in Toowoomba, Australia. One of the leaders I met is Letitia Shelton, founder of City Women, the church’s response to the plight of females in Toowoomba.

Letitia has written a book, Fighting for Our Daughters: The story of City Women – unity and mission in Toowoomba. This short book tells some of the story of the founding of Toowoomba City Church and the subsequent God-ordained banding together of people from 80 churches in 18 collaborative ministries, to take up the cause of women in their city.

Letitia describes where the vision for City Church came from: Do you not discern {and} understand that you [the whole church at Corinth] are God’s temple (His sanctuary), and that God’s Spirit has His permanent dwelling in you [to be at home in you, collectively as a church and also individually]? 1 Cor 3:16 (Amplified Version)

Letitia writes of her experience with the pastors of City Church: “… for the last 20 years they have prayed together faithfully every week. If everyone came on any one morning, there would be around 80 local pastors, leaders, chaplains, and parachurch leaders in attendance. … once a year we go away for a three-day prayer summit, to have an extended time of prayer and hearing from God.”

She continues to describe how this is not merely a fellowship, but an active group that serves one another and the needs of the city: “This is not a unity built only on co-operation or ‘nice’ relationships because we are Christians. Rather, over the last ten years I have experienced a unity between leaders who seek to serve one another, who have taken responsibility for the city and who work ‘in the trenches’ together. I am very grateful to the leaders from other churches, denominations and ministries who have had input into my life and into City Women.”

Here are churches that are not seeking to build monuments for themselves or their denominations, but are working together to create a movement for the sake of the city. They recognize that the needs of the city are to be addressed by the church, that no single church, no matter how big, can respond adequately to the needs of the city, but the “City Church” can respond. These are externally focused churches with a vision of the kingdom of God, rather than internally focused, program driven churches. They are consciously working together to see “thy kingdom come, they will be done” in Toowoomba “as it is in heaven.” One of their strategic initiatives is City Women.

As Christ was the Word made flesh, so too, the church is to incarnate the word of God. City Women minister to young girls who have been either emotionally or physically abandoned by their families and those who have been abused and raped or who may be  “unintentionally” pregnant.

But in addition to ministering to people’s needs, Christ challenged the religious and political culture and called his disciples to do the same. Letitia quotes Catherine Booth, co-founder  of the Salvation Army with her husband General William Booth: “If we are to better the future, we are to disturb the present.” City Women does this on two fronts: the political and the personal. First, they to try to stop the government from legalizing prostitution and licensing brothels. When they lose the political battle, they build personal relationships with the owners of the brothels and personally minister to the prostitutes themselves.

One of the ministries of City Women is Emily’s Voice. This ministry has developed a series of bill board and other advertising to change Australia’s culture of death. An example of their work is the touching and challenging 30 second video below, Veronica’s Story from the Not Born Yet collection.

Another of the ministries is Collective Shout which mobilizes people to “target marketers and media which objectify and sexualize women to sell products and services…. This movement is for anyone concerned about increasing pornification of culture and the way sex industry messages have become entrenched in mainstream society.”

Letitia offers a challenge to the church: “There seems to be something lacking in the church these days. We have done a great job at producing nice Christians, rather than dangerous Christians full of courage, ready to take risks.”

Letitia has written a wonderful story of God at work in the churches in a city to labor collaboratively to address a problem that a single church or ministry could not address alone.

If you are interested in the plight of women or who want to see how the church in your city might work together, Fighting for Our Daughters is a must read.

- Darrow Miller

  
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2 Responses to “Fighting for Our Daughters” – Only Dangerous Christians Need Apply

  1. Carol Burroughs says:

    Please can you tell me how to buy the Bella magazine.
    Thankyou

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