By Megan Rawlings
In 1962, while NASA was taking its first feverish steps to land a man on the moon (and bring him home safely) by the end of the decade, President John F. Kennedy visited the NASA Space Center for the first time. While touring the premises, he observed a janitor mopping the floor. Kennedy started a conversation with the janitor by asking what he was doing. Much to the commander-in-chief’s surprise, the custodian replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.” Everyone who worked for NASA—astronauts, engineers, mathematicians, janitors—shared the same vision and knew they had a role in accomplishing the mission.
The church’s approach is the same. The preacher, Sunday school teacher, bus driver, widow, and everyone else play significant parts in the kingdom of God. Paul wrote,
The body is a unit, though it is comprised of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given one Spirit to drink (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13, Berean Study Bible).
Restoration Movement founders knew it was a biblical concept and cast this vision. All people, no matter their capabilities or how insignificant they may feel, are part of God’s plan to win souls for Christ.
The Restoration Movement Inspires Women
From its earliest days in the first half of the 19th century, Restoration Movement women have been involved in church planting. One notable example involved three Marys from Somerset, Pennsylvania. Mary Graft, Mary Morrison, and Mary Ogle all were baptized as adults and quickly made the Bible their only source for knowledge of God and Christianity. They soon began holding prayer meetings and teaching classes by writing letters and going house to house.
Through their tireless efforts, the three Marys evangelized their entire community and led many to Christ. The Christian Church in Somerset, Pennsylvania, saw membership as high as 500, largely resulting from the devotion of three dedicated women. And just think, they did all of this with very limited technology. Imagine what we can do with the tools we now have at our fingertips.
How to Become a Woman of the Restoration Movement
So, how do you get started on this journey? Here are four important concepts to keep in mind:
In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, love. In matters where disagreement is not detrimental to one’s faith, let there be freedom. And always remember, no matter the circumstances, do all things in love. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).
Where the Bible speaks, we speak. Where the Bible is silent, we are silent. When promoting the gospel message, it is very important not to add to what Scripture says, especially with regard to the unclear, gray areas. It is best to just say nothing. “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent” (Proverbs 17:28, New American Standard Bible).
We are Christians only, but not the only Christians. Others will believe differently, but this does not mean they are not Christians. So, we need to remember the first step in being a woman of the Restoration Movement: In nonessentials, liberty. Heaven will be filled with people who held diverse opinions over nonessential matters.
We are called to evangelize. Walter Scott, a Restoration Movement founder, created the five-finger exercise, which is a helpful way to lead someone to Christ. Each finger represents a different component:
1. Hear: “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ” (Romans 10:17, New Living Translation). The first step to becoming a Christian is by hearing the good news of Jesus.
2. Believe: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household” (Acts 16:31).
3. Repent: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
4. Confess: “If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from death, you will be saved. For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved” (Romans 10:9, 10, Good News Translation).
5. Be baptized: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).Baptism helps identify who Christians are. It is the act of being buried with Christ and raised to eternal life through his gospel.
Take the Challenge
Knowledge of Scripture is one means through which unity is established in the Restoration Movement. “They know their Bible and they are devoted to it,” said a well-known Restoration preacher by the unlikely name Benjamin Franklin. This movement’s reputation is centered on understanding Scripture.
But that’s not all. We must be willing to step out of our comfort zones to reach those who are searching for answers. It might mean accepting someone with different beliefs or expressing the love of God to someone who is “unlovable.” Being a woman of the Restoration Movement may not always be easy, but with God’s help, we can collectively achieve great things for his kingdom.
Megan Rawlings is the founder and CEO of The Bold Movement. She is an extrovert, pastor’s wife, and lover of the Scriptures.