A few weeks ago I accepted the position of part-time Women’s Ministry Pastor at my wonderful church. My husband has been serving as a Children and Family Pastor there for about two years and ministry to this church body has been a joy for us. I can’t express how much I love my church. It is home and family for us. And now I get to serve in a new and exciting way.
However, I did not expect this. I never would have imagined myself filling this role. I feel the weight of the task at hand as James’s fiercely convicting words (James 3:1) ring in my mind, reminding me of the harsher judgement placed on spiritual teachers. Yet over the last few years God has placed inside me a deep desire and passion to see women embrace the great assurance and hope of their identity in Jesus Christ. Which is something that involves biblically saturated teaching and discipleship, which are two things often missing in Women’s Ministries across the western church.
Nonetheless, I’m so energized to see this trend beginning to change and it’s my hope to faithfully be a part of that change. So here is a list of just a few reasons why I think ministry to women is important and why I value it greatly for myself and others:
1) Jesus Loves Women: This is obvious. And of course Jesus loves men too. He doesn’t have a favorite gender (phew). However, the affections of Jesus shown towards women of all demographics in the four gospels of the NT is a picture of how Jesus values women. It’s poignant and beautiful and I desire to see women find their identity right in that place. Too often we try to find our value in being a good wife or in our motherhood or in our job. Even worse we search for value in how we look or present ourselves, and all it does is leave us feeling defeated and anxiety-ridden. But when we see Jesus more clearly, we distinguish that He alone is where our identity is found.
2) Women Have Brains: For too long women’s ministries have operated in such a way that only a woman’s emotions are appealed to in biblical teaching. Yet, when we’re told that our minds matter and how we think matters, we discover that God gave us Scripture not for us to feel things, but for us to know who He is. And that knowledge will surely at times evoke emotion and most certainly bring affections, which is wonderful. However, knowing takes purposeful work. Which means we have to study the Word, and we are absolutely capable of doing so. We mustn’t just let Beth Moore or Kay Arthur do all the hard study for us. We must learn how to do the work for ourselves. I wish to see women love their God with all their heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37). Which leads to number 3.
3) The Bible Is Not A Blue Book: It’s not just for men to study. I’m so passionate to see women study the whole counsel of God. That means not just reading Proverbs 31 and Esther, but all Spirit-inspired Scripture. Why? Because all humans desperately need it. I want to see women face some of the challenging Scriptures that require us to wrestle with God. It seems men are generally more willing to read those texts. Why is this important that women do also? Because this leads to further understanding and depth of faith. Yet too often women avoid the provoking or unsettling Scriptures in order to keep things positive and encouraging. However, if all Scripture is breathed-out by God and profitable for teaching to make us complete and equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), then women (not just men) should be privy to all of God in all of Scripture.
4) Women Need Their Minds Renewed: Women are up against a destructive culture that is directed right at them with bloggers, authors and memes. Case and point this unfortunate meme…
These are the kind’s of messages Christian women are being fed everyday through social media and blog posts, that so many of us fall prey to. In stark opposition to this meme, Christianity is all about self-denial and finding joy in Christ, not in another person’s ability or lack-there-of to make you happy. It’s a luring world-view and I see it constantly. Christian women like and post memes like this with poor thinking and anti-biblical messages almost 100% more than men do (at least in my experience and assessment). So why is this happening? Sadly, discernment has taken a back seat to pop-culture’s positive thinking…even in the church. For this reason, discernment needs to be intentionally learned in order for anyone to see through the faulty thinking that pervades a generation of “me first”. Biblical discernment is taught, not caught. Which makes it extremely important for us to grasp in a culture where unsound theology and a broken world-view is more often caught then taught.
5) Women Need Spiritual Friendship: Persevering in the faith is a challenge at the best of times, let alone when things begin to fall apart. Good, gospel-centered, spiritual friends become the hands and feet of Christ in times like these. Although these kinds of friends can be hard to come by, we sure need them. Without each other the race of faith becomes long and unnecessarily arduous, making perseverance seem bleak. We veer off the path so easily when we don’t exhort one another everyday (Hebrews 3:13) in true friendship. Even better, when we congregate around the Word with our eyes fixated on the grace of Christ, we can hold each other up and love each other as Christ loves.
6) Women’s Greatest Need Is The Gospel: So often as women we focus on our felt needs assuming their our greatest needs. We show up to “bible study” for the purpose of unloading our woes about wayward children, struggling marriage’s, or a particularly rough day in order to receive therapy. This is not a bad impulse, and the church should be a hospital for these needs. Too often, though, we feel that this is more important than the Scripture being studied, and that impulse is false, because the Scripture is the medicine for these very problems. Our greatest need is our need for God. The gospel brings us back to the most important tenants of faith and reminds us of what we’ve been freed from. Which doesn’t change life’s difficulties, but puts them in much-needed perspective.
So many of these challenges effect both men and women. And most pastors desire to see the church see a revival in these areas. My hope is to help see these things begin with women.
There are so many reasons ministry to women is important and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it in my local church. It is why I pray for the Holy Spirit to go before me in all these ministry goals. For I know that what’s most important is that God be glorified in all I do and in all female’s everywhere do in His name.
And it’s for these reasons, I value shepherding women.