I had an opportunity last Saturday to attend a conference in Orlando devoted to women’s ministry. I was challenged, encouraged, and enlightened on some of the issues that women face in ministry. Some I could relate to.
My lack of knowledge about how to lead a women’s ministry was evident as all of the women gathered around my table chatted about how they do things at their respective churches. Needless to say, I didn’t have much to add to the conversation, but like a sponge, I did my best to absorb every ounce of insight they could give me.
Our speakers were excellent and told all about how to make this thing we call “women’s ministry” work. In conversation about how to involve younger women, like myself, in women’s ministry programs, Amy (one of the speakers) shared this message from Sarah Bessey’s blog:
“We’re not all mothers, some of us work outside the home, some of us have kids and others don’t or won’t or can’t. Is womanhood only about wifehood and motherhood? What about those among us that are not wives and mothers? We’re not all in the same season of life. We are – or should be – diverse image bearers of a Divine God.
We need Jesus. We are seeking deep spirituality. We are seeking fellow travellers. We are hungry for true community, a place to tell our stories and listen to another, to love well. But above all, point me to Jesus – not to the sale at the mall.
You know what I would have liked tonight instead of decorating tips or a new recipe? I would have liked to pray together. I would have liked for the women of the church to share their stories or wisdom with one another, no more celebrity speakers, please just hand the microphone to that lady over there that brought the apples. I would love to wrestle with some questions that don’t have a one-paragraph answer in your study guide. I would like to do a Bible study that does not have pink or flowers on the cover. I would have liked to sign up to bring a meal for our elderly or drop off some clothes for a new baby or be informed about issues in our city where we can make space for God. I would like to organize and prioritize, to rabble-rouse and disturb the peace of the rest of the world on behalf of justice, truth, beauty and love. I’d love to hear the prophetic voice of women in our church.Please may we be the place to detox from the world – its values, its entertainment, its priorities, its focus on appearances and materialism and consumerism?
So here is my suggestion: Please stop treating womens’ ministry like a Safe Club for the Little Ladies to Play Church.
We are smart. We are brave. We want to change the world. We run marathons for our sisters, not so that we can lose weight. We have more to offer to the church than our mad decorating skills. I look around and I can see that these women can offer strategic leadership, wisdom, counsel and even, yes, teaching. We want to give and serve and make a difference. We want to be challenged. We want to read books and talk politics, theology and current events. We want to wrestle through our theology. We want to listen to each other. We want to worship, we want to intercede for our sisters and weep with those who weep, rejoice with those that rejoice, to create life and art and justice with intention.”
I don’t think that I could have said it any better myself. This is a cry for young women who feel the need to serve and be a part of something bigger than themselves. I pray that churches hear our cry for intentional, relational ministry. We need more than what the typical women’s ministry has to offer. We’re not into superficial cuteness. We’re not looking for you to make us feel good. We want it to be real. We want to do life together….real life.
If you’d like to read more from Sarah Bessey, you can visit her blog at sarahbessey.com.