Before I begin, let me say this. This isn’t a post to negate all the good things women in the church do. I’m one of them. I believe that we truly have good intentions and we mean well. Some of the most influential people in my life have been church women. I have a passion to serve others and help women-especially the young women like myself- flourish in their roll as a leader and a warrior in the body of Christ. God has greatly gifted women to be shakers and movers for the Kingdom of God. Sometimes our good intentions get in the way, though. When programs and women’s ministry groups keep their own power and potential harnessed within the confines of the church walls, we cut ourselves short of the really good things God wants to do through us on the outside. When women of God start closing their doors to women of the world in an effort to keep God in the “church” box, we might have missed God altogether. While it is important to be different from the world, getting so caught up in being as far away from it as possible may be doing more harm than good. There’s already enough talk out there about the good versus the bad and whether we want to accept it or not, I’d be willing to say that women of the world have a pretty good idea about where we church ladies stand on the issues. We don’t need to preach our faith. We need to practice our faith. I don’t want to create an atmosphere among Christian women that excludes or turns away these women of the world, but rather one that invites them along on this journey and welcomes them with real humility, grace, and authenticity. Let’s be honest- living for Christ cannot be a Sunday morning lifestyle. It must be a daily choice we make to walk with Christ and let Him shine bright in our lives. So, I’m not writing to give my soapbox spill on the issue, but rather to encourage us to walk worthy of our calling and view this Christian woman thing and the whole women’s ministry thing differently. Let’s start with the state of “women’s ministry.”
I’m really, really concerned about the current state of today’s women’s ministry in churches. Some thrive, don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful for churches who have a passion to reach women and are doing phenomenal things through it. If you’re one of those people in a great church with a great women’s ministry- Thank God for you! We need you! Keep it up! However, if we take a look at the overall status of the women’s ministry programs in churches across America, we’d find that many are outdated and look more like social clubs made up of sweet little ladies that appear to have it all together. They’ve been in church for years. They know lots of scripture (and don’t mind quoting it). They most likely are made up of mamas, grandmamas, and maybe a few great-grandmamas who like to get together for tea (sweet, of course) rather than go after the “least of these.” They have a reputation for being gossipy groups of women that meet to talk about what’s wrong in the world rather than a team convening to change the world. And, as a twenty-something, I’m finding that there’s less and less of a place for women like me in groups like these. What are we teaching young women? How are we pointing them to Christ if there’s not a place for them in the church? Better yet, what kind of examples are we setting for what real Christian women look and act like? If our backs are to the women of the world, we’re missing one of the greatest callings God has placed on our lives as women of God. No wonder more and more young women choose to opt out of traditional women’s ministry programs. Your twenty-somethings want to get their hands dirty. They want to get out there and do something that will make a difference. They want to be a part of big, God things not groups who just talk about things. I’m challenged to look at this in a different way. I think many times we church ladies turn our backs on what’s wrong in the world in an attempt to widen the gap between the good and the bad. We want the lines to be clear. We’re here and they’re over there. But what we’ve really done is shown other women that we don’t care about them and what they’re doing. We send messages to the world that tells them our faith is meant only for us…not them. God’s idea of ministry isn’t that it would be kept inside our fancy churches with padded pews. We’re called to turn from the inner circles we’ve created within our churches and start looking for ways to live out our faith in the world. Be in it, but not of it. When we do, women of the world see a new side to us “women of God.” Its one that is invitational, not confrontational.
It won’t be an easy paradigm shift. It won’t be for those “put together” women with the idea that God only uses those who are perfectly pressed and coiffed. Elaborate and lofty shouldn’t be prerequisite qualifications. In fact, I don’t think God is looking for women who have it all together. A day in and day out life with Christ is the messiest, most humbling walk I’ve ever taken. It is never easy. It is never clean and I’ll be the first to tell you that there’s never a moment when I feel like I have it all together. Ever. There’s been quite a few days that I’ve looked more like a pile of dirty laundry rather than a magazine cover model. Many, many days actually. Ladies- God isn’t looking for perfect women. He’s looking for women that will allow Him to wreck their lives and agendas so that He can rework us into His masterpiece. The world has enough women who are tough, God needs women who are tender. The world has enough women who are popular. God needs women who are pure. The world has enough women who seek fame and fortune. God wants women who seek a deeper faith and go after Him with reckless abandon. And when God gets a hold of our lives and our “churchy” programs, I think we’ll find that there’s a great adventure waiting for us. Our backs shouldn’t be to the world. Let’s go from a posture of “me” to a posture of “we.” With one arm stretched toward the source of life itself and one arm extended in love and grace to the women who need us….the women of the world. Why don’t we put down our pride and pick up our purpose? Go ahead, get your hands a little dirty. It’s okay. We’re not going to be invitational people if we never learn to invite. And God surely isn’t going to allow us to change a world we aren’t willing to reach.
So, to my good, Godly, church ladies, let’s embrace the course women and show them how to be kind. Let’s turn greediness into goodness and vanity into virtue. Let’s shine a light on rudeness and develop true refinement. God’s way. Not our way. Turn around. God is inviting you!