WHY DO WE NEED WOMEN’S MINISTRY?
I think in order to really answer this question we have to break it down and define what each part of this question is saying.
Let’s start with the “WE“. Who is the “WE” that needs women’s ministry?
- Women believers need it. Women who know “about” Jesus and women who know him personally. We will dig into this more in the following paragraph.
- Men need it. Ministering directly to the complex makeup of women only means a woman walks away knowing Jesus deeper and looking more like him, this is a win for any man.
- The church needs it. Currently, statistics show there are more women in the world attending church, praying and reading their Bible daily then men (Pew Research Center). It is vital to church health, growth, maturity, and service that women are being discipled in a deep way that grounds them in Christ.
- The lost need it. If the church is to continue to grow and make God known in the world then equipping women seems like a no-brainer. When a woman grabs hold of her identity in Jesus and what he did for her there is very little that can stop her from sharing that same truth with the world around her.
So now that we know WHO needs Women’s Ministry let’s dig into the next part of the question “Why do we NEED Women’s Ministry?” This part of the question has brought on more debate within the church context than any other part of the question. IS WOMEN’S MINISTRY NEEDED? The typical scripture most point to in answering this question is found in Titus 2:3-5.
Let’s look at 3 different “popular” translations, note the words in bold font.
“3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can URGE the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” (New International Version)
“3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to TEACH what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word “of God may not be reviled.” (English Standard Version)
“Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By LOOKING at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.” (The Message)
The reference of the older women urging or teaching the younger woman, or the younger women looking at the older women showing them, is often what church leaders lean into regarding the approval or need for any type of women’s ministry.
As a woman with 2 daughters and tons of women younger (and older) than me that I have had the humbling privilege of showing, teaching, and urging them to know Jesus in a personal way I can’t help but think that it is common sense that women need women to learn, grow, be challenged, encouraged, held accountable, loved, heard, equipped and empowered. While the men God has placed in my life have definitely played a huge role in developing who I am today, no man can understand a woman like a woman can. If the men in my life were the only ones showing, teaching or urging me in regards to following Jesus I would be left with a gap in understanding how I, as a woman, am to follow Jesus. There are Biblical principles that anyone can teach and we can all learn, there is also the Holy Spirit who can take any words or actions by any person and cause them to change our lives. But I have learned that more often than not God excels the conversation of truth in my life through women. So many times I recognize the Lord doing something in me and he uses the women around me to really drive home what he is saying and doing. There are certain deep things that God wired women to learn, understand and experience through the voice of another woman.
Men, imagine with me for a moment that you are in a church where there are only female preachers and teachers. They are speaking truth, full of scripture, Gospel-centered, and God-glorifying messages. Week after week you hear the Gospel taught and it molds your daily life but the conversation from the stage is from a very female viewpoint. The life stories in between scriptures and points, the jokes thrown in to make you laugh, the life lessons shared… they are all from a woman’s point of view. While they make a great sermon and you actually enjoy it, you begin to feel like your missing something, you’re missing the male point of view. You start to hunger to know how a man walks out some of these truths and what their life stories might look like. What would a man say about these same unshakable truths and how would he apply them to the parts of a man that women just can’t seem to wrap their heads around. Would you sit idly by and just continue to only learn from females? Or would you begin to seek opportunities where older, wiser men could show, teach and urge you closer to Jesus? Men who understand how you’re wired as a man, men who could speak into your male makeup. Finding those opportunities could be challenging, intimidating and possibly not even exist around you.
Welcome to the life of a woman.
Which leads us to address the next part of our question “Why do we need WOMEN’S MINISTRY?” What in the world is Women’s Ministry? “Women” is a pretty obvious term that all of us understand, so let’s break down “Ministry”. Webster Dictionary definition of MINISTER – to give aid, service. The Oxford Dictionary definition of MINISTER – to give help or care. Based on these relative definitions we could say that Ministry is simply creating an environment and/or opportunities for someone to receive help, care, aid or service. In our context that help, care, aid or service refers to helping them understand scripture and how to apply it, caring for their needs while pointing them to Jesus, aiding them in maturing in Christ and serving them in any way we can so they can be equipped and empowered to walk out a life of knowing God and making Him known.
For the vast majority of women, the average church experience is predominately a male-driven environment. A place where men fill the stages. A place where mostly male leadership teams meet and plan out the discipleship of the members and attendees. This creates a gap for women that so desperately need to be shown, taught and urged by women.
So what is WOMEN’S MINISTRY? It is the intentional discipleship of women by women. It is a tool in which is needed for the growth, maturing, equipping and empowering of women to know God and make Him known. It is the gap filler that is needed in our current church models that are mostly led and driven by men. It comes in many shapes and forms but is missing from so many of our local church contexts.
Women, just like men, have a call on each of their lives to make God known in the earth. They have a purpose. There is a distinct plan God has for their lives to use the gifts, talents, strengths, experiences and even their weaknesses to make Him known in a way that quite possibly no man can. Women’s Ministry is a vital part of giving intentional space for women to receive help, care, aid, or service from other women.
Women’s Ministry is not secondary in the vision God has for his people. It is not a weird dangly part of the body that functions separately in its own little corner. It is valuable. It is vital. And it is NEEDED.