If we weren’t going to Africa, my dream job would probably be to be a women’s pastor at a church.
Here are 3 things that I think are important for churches and 3 things that are essential for the ministry.
- Put your women’s minister on staff. This is a money investment that speaks of the value of her and of the ministry.
- Make her full-time (or at least 3 days a week). Ministry jobs that are 1 or 2 days a week are normally done badly or are actually 3 days a week or more. In the case of women’s ministry, it’s sometimes tacked on to an already busy kids ministry. If you want a ministry to fly (and the person doing it to survive), you have to give it the appropriate time and energy.
- Have someone who is theologically trained. You want your minister to be trained: why is your women’s minister any different?
How to shape a women’s ministry:
- Make it proactive, not just putting out spot-fires. Many women’s ministries never move beyond crisis management. That needs to be done but you won’t see women grow to maturity until you sell them a higher vision.
- Make it theological, not just practical. Teaching on friendships, singleness, marriage, parenting, etc will help in the short term and it’s appropriate to do practical teaching. But re-shaping someone’s worldview so that each of those things are affected will have long-term benefits.
- Make it strategic, raising up women for the future. We need to move beyond caring for women and start helping them to see their potential and how they can contribute. This takes careful consideration that requires time and space but it has flow on effects to just about every other ministry in the church.
Many women I meet tell me they hate going to women’s events because of the cringe factor – either too much saccharine girly stuff or so much earnestness they feel like it’s not fun. I agree! But I think the descent into stereotypes or the loss of fun often comes about because women’s ministry happens on the fly or as a side-track. I’m suggesting a two-pronged solution to that: put value into your women’s ministry and make its goal bringing women to maturity.
Categories: Woman Written by Tamie
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.
I cannot agree more. One of my bugbears is how women’s ministry tend to do this repeat cycle on topics like contentment, hospitality, singleness, friendship, etc…while men (and yes this is a generalisation, but I think an apt one) tend to do the ‘theological’ stuff. Why don’t we specifically teach our women good doctrine? Or delve through the difficult parts of the bible? Why does everything have to be ‘practical’?
I also agree with your point about crisis management. I wonder if it’s because women tend to be more proactive in seeking help for their problems and ‘open’ about their feelings, so a lot of of ministry time is spent dealing with that rather than proactively training women up.
Oh I could go on and on. Brilliant post!
I was the sound guy at a women’s event. It was more biblical than saccharine!
A number of reasons I can see for the things you’ve pointed out:
I think the main church events (Sunday service) get more women than men, so leaders want men-specific stuff more than women.
Many women in gospel work are working with children and that is seen as a priority.
The theological end of teaching can speak to lots of people at once, while the practical end of teaching is where there is more need for things specific to our own situation.
Men’s ministry in my experience has been more practical than theological (except Men’s Convention).
I like this post too :)
I don’t have any firm opinions on the topic – although what you’ve written makes a lot of sense to me. I was reminded of this post today when a friend shared this article on facebook…http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/155219-sarah-bessey-why-women-s-ministry-needs-jesus.html#.Tp4LETQCNxc.facebook
Not sure if you’ve already seen it but I thought it tied in quite well to the post :)
Thanks Katie! Her.meneutics linked to the same post published on the author’s blog a couple of days after I wrote this one.
I think the key is not to reject women’s ministry as inherently flawed but to transform it to be all those things she talks about – sharp, brave, loving, etc.
Perhaps at this point, I should put in a plug for Adelaide’s Grace Conference!
Started 5 or so years ago by an interdenominational group of women, it combines rigorous Bible teaching with practical workshops and I think gets the balance right.
I’m not on the committee but I’ve felt privileged to teach at it over the last few years. I’ve been involved in the workshops (including on relational evangelism, worldviews, and a theology of ‘women in ministry’) and have been invited to be the speaker in 2012.
Can’t wait to have a women’s minister, full stop! Great post Tamie. Looking forward to Grace next year :)