We know that some women love women’s ministry, but there are others who’ll never attend. Why is that?
Have you ever stood knee-deep in a bad situation, yet believed good could prevail?
Have you ever seen a company losing customers, yet saw the intrinsic value the company possessed in the community?
Have you ever seen an ugly duckling you believed would morph into a swan?
Maybe it’s my optimistic nature or my naivety or my unwavering hope in humanity, but I could look at a situation and see the value, potential and redeeming qualities when people are proverbially adding fuel to the burning building.
Lately I’ve been involved with several conversations regarding the future of the church and the future of women’s ministry.
I’ve read the blogs and heard the gripes from both men and women, but I can’t help but see the future. A future filled with passionate, smart, educated women helping advance the Gospel through more than just Bunko nights, tea parties and Creative Memories scrapping gatherings.
This comes on the heels of a conversation I had with my dear friend Lindsey after she attended a women’s ministry event with me. We’ve had numerous conversations about this topic, so her view isn’t new. She posted a comment on Twitter and garnished a number of legitimate responses.
Though pink table cloths and flower centerpieces still exist in older paradigm models of women’s ministry, does that take away from the power of this demographic within the church?
If statistics are correct, the American Evangelical church is comprised of 61 percent females who are more likely to serve in ministry and more likely to tithe when compared to their male counterparts. So why all the hate?
Because something is missing.
The model for women’s ministry is very much based off the social circle founded in the conservative south. The growth of traditional women’s ministry advanced circa 1950 when young women were getting married and starting families before the age of 23. The ladies luncheons and bridge circles found in sororities and women’s clubs matriculated into the church as an alternative for those seeking community within the church.
The advance of women’s rights, liberation and burning bras created a new woman with the choice to pursue education and a degree or pursue the option of homemaking [or both]. The social climate was changing, but the church remained stagnant, doing what they have always done to reach the same people in their homogenous culture.
Fast-forward to today.
Thankfully, most women aren’t burning their bras, and most women shave their underarms. But the evolved woman within the city-center-based church no longer feels connected or in need of social circles or bridge games.
The desire to partake in evangelism, leadership and mobilization has grown to include seasoned women in their 60s, business professionals in their 50s, engaged mobilizers with resources in their 40s, passionate women in their 30s, relentless youth in their 20s and even younger.
I’ve seen the power of women coming together for the common good and it’s beautiful.
To love the broken.
To feed the hungry.
To believe in faith.
To heal the hurting.
To encourage the saints.
Though the model may be slightly inept in the American church, do we throw the baby out with the bath water? Do we continue to separate ourselves from the place where we can find healing and wholeness and community?
I believe women’s ministry is an invaluable contribution to the American church if we move in the direction of:
Recognizing different life stages in women’s ministry.
Not all women are married with preschoolers.
Not all women are going through menopause.
Not all women are in college.
If we fail to adapt in meeting general rather than specific needs, we will continue to ostracize those outside of the 35-50, married with kids demographic.