In the midst of seminary studies and nearing the launch of a new Women’s Mentoring Ministry at my church, interesting conversations have emerged.
Very well intentioned Christians have raised concerns about intentionally, some may even say aggressively, mentoring women to know and love God, know who they are in Christ Jesus, and to love others. The concerns are two-fold: the responsibilities of women and teaching women to lead among men.
The mentoring ministry chatter goes something like this:
Well you know that women are busy. My challenge: “I know, but are they busy about the right things?”
You know that evenings and weekends are preserved for “family time.” My challenge: “If a woman works (as many of them do), when does she focus on her relationship with the Lord.”
You can’t possibly expect women to attend a monthly mentoring session for three hours. My challenge: “Would they complain about the time if it was a child’s sporting event, dinner and a movie with girlfriends, or television watching and internet surfing?”
We should be a little concerned if the women advance in learning above their husbands. (I’ll write more on that comment later.)
I find it interesting that when people find out that I am a seminary student, they immediately ask, “Well, what do you want to do with that degree (assuming that I would not pastor—which I have no interest in doing by the way.” I’m clear on why I am attending seminary, but what if I was just attending to learn. Would that be acceptable for me as a woman?
I’ve spoken to several women and who are only attending seminary because they want more of God. Some are single, married, and moms, and their wisdom makes me rejoice. I’ve seen them in study groups in the library, pregnant bellies rolling to class, and pumping breast milk in the restrooms during lunch breaks. Again, for those observations, I rejoice.
Some have asked, “How does your husband feel about you going to seminary?” I hear the growing concern in their voice that my husband might be intimidated as I increase in knowledge. The fact is: every seminary book that we own is available for him to read if he chooses. He gets the opportunity to read every research paper and dialog concerning challenging topics without during any of the research. If you ask me, he is getting a pretty sweet deal!
When confronted with these concerns, I find myself going back to my fundamental beliefs:
- I am committed to the truth that Jesus has redeemed my entire life, and not just “my” spare time. When I live a surrendered life to him, he will clearly guide my choices. I work to reveal his truth to a lost world and to bring him glory.
- Leadership and theology are connected in this way; every Christian (male and female) is a theologian and leader. The true question is whether we are good ones or not.
- A woman who is not wise (according to the Bible) brings destruction on herself, her household (marriage and children), and the church. Want a small glimpse of a Godly woman, check out Proverbs 31 and Titus 2. On the other hand, the proverbs are also filled with examples of the demise of foolish women.
We have been training women to be mentors and leaders for the past four or more months. They are now starting to believe that God will use them mightily in this capacity. I firmly believe that the women who are trained and taught through the mentoring ministry will be transformed by renewing they minds and will actively pursue God’s perfect will to the benefit of their neighbors, co-workers, families, and the Church.
Why do some think it is acceptable for the Church to accommodate ignorance among women?
How do you face challenges of prioritizing? How do you or your church intentionally “grow up” women in the knowledge of the Lord? In The Gospel of Ruth, James asks, “When women are strong, do men become stronger, or are they weakened (pg 171)?” Let’s dialog about it…
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011
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