When I travel (like within the past few weeks), I sometimes get to read blog but don’t have time to process the information or respond as thoroughly as I would like. Reading the following blog posts from my “Synery Girls” got a rise out of me last week. They ponder thoughts of women, ministry, and the church. These bloggers are two faithful Christians who love the church…two wives, two leaders, two young women, one mother – one not, both asking the primary question, “Why women don’t do women’s ministry?” and pleading with God that they may be part of the solution to this problem.
Please read Nicole Unice’s, “Can Small Groups Work?” and
Suznne’s Burden’s “ Atypical woman in the pew.”
Reading these posts requires an immediate acknowledgement of what we all learn somewhere around page 10 of the Bible where God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone (Genesis 2:18).” Particularly this passage refers to Adam, but explicitly God’s statement is applicable to all of mankind. It is not good for anybody to go through life alone. Isolation is part of the devil’s scheme to lull any vulnerable soul to death!
God created us for community and fellowship. God wants his creation to be connected with him through the salvation that he offers in Jesus, and he wants us to be connected to each other as neighbors. Jesus reminded us of God’s ideals in the two greatest commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandant. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV)”
If women know these truths of the Bible, “Why do they stay away (particularly from women’s fellowship)?” and “What can leaders do to cure this epidemic of women running from women’s ministry?”
I will start the discussion by highlighting three areas that narrow our focus:
- RELEVANCE – Bottom line, I don’t want my time wasted and I don’t like to waste other people’s time. In a very real way, what we offer through ministry needs to be practical (Is this useful? Consider: What’s in it for them?), challenging (Jesus always raised the standard), and transforming (focusing on the truth of the gospel in a manner that pricks the heart and draws people closer to Christ).
- AUTHENTICITY – For a true “connection” to take place, people need to know and believe that you are “real” with them. If they don’t believe that you are sincere, they simply won’t bother to show up. They’ll rather leave you alone to deal with your ministry issues. Be clear concerning your purpose, consider what you are offering, and ensure that the women know how to join in.
- DIVERSITY – I find it shameful that in many ways the secular world has a better understanding of the importance of diversity than the church does. (Far too many churches are segregated by race, ethnicity, and social-economic class. In no way does this reflect the heart of God.) In addition to those distinctions, we are all unique in our spiritual giftedness, talents, and experiences. God values our differences. We can communicate our value of the uniqueness among women by the way that we offer to serve them through ministry.
Nicole asks, “Have you been in a good small group?” My response is, “Yes, and it was because of the three areas of focus identified above.” Imagine a small group where women are discussing theology (what they know about God) and how they can live the gospel in their daily lives. Imagine group discussions that challenge attendees individually and collectively through the truths found in the Bible. Imagine a diverse group of women – business women and stay-and-home moms, a multi-generational group of women, various races – gathering with the focus of loving God and each other.
I was a part of a small group where that vision was realized. Within that group, I brought all of me – I learned from others and they learned from me. This is the vision of the Women’s Mentoring Ministry we are incorporating at our church. This is the unity and focus that God calls us to, and a warning that we cannot continue to wound our neighbors. I’m calling all women to come home.
Will you answer the call to be part of the solution? What might you do differently in your church?
You may also like:
Why Attend the Synergy Conference (March 4-6 in Orlando, Registration is open now.)
© Natasha L. Robinson 2011