Misogyny. Power Hungry. Abuse. Women’s roles.
Over the last month as I have watched a scrolling screen filled with twitter comments, news articles, and the tennis match of words, opinions, charges, and accusations all around the place of women in the church, I have had to remind myself that I’m not the ball. No matter what is said ‘out there’ that it’s not the final definition of who I am or the work I get to take part in. In spite of all the jargon, there is a real and needed discussion happening within the church, both brothers and sisters, and it would do us all well to make sure we don’t miss out on it.
Beth Moore shook the internet with her humble and forward account of what it’s like to be a woman in ministry. As I read it, it felt like a slow and vulnerable exposure of similar moments I have experienced in my time in ministry, but that’s not where it left off. I started to reflect on the men in my life who lovingly spurred me on, who are not at all characterized by what has filled the news cycle. I wholeheartedly know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for their influence and spurring on in my life. So I hope to open up a dialogue between all of us, brothers and sisters alike. We are on the same team, we are much stronger together than apart, and there is work to be done.
Brothers, in asking the question, “How do I encourage and support my sisters in the faith?” here are a couple things to get the dialogue started:
This seems so simple right? Ask a question, any question. How are you doing? How are you managing all that is on your plate? Is there anything I can do to come alongside you and make this better? How are things going with your family? Do you push past just a ‘hello’ or ‘hey’?
Call me crazy, but with any relationship the more you listen, the more you learn, and the more you grow. You can learn a lot from someone when you ask questions, and the more you get to know the heartbeat of the women leaders in your church the more you will find she is a lot more similar to you than you thought. She struggles with perception and what others will think. She wrestles with being overworked and discouraged. She gets excited about seeing God move in certain ways.
How often do you highlight, share, or brag on ministries that are led by women in your church? Do you publically let everyone know how selfless and awesome that nursery worker is who consistently gives up her time and puts in double the time than some paid positions?
You don’t have to be in ministry five minutes to know that there are hard, dry seasons. We need to, both brothers and sisters, encourage one another. Shoot an encouraging email when you see her working long hours. Share the event on social media that she has poured hours of planning and prep into. Tell her, to her face how much her sacrifice and her gifts mean to you and the Church.
At your next staff meeting or ministry meet-up take notice of how many women are at the table or in the room. How many women are involved in the planning and dreaming of the church/ministry? What perspectives are being voiced that help speak to over 55% of your congregation?
Don’t assume women wouldn’t want to be included or hesitate because it’s new and a little uncomfortable to invite women into places – trainings, meetings, conversations – that are traditionally male-dominated. You’ll both benefit from the challenge. I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it weren’t for a brother and his peers deciding to help give a platform to SBC Women and graciously asked me to start contributing. You hold a lot of power in your influence, connections, and platforms. How are you leveraging that for your sisters? What positions are you seeking for them? How are you highlighting their gifts?
I’m going to take a shot here that is going to be a bit pointed, but I think it is worth mentioning. You and I, all of us, need to be reminded that we are family. Family looks out for the good of one another. Family fights for one another not against. Family rallies, not leaving anyone to go it alone.
So much of the conversation between men and women in ministry has been highly weighted with the caution that women are a threat to your ministry. Warning that if you get too close, or you spend too much time surely you will fall into sexual sin. I know that the number of times this actually happens is more than we would like to admit, but maybe it’s because we have only talked about ‘staying away’ instead of ‘working alongside.’ We have to exchange ‘a possible moral failure’ with ‘sister in Christ.’ Are there boundaries? Absolutely. In no way am I suggesting we don’t go forward without wisdom, but we go forward with wisdom and in partnership with one another.
Brother, what women do you have in your sphere that are doing great work for the Kingdom?
Sister, what brothers have influenced your walk to help get you where you are today?
Let’s keep the conversation going……
But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head-Christ.
From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.
– Ephesians 4:15-16
Jacki King is a Jesus follower, Bible teacher, and Coffee Addict. She has a passion for seeing women fall in love with Jesus and His Word while challenging them to be on mission in their homes, work places, and communities. Jacki lives in Sachse,TX with her Husband Josh, who is the Lead Pastor/Elder of Sachse’s Church, along with their 3 boys Haddon (9) Leland (7) and their youngest Amos (4) who was adopted from Ethiopia. To connect with Jacki follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @JackiCKing