Is the local church meeting the needs of half the congregation?
There was a time, in our not too distant past, when women’s ministry was a punchline. For years, women’s ministry was viewed as a second rate ministry, more akin to a social club than a serious effort at discipleship. The label conjured images of women sipping tea and doing crafts, occasionally discussing Jesus, but mostly recipes and self-esteem.
Because of this stereotype, many women have tended to avoid women’s ministry events. In my own years of serving this arm of the church, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “That’s just not my thing.”
But the wind is shifting, and women’s ministry is not what it used to be. Change at the local level has been slow, but national women’s ministries have become a force of nature. In the last couple of months, journalists have begun to notice the sizeable influence of female leaders at the national level. Jen Wilkin, a women’s minister at The Village Church, zeroed in on this phenomenon with a single tweet: “If you had to ask, ‘Who’s Jen Hatmaker?’ it’s time to be more directly invested in the spiritual nurture of half your church.”
Wilkin pinpoints a shift that has been taking place in the last five to ten years. While evangelicals debated the role of women in the church, women were finding other ways to use their gifts. They carved out new spaces which honored their respective traditions, while allowing them to pursue their callings. And now, we are waking up to the fruit of this labor. Whatever your opinion about national women’s ministries, their roaring success makes one thing clear: they’re filling a need.
The size and effect of these national ministries begs an important question: …