May 12, 2008

Women's Ministry Leadership: Teaching Scripture, Avoiding Fads

I'm always looking for the latest book or study for womens ministry study groups. My expectations are usually low because there is so much fluff or theologically weak materials available. Pondering this problem caused me to reflect on the market altogether and why it even exists. While there are many bible studies that exist for men and for mixed groups, I question why there are so many more available to women...and I think its because there are so few womens ministry leaders with the capacity to teach without a study or curriculum. I'd love to be wrong. If there are more women who are capable of expounding on God's Word without the aid of a Beth Moore video or Cynthia Heald study, I'd love to know. I'm not saying those materials shouldn't be available, but it probably speaks to the composition of womens leadership in evangelical circles. What women in the local church are available and equipped to regularly teach directly from Scripture? Because, as it seems to me, that there are few women who can fulfill this role, we need to rethink some things about womens ministry.

1. If there are women gifted to teach in your church, what is preventing them from exercising that gift?

2. Encourage young women to pursue seminary education to serve women in the local church. While I think young women are interested in this, I think there are few more mature women who know to encourage them this direction.

3. Churches: encourage women's ministry leaders to pastoral ministry, not simply event planning. Women can be called "Pastor of Womens Ministry" without compromising any views of roles in the church. Promote the value of women pursuing advanced education to serve the local church.

4. The "rock star" perception of womens conference speakers has got to end. This way of viewing the more famous leaders has a way of making church womens leaders feel very small and irrelevant.

5. Few pastors are raised up out of the ranks of the pews without them pursuing at least a college degree, but usually seminary. Yet this expectation doesn't exist for women's ministry leaders. Why? It's not necessary that she have a seminary degree, but I fear we do more to discourage it than encourage it.

I probably have many points I'm trying to make with this post, but mostly I want to encourage those who are gifted teachers in womens ministry to function according to those gifts and not be dependent on the next cool fad to hit the bookstore.


Krista said...

I agree with you. I am currently looking for material for a one day seminar that will begin the process of addressing the current need for women to rise up and lead other women in their churches. If you know of any material that is available please let me know via this site.

Sarah J. Flashing said...

Hi Krista, great to hear from you! I really think you need to expound with your women on what is being encouraged in Titus 2, examine some biblical models, such as Priscilla and Mary of Bethany, and address the cultural climate we live in. So much reflection needs to occur about the world we live in, for the sake of our younger women. Depending on your location, I would enjoy working with you on such a seminar, to equip, inform, and inspire a generation of women responsible for their own faith.let me know if I can be any

Anonymous said...

The reason why we are forced to use other study materials is because most women(and men) don't read their Bibles because they think they won't be able to understand it. When we begin teaching directly from the word, I have a drop off in numbers. For a Beth Moore study I will have up to 60 registered and an average of 50 per study night. However by the end only a quarter are doing the homework.

Now I'm doing a Kay Arthur study, God, Where Are You When Bad Things Happen.", but I'm breaking it down and doing all the underlining at the study and giving very small assignments that I devise myself. I have about 28 coming, and last week we had only 20. It seems that women are drawn to big names and study books that go with those teachings. I, on the other hand, like to hear a fresh word from God. Sometimes I get frustrated, but I am determined to train women to learn how to study the word for themselves. What are they going to do when something happens and they need to hear from God?

Yvonne Klich