Honestly, I don’t like church when it doesn’t apply to me. I mean, what is the point?
(Daaaaamnn, Savvy…real talk here… – Rachel 😉 )
The same goes for women’s ministry. Yes, I’m talking about those late morning brunches with pastries and strawberries, craft evenings, going-through-how-to-be-a-woman-of-God book evenings that are just a few examples of what encompasses women’s ministry (at least in my experience).
Now the brunch isn’t the problem. (When is brunch ever a problem?)
It’s more about the emphasis on a certain demographic. I would say 7 out of 10, the leader will say,
“You know, I think how this applies to us as mothers and wives…”
I turn right off because for some reason there’s not much application for me as a single woman, unless it is about waiting for the right man to come along. I don’t think I really belong here.
Sometimes it seems like that women’s ministry is a celebration of motherhood. I have nothing against motherhood and actually am looking forward to having my own kids one day (emphasis on the one day). However, I am not in the place now. Is women’s ministry more than motherhood? I want another application, one that speaks to my stage of life as well.
I poised this question to a family friend of mine who teaches at women’s retreats. Ultimately, she argued, it was the leader’s responsibility to see the needs of the women in front of her and consider the application that will exhort all of them.
“You know what, ” she said coming along aside me, “at the end of the day, women’s ministry needs to be about women’s greatest need, which is to know Christ and to grow closer to Christ.”
With that, it all turns around and I believe that I have my answer.
What a surprise. I had the wrong attitude and the wrong answer…again.
It doesn’t matter whether I think it’s applicable to me or not in terms of my stage of life or ‘where I am at’. Women’s ministry and church is not meant to be all about me or to necessarily please me. (Damn right it’s not, Savvy. -Rachel 😛 ) It’s not a product that I can buy or leave. It’s much bigger than that.
There is no answers for a “successful” ministry where everyone is happy, but there is answer for a ministry where people grow alongside and with each other. The answer is Sunday-School obvious: Jesus.
Women’s ministry needs to be about Christ. Our application, if we do use application, it needs to reflect the diverse needs of the women taking part. Retired women, young mothers, wives, teenagers, single twenty-something young women, and working women all have needs, desires, and insights that are different in each stage of life. There is a need for leaders to keep that in mind.
However, there is also a need for me to push through that. My annoyance at all of this application of motherhood and wanting application for singledom is an issue which I can feel free to say but is ultimately selfish.
I want a ministry to meet my needs. I’m sick of hearing about others needs that don’t apply to me. That is selfish and that cannot be an excuse to not grow in Christ and to grow alongside other women. I would be guilty of not following my own advice. We all apply according to our experience.
Church is applicable not because of shared life experience but because of our shared brokenness. Church is automatically applicable because we are automatically broken. it is meant to point to the place where we can be whole.
This is why we ultimately need to focus on Jesus, our common denominator in our diversity and our wholeness in our brokenness. Growing closer and becoming more like Jesus is the goal, not becoming the best mother or an strong and independent woman.
Let’s commit to knowing Jesus together rather than knowing and comparing our own experiences.