61% of all church goers in the US are women.
Women don’t just fill a majority of the pews on Sunday morning, we fill seats everywhere from the secretary’s office to the Sunday school room. We clean the buildings, make communion magically appear on tables across America and assure that no guest in the assembly goes unnoticed. We keep the shut-ins on the prayer list and the social calendar up to date.
We are the majority. And quite often we are the silent, neglected majority.
We sit passively week after week at the feet of men who, by and large, don’t really get the issues we face.
So here it is. Ten issues facing women in the church.
Defining their ministry
Sisters, we are floundering. We are desperate to find our gifts. We are hungry to use our talents. We know we have a heart to serve but we just don’t know when, where or how.
We have to overcome the influence of male-centered, “church” obsessed theology. There is a whole lot more to doing church the biblical way than what happens an hour a week in a building we call church.
Each of us plays a part. Romans 12
Lack of biblical knowledge concerning women’s role in the church
Maybe our ministries would be more easily defined if the church spent less time pounding the “no woman preachers” pulpit and started cheerleading the biblical examples of women who were in the thick of it. Women in the New Testament church played an essential part in the birth and growth of the Lord’s body.
- Financial supporters Luke 8:1-3
- Partners in prayer Acts 1:14
- Servants Rom 16:1-2
- Coworkers Rom 16:3
- Church mothers Acts 12:12; 1 Cor 1:11 Col 4:15
- Church protectors 2 John
Not all women who want to be involved are trying to take over the church. From the time I took my first missionary trip to the Philippines, I have heard, “What’s next the pulpit?”
I have no desire to preach on Sunday mornings. I do have deep desire to share the message of Jesus to whoever will give me an ear. And I’m not the only woman who’s ever felt that way. Phil 4:2-3
There are some pretty amazing, godly, right-motived women out there who are marginalized by the powers that be. There is a minimally tapped wellspring of wisdom and faith. There is a pool of talent and gifts that could impact the kingdom for good that is still warming the pew.
Girls, if no one else values you, know this. God does. Matt 10:31
Shortage of strong men
Confident, well-studied men aren’t intimidated by women who want to contribute. We need more of you. We need you to believe in us. We need you to champion us. We need you to rise up to your place as shepherds and protectors of the church. We need you to feed all his sheep.
We need you to value the God-ordained role of women. We need you to value our place. We need you make us feel like true fellow-heirs of the grace of life. 1 Pet 3:7
Good girl image
When I first became a Christian, as a teenage girl who had seen and done a lot of sin, I was shamed into silence. No one ever told me to keep secrets or hide my past, but I knew that was door that needed to remain shut.
Here’s the thing, it’s OK to perpetuate your pristine church girl image if that’s what you are. But if you are like me and locked a few too many skeletons in the closet, I want you to know that Jesus girls comes in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds.
- Prostitutes Luke 7:36-39
- Adulteresses John 8:3-11
- Racial outcasts Mark 7:24-30
- Crippled Luke 13:10-13
- Divorced John 4:17-18
Lack of teaching on women’s issues
Women are facing a new era of ethical and moral dilemmas. They need biblical teaching to guide them through uncharted waters. Women need the bible to answer their questions about:
- Birth control
- Infertility treatments
- Blended families
- Career choices
- Mental health
Women need safe places and Christ-centered teaching on life issues. The church should be that place.
The church, generally speaking, is dreadfully ill-prepared to deal with the abused and the abuser. We lack teaching on identifying psychological and emotional abuse in marriage. We often leave women feeling like adultery is the only way out, so they have to just deal with getting shoved into the wall or slapped across the face now and then. We fail to create a safe place for battered wives to whisper their secrets let alone a place to run to.
Jesus says, “Come to me and I will give you rest.” His church should provide the same.
The amount of sexual abuse happening in America today is horrific. Click for Statistics.
The American church is no different. Women in the church are coming to Christ with their wounds bleeding, hearts damaged and walls of distrust firmly erected.
We need more talk. We need more action. We need more protection. We need more prevention. We need to create an environment where victims feel less shame about telling and more confident that someone is going to do something that helps.
Women aren’t church spectators. Women don’t need the church. Women don’t support the church. Women are the church.
Now, in Christ, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or free, male or female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus. You belong to Christ, so you are Abraham’s descendants. You get all of God’s blessings because of the promise that God made to Abraham.