Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Four Word Comment on Women's Ministry


When asked, "What are your thoughts on Women's Ministry?", these four words are by far the most common from women inside the church.

Church Lady Praise And Prayer
"I don't measure up."

I don't measure up. I can't do it. I tried, I left. I am not that. 

Almost every woman I've talked to has said the same thing. 

They have either tried Woman's Ministry and left, or they won't come near it. 

The thought of having to cram themselves into the "godly woman" mold is just too much, so they run...or they just stay away. 

Before you say, "Those are just a few extreme cases of women who have been hurt by the church", I'd encourage you to do your own informal survey. Ask around and see what you hear. As I have listened to women of all ages in various life stages, I am hearing the same thing. I am forcing myself to listen. By forcing myself, I mean to say I am straining to hear their heart cries. If so many women are saying the same thing,

I (we) need to listen. 

I (we) must ask questions.

I (we) cannot ignore the truth.

Google Women's Ministry and you will find several articles and posts on the topic, some are very good. However, I was intrigued recently by a question posed on Facebook. Author, Elyse Fitzpatrick, simply asked the following, "I'd like to know what you think are the dumbest things people tell women they have to do in order to be godly." Over the course of several hours, 446 women weighed in...here are some of the responses:
  • Depression is just pride, overcome your pride-overcome depression.
  • You need to keep a beautiful yard so the neighbors will see the beauty of Jesus. 
  • You need to speak softly.
  • Isolate children from the world's influences.
  • You must nurse.
  • Postpartum depression or baby blues can be anticipated and dealt with by loving God and trusting in Him, and more humble.
  • Do not talk about your sin or you will give Jesus and Christianity a bad name.
(read all 446 responses here - Post by Elyse Fitzpatrick.)

These comments are from real women, in real churches, living real lives. Maybe you've never heard these before, but I'm sure there are other "expectations" set before you to help you on your way to "godliness." (read more on expectations and the gospel here.)

Please hear me when I say, 

that all of this is categorically NOT the gospel. 

If you hear these sorts of expectations from your church, run...quickly.

All of this frightens me. I oversee a ministry to women and...

...my heart breaks for all the women who feel left out and for anyone who feels crushed under the weight of made up rules and "Christian" imposed pressure.

The roots of fear and the wounds from harsh taskmasters are deep. 

Pray for a freedom revolution.

Pray that the gospel reaches deep so captives are set free.

May we be women who are unafraid. Bold in our witness of Jesus and the freedom he died to bring us. 

May we be less about telling each other what to do, and more about declaring to each other the freedom we have in Christ.

You are loved. You are cherished. Jesus has set you free. He came for you, beloved. He came so that you would be free. Free to love. Free to live. Free to be who he made you to be. That freedom never came with a list of rules. It came with an emancipation proclamation that reads "It is finished." Go now, and live your lives out of that freedom.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed." Luke 4:18

4 comments:

  1. We watched your church streaming this morning. Hearing you speak made my heart ache to be a part of such a caring women's ministry. When I was suffering a deep depression I was told by my pastor that I was dragging the name of Jesus through the mud. When Tullian said brokenness precedes usefulness it gave me hope. Hope that some day I would be useful
    Love your blog. I'm always encouraged.

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    1. Hi Susan,

      I am so sorry for your pain, but grateful for how God is showing you that it's brokenness that God uses. Thanks for reading and I'm thankful you've been encouraged along the way my friend.

      Blessings,
      Lori

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  2. Absolutely. Thank you for listening to the conversations, Lori. You are a blessing to that church in ways yet to be seen!

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    1. Thanks Kendra, appreciate your encouragement!

      Blessings,
      Lori

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