Women in Ministry: Following God’s Path
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
It’s not always easy for women to find a place in ministry. Even in our modern times, there can be an imbalance when it comes to leadership opportunities extended and available to men and women in ministry. Whether attempting to join the staff of a local church in a specific position, becoming a pastor of a pre-established church, or starting a new ministry, challenges may arise. Building a ministry is difficult for anyone, but even more so for women.
Fortunately, with a little creativity and God’s guidance, there is a path forward for anyone who is strong and determined enough to follow it. Here are some of the steps to follow to fulfill your purpose in ministry.
Be a Minister First
Often, women going into ministry become pigeonholed as a token women in their roles. In other words, you aren’t taken seriously. It’s quite common for women to be shepherded into “women-only” ministries that cover “women-only” issues. While those concerns are important, that shouldn’t be the limit of what you have to say about God.
There can be pressure to tailor your ministry directly to women. That may be your goal, which is perfectly fine, but if you wish to reach everyone, be sure to avoid the trap of speaking only to the concerns related to your sex. Bringing God into everyday experiences can be a way to invigorate faith, but try to avoid speaking only about stereotypically female topics. Broadening your approach to include everyone in the community will not only open the doors to a larger congregation, it will also demonstrate your ability to relate on a level beyond your gender.
Once a community begins to respect your voice as a minister, you will quickly be seen not just as a woman, but as a dedicated, faithful messenger of the Gospel.
Prove You Have the Mind and the Faith for Ministry
You may need to demonstrate your skill. For a man entering the holiest trade, basic credentials can suffice to prove his competence, but you may have to display more prominently your knowledge of God and scripture. Getting published and finding respected ministers to sponsor you will go a long way to assuage any fears that you don’t belong.
Turn the Other Cheek But be Bold in Your Convictions
No matter how hard you work to portray yourself as a respectable member of the ministry, there is always going to be criticism. The best way to deal with negative comments is to show Christian compassion even when it is hard. Try to understand the difficulty that some people have in accepting a woman guiding their spiritual lives, and return mistrust and dislike with kindness. By allowing those who struggle with your ministry to graciously return to the fold when they are ready, and to do so without stigma, you leave the doors open for reconciliation after a short period. You also de-escalate any disagreements and allow yourself to represent the more mature, godly side of the argument. Fighting back too hard can end up creating a fracture in the congregation.
Take Inspiration from those who Came Before
When the struggle becomes too much, look to those who came before to find the strength to keep going. The history of Christianity is full of women who have testified to God’s holy truth. From Christ’s mother to the early female martyrs, Christianity’s founding is full of powerful women who stood up and spread the Word of God.
Christianity could have never grown as far and quickly as it did if not for these women.
Use their stories to strengthen your faith and resolve in the face of opposition. Whatever you face ahead, there have been women who faced greater odds, and through the power of Christ, overcame them.