Reading Reflection:

 Women’s Ministry in the Local Church, J. Ligon Duncan & Susan Hunt (Crossway, 2006) I’m 36 years old. It’s an interesting age. For one thing, I can’t figure out if I’m considered one of the older women in the church or if I still get to be called a young’un. In the women’s Bible study that I’m privileged to be a part of, I still get to be a youngster. They started out as a “Sisters of Naomi” group for widows. Then they decided to open it up for any women who would like to do a Bible study with them. I’ve always admired that group of ladies, but could never make their Tuesday morning study until all my children were old enough for school. Even still, when I approached that milestone, I found myself busy with other things. So, one Sunday morning I found myself praying a kind of silly prayer. Before the service began, I told the Lord that I knew I should probably go to that study. I kind of mentioned to God that if someone from the class would personally invite me to go, I knew that would motivate me to make the commitment. Interestingly, at the end of that service, I was approached by the teacher. She asked me if I would be willing to teaching their class. Yeah, I kind of felt like God pulled one over on me. Of course it has been such an incredible blessing to be a part of this group. These women are true gems in the crown of our church. They are mature, godly women who are an inspiration and comfort to my soul. Naturally, I want to share this blessing with more women. And, as my sister says, I can sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves if I believe in it. I’ve been running my mouth about my awesome ladies. The thing is, many younger women who would benefit from their wisdom and experience either have jobs or little kids running around the house. In talking it over with my pastor, he suggested we have another women’s group that would meet monthly on an evening or weekend. That sounded great, but also made me realize that we should maybe more formally implement a women’s ministry, to insure unity with all the groups and the church. I mentioned this idea to the elders, but didn’t want to make it turn into just another program. That’s why I picked up an old book I had on my shelf, Women’s Ministry in the Local Church. Women play a very special role in the life of the church. God has created us in such a complimentary fashion that we are, as a whole, very intuitive and relational. Studies show that men even open up more when there is a woman around. One of our more important roles in the covenant community is laid out for us in Titus 2. While most of us are familiar with this passage, we don’t always know how to apply it. This book gives us a biblical, purposeful way of doing so. Here are two passages of the book that I found particularly encouraging:
We need to help Christian women appreciate the manifold areas of service that are open to them in the church and equip them distinctively as women to fulfill their ministry. But this will never happen if our approach to discipleship in the church is androgynous—that is, if it refuses to take into account the gender distinctives of the disciple. (Ligon Duncan)… The leaders of a women’s ministry must be unyielding in the commitment to the principles of discipleship presented in Titus 2. They must be equally diligent in calling and equipping women to assume their generational responsibility to learn from older women and to train younger women. Whether women are teaching a woman’s Bible study or a class of teenage girls, chairing a women’s retreat committee or singing in the choir, decorating for a woman’s outreach event or serving on the church’s mission committee, they should be intentionally training or learning from other women. Women discipling women is not just a program—it is the covenant lifestyle of redeemed women. And it is the responsibility of the women’s ministry to equip them for this mission. Someone is teaching women principles of womanhood. Is it the church or the world (127-128)?
In some ways, my age is kind of relative. There will always be those more mature and experienced in Christ, and those who are younger in Christ. God has placed us together in a covenant relationship. Paul’s letter to Titus gives purposeful instruction that is not only for the spiritual good of the women in the church, but will blossom into blessings in their marriages, the church body, and the neighboring communities. So if my elders are reading this, I’m bringing some ketchup popsicles to the next session meeting :).