Thursday, October 27, 2011

Do We Need Women's Ministry?

Did that title grab your attention? It caught my attention when I first read it -- I read a blog that I discovered on Facebook called "Why We Don't Need Women's Ministry." Click here to read it yourself.

I've stewed on this article for a few days now and decided to respond. There are some points she makes that I agree with, but there are other things that I think I'll politely disagree with -- or maybe it's that I'm taking a different angle. Since TMC's Women's Ministry is currently promoting our Home Groups (not too late to register!) with an emphasis on "domestic skills", I feel the urge to defend our programs a bit in light of this article. See if you can follow me here...

First off, I'll be the first to admit that I am far from a domestic diva. My role in the Halpin kitchen is comical. My husband does 99% of the grocery shopping and almost as much of the cooking. Every now and then I'll have an urge to bake, but it's mostly to fulfill a chocolate craving. When I provide a baby meal for a family (which is next to never), it's either a gift certificate or take out (what new mom doesn't love Chipotle!) And although I'd love to say I can sew and be like those creative geniuses on Project Runway, I can't. I depend on others to create and design my wardrobe (along with my pillows, curtains, and kids' Halloween costumes!) I don't iron my husbands shirts unless it's an emergency and he's the one who makes the dry cleaning drop offs. Wow, I'm building myself up to be quite the Domestic Queen aren't I?

So when I read an article like this, I would usually gravitate toward her opinion. I am all for a strong woman who has a spirit of independence, can run a business if she chooses to do so, and holds two masters. This same woman could also be a theologian who plunges into the Word of God, correctly interprets Scripture and applies it to her life. But where does domesticity fit into all of this?
Let's take a look at what this article says and then I'd like to respond:

"But I'm here with you tonight because I want what the world cannot give me. We're choking on cutesy things and crafty bits, safe lady topics, and if one more person says that modest is hottest with a straight face, I may throw up. We are hungry for authenticity and vulnerability, not churchified life hacks from lady magazines. Some of us are drowning, suffocating, dying of thirst for want of the cold water of real community. We're trying really hard--after all, we keep showing up to your lady events, and we leave feeling just a bit empty. It's just more of the same every time."

Agreed. BUT, cannot a sophisticated, educated woman also know how to dress well, plan a party, and keep her house clean? Do you think we she just knows how to do all of that? No, not the women I know...and I know lots that fit this bill. They've been taught or it was modeled to them. And in my opinion, that's what a good women's ministry will do -- it will disciple women to bear the image of Christ, to know the Word, and build community among other women. AND, it will create a culture that will help us in areas where we can grow and learn. Discipleship and mentoring can occur in many different environments.

"We're not all mothers, some of us work outside the home, some of us have kids, and others don't or won't or can't. Is womanhood only about wifehood and motherhood? What about those among us that are not wives and mothers? We're not all in the same season of life. We are - or should be - diverse image bearers of a Divine God."

No, of course we're not all mothers of wives. That is one of my favorite things about our Women's Ministry at TMC -- it's one of the few ministries that any woman can be a part of no matter her marital status, the number of kids she has, and what her career path resembles. I tend to think that Women's Ministry is one of the most diverse ministries a church has to offer. However, there can also be value to focusing into one particular "group" in order to teach and encourage for a particular time. When Mary led a book study on Did I Kiss Marriage Good-bye? she had an incredible opportunity to teach and mentor single women in our church, from all different backgrounds and ages.

"We need Jesus. We are seeking deep spirituality. We are seeking fellow travelers. We are hungry for true community, a place to tell our stories and listen to another, to love well. But above all, point me to Jesus--not to the sale at the mall."
 I love this. I agree with it through and through. If a women's ministry isn't pointing women to a deeper relationship with Jesus, then it is useless. But, I'd like to challenge us (or perhaps it is just this particular blogger?) to see that this kind of discipleship can be had over a warm piece of homemade pie, a cutely decorated cup-cake, or even a sewing machine. Just ask my daughter.

Now, with all that said, you can challenge Mary and me to bring deeper, more meaningful teaching and/or programs if you feel like we're not hitting the mark. We'd love to hear from you. And, I'd also like to encourage you to get involved with what we're already doing! Our Home Groups are phenomenal; one-on-one mentoring can make a serious impact on someone's life; the books we read in our book clubs are intentional and challenging; and our luncheons will not waste your time. And our newly launched Precious to Him Project will take you into dark places and difficult ministry for the sake of others. Come on over, ladies!

"We are smart. We are brave. We want to change the world." Change the world for the sake of Christ...


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