Why Women in The Church Need to Quit Limiting Ourselves

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Sunday night I spoke to an exhausted friend who had spent her day worshipping, training young girls to serve in the church, and taking them to visit elderly widows in the nursing home.

A few minutes before that I walked past a room full of ladies finalizing the details of a women’s retreat focused on fellowship and Bible for the coming weekend.

Earlier in the day was the weekly lunch several of our women have organized to make sure that every visitor and member can find a place to eat and belong.

Monday morning I met a friend for a Bible study and we discussed an opportunity she had to a minister to another lady at her gym.

Last weekend I spent time with a friend who was sharing the joys and struggles involved in her greatest ministry of raising her sweet children to love the Lord.

A few days ago I read the blog of a woman detailing the stages she’s gone through while working in a difficult mission field.

A week ago I received a message from a friend asking if I would be able to return to a camp that teaches teenage Christian girls to be servant leaders, training them to teach and study and lead and serve those around them.

Every day I see countless girls using various forms of social media to share scriptures and shine their lights in whatever way they can.

Just a brief scan of the last ten or so days of my life shows an inundation of women – strong, hardworking, humble, beautiful Christian women – who use their lives as a ministry for God in whatever way they see available to them. I’ve been overwhelmed by their example and the impact they’re making on the world.

Women will be able to accomplish so much more if we quit seeing ourselves as victims for what we can’t do rather than feeling empowered to serve in ways we can.

And then I hear complaints about how women are treated like second-class citizens in the church due to the lack of standing behind the pulpit in some capacity come Sunday. That I’m being oppressed, if only I could realize it. That our God-given talents are being wasted and we ought not stand for that.

For the sake of clarity, I’ll go ahead and clear up my stance from the get-go: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet” (1 Timothy 2:12). My purpose here isn’t to defend why this verse actually means what it looks like it means, or to tell you why Paul isn’t just a sexist we shouldn’t take seriously in civilized society, although it does and he isn’t. While a worthy topic, I’m instead just going to take the Bible at its word here and move on to what is actually my purpose.

Women will be able to accomplish so much more if we quit seeing ourselves as victims for what we can’t do rather than feeling empowered to serve in ways we can.

I have a lot of love and respect for preachers (especially the one I married; he’s a good guy) and the amount of study and effort they put into their ministry. I admire the men who use their talents to lead singing and the ones willing to serve by leading us in prayer or serving communion. Any man who gets up to lead the assembly in some way does so due to his love of the Lord and he opens himself up to the criticism of others. I admire and appreciate them for their willingness to do so.

But the second we believe that our Christianity begins and ends with what we can and can’t do during our Sunday morning worship is the second we completely misunderstand the purpose of Christianity. Worship is important. Vitally so. Worshiping with others is both commanded by and expected from God. But it’s not even close to everything.

Discipleship is about how we live our lives. It’s about being examples, showing love, and bringing others to Christ. It’s about what we do the other six and a half days of the week.

There are a lot of intelligent and gifted women out there who understand and have an ability to share the word of God. They should. But in ways that God wants. Otherwise, what’s the point? Paul was a well-educated man who likely possessed impressive oratory abilities. But when he approached the Corinthians he deliberately downplayed those skills “so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5). God doesn’t seem to be impressed with how good we are with the abilities he’s given us. He’s far more concerned with whether or not we’re willing to humble ourselves to do what He asks.

Women can do so much in the Kingdom. Our role is not one of oppression, disdain, or condescension. It’s a powerful one. It was the role of Lois and Eunice, instilling faithfulness for generations to come. It was the role of Priscilla, teaching and evangelizing alongside her husband, sometimes at risk to her own life. It was the role of Phoebe, serving and giving to many in need. It’s the role of numerous women in your own life who work in a variety of ways, quiet and loud, to grow the church.

It’s your role. Not because you’re a woman, but because you’re a Christian and, as such, you’ve made a commitment to love and obey Him. That’s humbling, but not humiliating. It’s incredible. It’s time we see it as such.

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
(Matthew 16:24-25)

In Him,
Lauren

Lauren Bookout
About Lauren Bookout 48 Articles
I'm an Oklahoma girl living in Louisiana with my amazing husband Travis, and our sweet, busy son Oliver. My Masters is in school counseling and I love using that background to work with girl of all ages who are trying to find their place in the world and, more importantly, in God's church. When I'm not doing that, I stay busy as a photographer, speaker, and general preacher's wifery. I love my family, Oklahoma and Texas, being outdoors, wanderlusting, college football, and whatever whimsy is currently on my mind, but I try to live my life serving God in all that I do.

6 Comments on Why Women in The Church Need to Quit Limiting Ourselves

  1. Thank you for this article. I am working with some middle school girls at our local congregation, and they specifically asked to study what their role is in the church. I am going to share the article with them as part of our study!

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