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Women at Ministry: A Call to Biblical Servanthood

When my husband and I began preparing for marriage, I realized that I was stepping into a role I had no prior experience in, so I made it my goal to begin reading books by Christian women. I wanted to learn from theologically sound women who have walked through marriage and could share what they have learned with me. While I found some theologically rich Christian books, I also came across many books that didn’t meet my expectations. Numerous books written for Christian women explore topics that focus on ourselves instead of our Savior, seeming to count the biblical ministries of women as insignificant. The message is often the same: love yourself, put yourself first, rise above, and be a girl-boss. These messages are preached from a desire we all have – a desire to serve ourselves. 

When our eyes are not fixed on the God who saves, we will inevitably flee from faithful servanthood and seek our own good. We will begin to believe that the ministry roles God has given women are insignificant because they do not glorify us. And yet, when we seek to glorify ourselves, we are left feeling dissatisfied. Sadly, this dissatisfaction with ourselves has worked to create women’s ministries that lack sound theology that edifies the soul. Our attempt to empower women to be their best selves has led to the destruction of biblical servanthood – we have come to devalue the ministry of women. And yet, we know that God only calls His children to meaningful servanthood. So, how can women minister to the unsaved and the Body of Christ? 


Women as Trainers

When we think of a role in ministry that keeps the Word of God from being reviled, what position comes to mind? Probably the teaching pastor, but what about the 60-year-old woman in the church who faithfully meets with a young woman each week? Her service is done behind the scenes, and her life is consistent with what she teaches. Her role is absolutely necessary to the church and the world as she trains women to be a light to outsiders.

She doesn’t seek to make a name for herself; instead, she simply follows this command: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,  and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Tit. 2:3-5). Her ministry impacts marriages and children; it produces good fruit and uplifts the Word of God. A woman who serves in this capacity encourages other women to faithful service for Christ as she demonstrates Christ-centered living. 


Women as Teachers

I wish more women were encouraged to pursue this task by emphasizing laypeople's need to know theology. But why would a woman need to know theology? She is prohibited from the pastoral position and is not the head of the household. Women must know theology for many of the same reasons as men: to glorify God, to further their joy in Him, to encourage their spouse, to teach their children, to give wisdom to others, and to share the Gospel. How can a woman rightly worship God through her service if she does not first know the God she’s serving? 

The church needs women who know the Word, can teach it, and spot doctrine not in line with Scripture. We need women like Priscilla, who, alongside her husband Aquila, corrected Apollos, teaching him about the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:26).


Women as Counselors

I have tremendously benefitted from women who have served by counseling me and shepherding my heart. While elders and pastors also fulfill this role, women can uniquely empathize with other women. The church needs women who will counsel other women through their marital struggles, life-altering decisions, anxieties, post-partum depression, prodigal children, and the difficulties of homemaking. The church also needs women who will counsel their husbands and children. We see multiple examples of women counseling in Scripture. Deborah served as a prophetess and judge, giving wise counsel in Israel; Abigail used wisdom to discourage bloodshed between her husband and David; Ruth counseled her mother-in-law and comforted her, and Esther counseled her husband, the king, to save the Israelites from destruction. 

For women to counsel in a manner that honors God, they must know the Word of truth. If the Word of God is sufficient to comfort, instruct, correct, and lead us in godliness, why should we seek counsel from a person who will not guide us in the way of the Lord revealed in Scripture? 


Women as Mothers

After God created man and woman, he called them to the wonderful task of raising children. Not only are we called to be fruitful and multiply, but we are also called to teach our children about our Lord (Deut. 6:6-7). What a high calling! 

It is through the seed of woman that the Savior of the world was born, and by a woman, he was nurtured to good health. From the conception of Christ to his birth, Mary’s body nourished Jesus. Through Mary’s motherly ministry, God raised up the Savior. While none of us mothers are raising the God-Man, we are raising children with eternal souls that God may use to further His kingdom. The responsibility to raise children is an incredibly meaningful ministry. As mothers raise their children, they have the opportunity to teach them the Gospel in word and deed. 

A godly mother is a woman to be honored; she is a woman who "looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Pro. 31:27). Eternal souls are listening to and learning from their mother’s ministry. 


Women as Gospel Messengers and Supporters 

The ministry of women in the work of spreading the Gospel has been immensely fruitful throughout history. Paul the apostle mentions many women who were fellow laborers for God; women like Junia, Phoebe, Priscilla, Lydia, Euodia, and Syntyche served alongside him. Aside from women sharing the Gospel, many women have served to support evangelists by inviting them into their homes, giving encouragement, and financial support. By being hospitable and opening up our homes, we may also share the Gospel ourselves or encourage a brother or sister in Christ toward a life of devoted servanthood. 

Women and children in every tribe, nation, and tongue need to hear the Gospel and be served by Christians. They need other women who can share their testimonies and show them the love of Christ. They need women whom they can be vulnerable with when they doubt they can be saved because of the depravity of their sin. They need women who care for their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. They need women who know the Word of God so they can share the Words of life with the lost in this world.


How the world needs Christian women in ministry! Not because God is lacking without our service but because He has graciously chosen to use women ministers as a means to accomplish His purposes. He chose to use women to serve alongside Christ as he walked the earth, and He still chooses to gift each Christian woman with a ministry that will build up His body. Whether our ministry is in the home as mothers or across the country as a missionary, God will produce fruit from our labor. May the God whom we serve be pleased with our work.


"There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.”

Mark 15:40-41

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Samantha
Samantha
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