Bear with me as I attempt to organize and express my thoughts.
First let me say what I’m not tired of. . .
I’m not tired of cultivating genuine friendships with sisters in Christ.
I’m not tired of gleaning godly wisdom from older women in The Faith.
I’m not tired of learning how to have a stronger marriage and love my husband and our son more deeply.
I’m not tired of those precious Spirit-led “Titus 2 moments” that can only be shared by sisters in Christ.
I believe that it is important for Believing women to connect with and be discipled by other women in The Faith – women who model the character of Christ, hold to sound doctrine, and graciously help other women grapple with life’s issues according to Christ and His word.
I appreciate those women who effectively influence other women for Christ and encourage us in the Refiner’s fire as the Father conforms us into the image of His Son.
In saying that, I want you to know that my list isn’t a judgment, a condemnation, or a criticism of every. single. solitary. women’s ministry on earth.
So let’s all relax, take a deep breath, and “goosfraba.”
There are some amazing women out there pouring Gospel-packed wisdom into the lives of other women in the public eye, in local congregations, and in intimate settings.
So please know that I’m not sharing this list as if to say that all women’s ministries are guilty of these things or somehow ungodly.
Neither am I sharing this list as if to say, “I’m a flawless perfect woman who ministers to everyone perfectly and everything that I have ever said and done has been godly and pleasing to the Father.”
I didn’t write this article with my nose in the air looking down on others as if I’m a “super saint.” I’m just a woman who is saved by grace and I’m honestly tired of some of the things that I have seen and experienced under the banner of “women’s ministry.”
This isn’t a “95 Theses.” These are just my thoughts about why I’m tired of “women’s ministries.”
1.Jesus is a footnote.
Sure, Jesus is mentioned. But He’s typically mentioned as someone who boosts the self-esteem of women, makes us feel valuable and beautiful, sends single women husbands, and manifests our desires.
He is presented as someone who is in the periphery of our life, waiting on us hand and foot to do our will, make us feel better, and make our lives better.
He is Lord “by statement of faith only” but not in practice and consistent teaching.
Jesus isn’t merely some genie in a bottle who affirms us as women, makes our lives better, makes us feel better, and grants our desires.
He is eternal life (1 John 1:1-4). He is the Word of God through whom all things were created (John 1:1-4). He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelations 22:13). He is worshiped by the heavenly host (Revelations 5:1-14).
This might sound odd to some of you, but “Biblical womanhood” and “femininity” shouldn’t have the preeminence in women’s ministry — Jesus should.
There are too many teachings about how to be a godly woman, and not enough teachings about the one who makes us godly: Jesus.
Many women’s ministries have it backwards. They think that if they emphasize “Biblical womanhood,” women will become more godly.
True godliness, however, does not come from emphasizing Biblical womanhood. True godliness comes from teaching women about Christ so that we can behold Him and be transformed by the Holy Spirit into His image and reflect His glory.
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Many women have a form of godliness because they are being taught about “Biblical womanhood” more than Christ Himself.
If you look at the attributes that Scripture says holy women are to have, you will see that Jesus exemplified these attributes in the Gospels. So it’s being conformed to His image that makes us godly women, not conforming to someone’s ideal of “Biblical womanhood.”
Jesus created women in His image, so we need to learn of Him if we are to exemplify true godliness as women. It’s not about being a “better woman” or being “more feminine,” often times according to subjective cultural religious standards. It’s about being more like Christ which means denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
Jesus should not be a footnote in a women’s ministry. He should be the object of our worship, and conforming to His image should be the first and foremost purpose of anything that is said and done under the banner of “women’s ministry.”
2. The Gospel is rarely proclaimed or it’s watered down.
This probably concerns me the most, because many women who follow women’s ministries aren’t saved – many are lost, religious, and still in need of the Gospel.
The most important message that any women’s ministry can teach is the Gospel, because the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
There is a place for teaching women about femininity, courting and marriage, sexual discipline, parenting, how to succeed God’s way in our careers, academics, and finances, having a positive attitude, and how to live morally upright in an immoral generation.
None of these teachings, however, are the Gospel message. None of these teachings can redeem a woman, regenerate her heart, reconcile her back to God, give her eternal life, and save her soul from sin and the second death.
I’m concerned that many women are being taught how to be outwardly moral, have a positive mindset, feel good about themselves, be successful, be physically fit, look nice, be good wives and mothers, how to groom for marriage, how to be feminine, and be a “good person,” but they haven’t heard the Gospel. What is the point in learning all of these things only to die and perish in sin?
The ultimate purpose of women’s ministry isn’t to teach women how to feel better, look better, think positive, and improve themselves. Otherwise, there is no difference between “women’s ministry” and secular self-improvement or secular women’s empowerment, except for a thin outer “Christian” layer.
The ultimate purpose of women’s ministry should be to glorify God through the mutual edification of Believing women and the preaching of the Gospel.
Here in America, we are living in a society where most people who profess faith in Christ don’t know Him and have very little idea of what the Gospel is. This includes those in the pews. Considering this, we should proclaim the Gospel in any sphere of influence that God gives us.
It’s a travesty to mentor and “empower” women who are headed towards an eternity without God because they have never heard the Gospel.
Many “women’s ministries” are omitting the most important and essential life-saving message that women can ever hear — that by repenting and believing in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, they can be saved and have eternal life.
Other “women’s ministries” have edited the Gospel and promote false gospels based on Word-Faith/prosperity heresy, the American dream, “purpose-driven-church-growth” nonsense, political philosophies, New Age philosophy, and works-based teachings that if you believe in Jesus and “do your best to be a good person” you will go to heaven when you die.
There are women out there who have extremely popular “women’s ministries,” but promote a distorted false “gospel” and do not proclaim the truth of the Gospel to their supporters (Galatians 1:6-9).
There is a danger in promoting false gospels, because false gospels indoctrinate people against the true Gospel of Christ and deceive them into thinking that they are right with God when they are not.
Believing a false gospel can lead to a false conversion and a false “salvation.” This places the souls of women who believe a false gospel in grave danger and can harden their heart against the true Gospel.
3. It’s too “tiptoe through the tulips” for me.
As many of you know, I’m passionate about helping people navigate through the messy and painful side of “church.” The spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and other forms of severe mistreatment. I discuss it all here.
My vision for Exit Churchianity was to provide an oasis where Believers feel comfortable sharing about these things free from unrighteous judgments, know that they aren’t alone, and find encouragement to “fight the good fight” and “keep the faith.”
My husband and I also have a heart for engaging individuals within the Black Consciousness Movement and addressing cultural issues that are unique to the Black community from a Biblical perspective.
As you can imagine, this has made me a bit of a firebrand and an outspoken person. Being married to an army man who is just as forthright and on fire for Christ as I am has set me ablaze even more.
I tend not to shy away from serious issues in the professing Christian community, especially if people are being misled and subjugated and lives are being destroyed.
Many women’s ministries on the other hand tend to encourage women to be passive, docile, politically correct, spiritually obtuse and oblivious, and avoid bringing up serious issues in the professing Christian community and society at large.
It’s as if some women’s ministries have this unspoken rule not to discuss the dysfunctional and damaging things going on in the name of Christ. And to just go along with whatever the activity, program, or topical teaching is in a “baby shower” “tea party-like” environment.
Everything has to be “nicey nicey,” sweet and sugary, neat, smooth and seamless, pink and fluffy, overly sentimental, prim and proper, warm cookies and flowers, care bears and rainbows, and “dancing through the daffodils” to the Sound of Music soundtrack.
Okay. Maybe I over-exaggerated a bit. But hopefully you get the point.
I’m ready to “grab the bull by the horns” and tackle real life issues – not sit around twiddling my thumbs in a politically-correct environment listening to endless topical messages about “Biblical womanhood” and gushy emotional stuff.
Tip toe through the tulips? No thanks. I’d much rather be in the trenches going to war in the Spirit.
4. I can’t relate.
There are a few reasons why.
A. Most women’s ministries (that I have seen) don’t address the cultural issues that I deal with as a Christian woman who has African ancestry and lives in a low-income predominantly Black neighborhood.
I find that many women simply don’t want to talk about these things, because it makes them feel uncomfortable, they were taught that Believers shouldn’t discuss cultural issues, they don’t care, or they just aren’t aware of what is going on.
The general message that I get is to stay within the parameters of middle upper class white picket fence American Churchianity and just focus on being prosperous, nice, and having a positive mental attitude with Bible Scriptures sprinkled in. But don’t talk about cultural issues, because that’s “worldly.”
B. I can’t relate to women’s ministries where the Scriptures are skimmed over in a surface-level way, eisegeted on a regular basis, and quoted to support man-centered teachings.
I’m more into sound expositional verse-by-verse preaching and teaching of the Scriptures. Not cliche messages, endless topical messages that use Scripture as a proof text, and unbiblical teachings based on secular self-empowerment, pop psychology, New Age philosophy, Word-Faith heresy, or borderline “Full Quiver” hyper-patriarchy right-wing “family values” ideology that idolizes a man-made construct of “femininity” and takes “Biblical womanhood” to an extreme.
C. I can’t relate because quite frankly, I can be a mess at times.
There are days when I’m overwhelmed and I just want to isolate in my bedroom and play the Wii all day.
I roll my eyes. I get irritated. Sometimes I honk at bad drivers in traffic (or tell them off to myself). I drive my husband crazy sometimes (he drives me crazy too, so I guess we’re even lol). And I’m still trying to figure out this parenting thing.
But in many women’s ministries, some women act like they have it all together and everything is perfect.
I’m not saying that we have to show our flaws to everyone in order to be “authentic.” There is such a thing as oversharing and we have to use wisdom when it comes to who we divulge things to because not everyone is trustworthy.
But there is an opposite extreme to that, where many women feel like they have to conceal who they really are and project a flawless image to other women or pretend to be stronger or more spiritual than they really are.
Some women who lead women’s ministries brag and boast (either overtly or subtly) about their material possessions and make sure that they flaunt something expensive in their selfies to let others know that they’re “walking in the blessings of God.”
Meanwhile their supporters are struggling financially and barely making ends meet, yet they are the ones sending donations so that the women (and couples) over these ‘ministries’ can live comfortably, fly first class, and afford expensive things.
Then, from their throne of worldly comfort and opulence, they lecture other women in a “stuck up cheerleader” way about prosperity, success, and how God will bless you (materially) if you “sow a seed” (send them donations).
At any rate, the plastic Barbie doll-like women’s ministries are a huge turn-off for me.
D. I can’t relate to all of the messages about marriage and child-rearing.
I’m not sure why “Biblical womanhood” and women’s ministry have been reduced to the subjects of marriage and child-rearing.
I mean, sure, women get married and have children. But getting married and having children aren’t the end-all-be-all of womanhood and salvation. The Scriptures sure don’t paint that picture.
Jesus didn’t save us so that we can get married and have children. He saved us so that we would know Him and be with Him forever. For some reason, the message and purpose of salvation has been obscured by mountains of messages on marriage and parenting.
When you get married and have children, you don’t cease to exist as an individual and absorb into your husband and children like “the blob.”
What about women who aren’t married and don’t have children? How many messages do they have to hear about waiting on their Boaz and grooming for marriage? What if a sister in Christ isn’t called to marriage and parenting, and she just wants to devote her life solely to Christ without distraction?
And while we’re at it, how many messages must we endure about modesty? I’m all for modesty, but sometimes I think that we are beating a dead horse and running that subject into the ground.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t talk about marriage, child-rearing, and modesty. But surely there’s more to being a Believing woman than that.
I mean, I’m married, I have a son, and I’m modest. Now what? What do I do now? I serve Christ right? Right. But in some circles, serving Christ has been eclipsed by teachings about marriage, child-rearing, and modesty which brings me back to point #1.
In closing, the main reason why women’s ministry isn’t working is because in many cases, Christ isn’t the focus.
When Christ isn’t the focus, women don’t find rest for their souls.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
When Christ isn’t the focus, women hunger and thirst spiritually.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” (John 6:17-51)
“Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water. Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4:10, 13-14)
When Christ isn’t the focus, women remain in bondage to sin and lies. They are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, and “ever learning,” but never come into the knowledge of the truth which can set them free.
“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Many women are walking around wounded, tired, confused, and trying to find something to heal them, strengthen them, give them clarity, and make them whole and complete.
So they look to women’s ministries for the answer, only to be taught about everything except Christ. They twist, turn, bend and contort themselves to conform to some concept of “Biblical womanhood” which diverts them from conforming to Christ.
Meanwhile the Lord is diminished as some figure in the background who makes things better, and not our very life and the one in whom we move, breathe, exist, and have our being.
“For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10)
There are many good things about women’s ministry, but I think that when Christ isn’t the focus and other things are, women’s ministry becomes a “wilderness” where women travel in circles and go through the motions of dead religion.
We need to go back to our first love.
Christ is the nucleus of our faith, and when He is our focus, women find abundant life, truth, grace, healing, strength, rest, comfort, and spiritual liberty.
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.
Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.
But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!
There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)