Pastors: 4 ways to celebrate women in your church

 
Eleanor Dell | February 13th 2018

We recently conducted a survey which invited Christian women to share their opinions, thoughts and feelings on the place and experience of women in church and family life, in conjunction with the release of Kathleen Nielson’s new book, Women and God.

As part of the survey we asked the question, “give an example of something that is said or done at church that makes you feel valued or honoured as a woman”. The insights were very revealing—and in this article, we share a few of them with you.

If you’re a church leader and are already doing these things, take this as an encouragement. Your efforts are noticed and appreciated! And we hope there is something here to help every leader to learn to shepherd the women in their flock a little better.

1. Teach the Bible

“My church has done a bible handling course for women which has shown me that I too can be well equipped to teach the Bible and disciple young women.”

“[I’m part of] a church that encourages women and provides opportunities for them to grow in Bible literacy.”

There is a hunger among women for knowledge of Scripture that goes beyond Ruth, Esther and Proverbs 31. Encourage the women in your church to be handling the Bible for themselves and meeting with their God in its pages. But first you might need to train them in how to do this—in fact, that’s exactly what Paul tells Titus to do for the older women in his church, so that they can instruct the younger women (Titus 2 v 3). This might mean providing groups in which they can read and interrogate scripture collectively and for themselves.

2. Listen

“Pastors who look women in the eye, listen to them, and learn from them.”

“When a minister speaks to me as an individual not just as my husband's wife.”

“My pastor is not afraid of me. He looks me in the eye when he talks to me, he asks me how I am and treats me like a fellow human being.”

“My pastor frequently meets with me and other women to ask our opinion and wisdom on various things. He occasionally sends me his sermon a few days before Sunday to read through and asks for feedback on it.”

The sad implication of the first three responses is that this isn’t always common practice. Women are humans, not a different species—you can have a normal conversation with them!

The simplest way to make women feel valued is to get to know them: ask what’s going on in their lives; their struggles and joys; what they read, watch and listen to. Actively seek out their ideas and wisdom on areas of church life—they will have plenty of it!

3. Have women in visible positions of responsibility

“Having an equal share of men and women taking roles such as leading sung worship and reading the Bible.”

“Helping in an area of the church that is not gender specific or stereotypical. I am 60, a woman and I serve on the tech team.”

The visible presence of women serving alongside men is so important for the next generation of both women and men.

Every eldership has to come to its own position on how the Bible’s teaching plays out in church life today, and which particular “up front” roles are to be reserved for qualified men. But what’s important is that these are communicated as thoughtful and prayerful decisions, and not just assumptions (“Women never do that because women have never done that”).

Be intentional about getting women to use their gifts in all the areas that are appropriate, and avoid making assumption about what women will or will not want to do. Encourage women as they use their gifts—tell them and others that you appreciate and value their service.

4. Recognise injustice

“A church that is not afraid to name injustices against women.”

“My church teaches men to not abuse their power. It protects women in oppressive marriages.”

The sad reality is that every church leader needs to be ready to deal with abuse—sooner or later, it will rear its ugly head. So familiarise yourself with the warning signs, and train yourself up on the appropriate way to respond (this new book from Helen Thorne is a great place to start). Be prepared to listen to victims when they find the courage to speak out. Do whatever is in your power to get them the help they need.

Tomorrow we will share with you some of the things said and done in Church life that women might find unhelpful and frustrating.

---

View all the infographic survey results here. Kathleen Nielson’s book Women and God peels back the layers of what scripture says about women and reveals the beautiful truth of God’s goodness to them.

Eleanor Dell

Eleanor is a Digital Marketing Assistant for The Good Book Company. She studied English Literature at the University of Birmingham and interned in a handful of different publishing houses before joining the company.

Featured product