Posted in aimee byrd, church, Michelle Lesley, scripture, women's ministry

Is your Women’s Ministry at church fully integrated, or is it still a kids’ table?

Ladies, be aware of when the church diminishes your value to Christ by scheduling fun activities-lite for you instead of Bible studies with meat. At a certain point, kids graduate from the Thanksgiving kids’ table to the adult table. You should, too.

Source Bon Appetit

Not that scheduling a ladies night around a fun activity isn’t worthwhile. Sometimes it’s relaxing to get together at a home or in the Fellowship Hall with other like-minded friends and just hang out. It’s even more fun to hang out by doing something or creating something than just to sit around and chat. But if your church believes exclusively that these kinds of Ladies Ministry outings and events are a substitute for learning theology, then gently but insistently remind them that your value in Christ is not about decorating cookies and scrapbooking, it is growing in grace in likeness of Christ and knowledge of Him. The only way to do that is by the Word as the Spirit applies it- as you learn it.

Here is Michelle Lesley having stated it so well. This is a re-blog of an excellent piece she wrote, titled,

Mary and Martha and Jesus and Women’s Ministry
By Michelle Lesley

You remember the story. Jesus comes to Mary and Martha’s house. Martha’s Pinteresting up the place while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet to listen to Him teach. Martha gripes to Jesus that Mary should help her and Jesus says no because it’s better for her to listen to Him than fold napkins into the shape of swans or whatever. Moral of the story- Martha needs to relax and not let other things distract her from Jesus.

That’s a good, true, and important takeaway from this passage, and one that we would all do well to heed. 

But did you ever stop to think that Mary and Martha aren’t the main characters in this story? Jesus is. Jesus is the main character in every Bible story, so our primary focus should always be on Him: what He said and did and was like. 

What was Jesus teaching that day at Mary and Martha’s house? The passage doesn’t tell us the topic He was speaking about, but we are privy to a very important lesson He imparted through the scenario with Mary and Martha. A lesson about the way God loves and values women.

Remember how women were generally regarded at that time? They didn’t have much more value than livestock, furniture, or a man’s other possessions. They were considered intellectually inferior, they weren’t formally educated, and their legal and social standing were often tenuous at best. They could not go beyond the Court of the Women at the temple for worship. There was even a traditional prayer Jewish men recited in which they thanked God for not making them a woman, a Gentile, or a slave. Women were low man on the totem pole, so to speak.

And that’s where we find Martha. She wasn’t doing anything wrong that day. In fact, in her culture, she was doing everything right. If anything, Mary would have been the one viewed as being in the wrong because the teaching was for the men, and it was the women’s job to bustle around taking care of all the hospitality duties. Martha knew this. Mary knew this. Jesus knew this. Everyone else present knew this. Martha must have wondered why someone hadn’t yet shooed Mary out of the living room and into the kitchen. So her statement to Jesus in verse 40, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me,” was probably not just, “I need another pair of hands,” but also a bit of, “Mary is forgetting her place. This isn’t what proper women do.”

Oh yes it is.

Whatever else He might have been lecturing about that day, that was one of the lessons Jesus taught Mary, Martha, the rest of their guests, and Christendom at large.

Women aren’t second class citizens in the Kingdom of God. We are precious and valuable to Him. He has important, worthwhile work for us to do – His way – in the body of Christ. And He wants us trained in His word in order to carry out that work.
How did Jesus teach that lesson?

First, He allowed Mary to stay and receive His teaching (39). (We see this echoed in God’s instruction to the church in 1 Timothy 2:11: “LET a woman learn…”) It hadn’t slipped Jesus’ mind that she was sitting there. He could have told her to leave, but He had no intention of doing so. Jesus wanted Mary there. He wanted to teach her and to have her learn God’s word from Him.

Next, when someone tried to take Mary away from hearing and being trained in God’s word, Jesus – God Himself – answered with a resounding NO. This “will not be taken away from her,” Jesus said. Mary, and Martha too (41), could arrange centerpieces or turn a cookie into a work of art any time or never. But this, the teaching of God’s word, was urgent. Vital. Jesus didn’t want either of them to miss it by focusing on the trivial things they thought they should be pursuing. 

And He doesn’t want us to miss it either, ladies.

Jesus pulled women out of the craft room and into the study. Is the women’s ministry at your church trying to pull them back? 

Is the women’s events page on your church’s web site filled exclusively with painting parties, fashion shows, ladies’ teas, and scrapbook sessions?

Does your women’s ministry do canned “Bible” studies authored by women who offer nothing but personal stories, experiences, and false doctrine? 

Are the Marys in your church who want to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word rightly handled and taught being scolded by the Marthas for not staying in their place and embracing the banality the women’s ministry is doling out? 

Is this it? Is this all women are good for in the church- fluff and false doctrine?

Jesus didn’t think so.

Let’s have our women’s ministries train women in the full scope of biblical womanhood. Let’s be serious students of God’s word by picking it up and studying it like mature women. Let’s get equipped to teach and disciple other women who are babes in Christ. Let’s share the gospel with the lost. Let’s learn how to train our own children in the Scriptures and be the ones to raise the bar for what the kids at our church are being taught. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty ministering to those who are ill, in prison, lonely, poor, elderly, considering abortion, experiencing crisis; who have wayward children, problems in their marriages, a parent with Alzheimer’s, or have lost a loved one.

Women are worth more and capable of more than the bill of goods they’re being sold by “Christian” retailers suggests. More than cutesy crafts and fairytales masquerading as biblical teaching. Let’s put the “ministry” – ministry of the Word and ministry to others – back in “women’s ministry.”

Keep this good definition of Women’s Ministry in mind, it’s from Grace Community Church

Women’s Ministries at Grace Church exists to encourage women to worship our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ through the study and application of Scripture and the deepening of relationships with other women for fellowship and accountability.

The fellowship has the express purpose of application of scripture and accountability under it. Note that in order to do that, first comes worshiping Jesus through study.


Further Reading

Aimee Byrd, series:

The Danger in Women’s Ministries
Why We Are So Insulted
How the Church Ministers to Every Member

Posted in aimee byrd, discernment, housewife theologian, pride

Discernment helps: Danger in Women’s ministries, how discernment should affect our walk, and detecting pride

Over coffee this morning, I read three good articles this morning and realized that they were all similar in theme.

In this first article, “Housewife Theologian” Aimee Byrd explores why it is that women are weak and gullible when it comes to discernment. In 2 Timothy 3:6 Paul wrote,

For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

Ms Aimee is writing a series of blog posts to help women spot the Danger in Women’s Ministries. And if you have followed me for very long you know that Ms Byrd is preaching to the choir with me, for it is an extremely important and timely message I hold dear to my heart. It’s no accident that Joyce Meyer is one of the most popular “preachers” in America. It’s no accident that the best selling book of any genre is Jesus Calling. And Ann Voskamp’s influence is tremendous. She’s everywhere, writing books, holding positions on boards, participating in movements, and guest blogging on popular websites. Please follow along with Aimee as she continues the series she began on Friday and so far has two parts.

Part 1-The Danger in Women’s Ministries
Part 2-Why We Are So Insulted

Here is an essay I’ve authored containing recommendations for good women and men’s ministries that can be trusted (as of this writing, in my opinion). You will notice that Aimee Byrd is already listed on there.

Trustworthy Women’s and Men’s ministries

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
Genesis 3:1

In the second essay I read over coffee this morning is written by the ever wise and gentle Sinclair Ferguson. He explains what biblical discernment is and how it should affect our Christian walk.

Discernment: Thinking God’s Thoughts after Him

The experience caused me to reflect on the importance of discernment, and the lack of it in our world. People do not see issues clearly and are easily misled because they do not think biblically. But, sadly, one cannot help reflecting on how true that is of ourselves, in the church community too. Most readers of this article would want to distance themselves from what might be regarded as the lunatic fringe of contemporary Christianity. But there is more to discernment. True discernment means not only distinguishing the right from the wrong; it means distinguishing the primary from the secondary, the essential from the indifferent, the permanent from the transient, the good and the better from the best. Thus discernment is like the physical senses; to some it is given as a special grace gift (1 Cor. 12:10), but a measure of it is essential for us all, and must be constantly nourished. The Christian must take care to nourish his “sixth sense” of spiritual discernment. This is why the psalmist prays, “Teach me knowledge and good judgment” (Ps. 119:66). But what is discernment? …

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
John 7:24

Discernment is important to each and every Christian, whether it is a specifically endowed gift, (1 Corinthians 12:10) or simply something the non-gifted Christian practices for the glory of the Lord. However especially gifted discernment practitioners are also especially given to the sins of pride, a harsh spirit, a tendency to look at only the negative, and more. All of us are prone to pride, no matter the gift we have been given. Here is an essay that we can benefit from … or be convicted by … as the case may be. It is written by Fabienne Harford at Desiring God with an aid to making that all-important diagnosis.

Seven Subtle Symptoms of Pride

Pride will kill you. Forever. Pride is the sin most likely to keep you from crying out for a Savior. Those who think they are well will not look for a doctor. As seriously dangerous as pride is, it’s equally hard to spot. When it comes to diagnosing our hearts, those of us who have the disease of pride have a challenging time identifying our sickness.

For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Galatians 6:3


Further Reading

Is being discerning just an excuse for being judgmental?

The Biblical Formula for Discernment by John MacArthur (This essay originally appeared in Pulpit Magazine but the link has expired, but here is another)