Today’s blog post is by Adrienne Mummert, a student at Oklahoma Baptist University. Adrienne was enrolled in “Contemporary Issues for Women in Ministry” this semester.
I have often heard it mentioned by women leaders in churches that there is a lack of diversity in age and upbringing in women’s groups. The church culture, in the sense of church upbringing, seems to discourage women from taking part in women’s ministries groups and events. It appears women who come to faith in Christ later in life, or do not have a relationship with Christ, often feel out of place. Many of them worry about being judged, especially when they open up to new people. In a world full of unfortunate stories where churches have driven women out, new believers or lost women feel unwanted or cling to these same stories shared by their friends.
Sadly, it appears older generations have left an impression of disdain, and have had an unwelcoming attitude. My mother recalls being shunned by women in her church at some point in her life. However, this is not the case today. How does the church show love for both Christian and lost women? I believe it is going to take breaking away from views that come with an over-traditionalized women’s group. Our sin nature causes us to feed on gossip, but our Christ-likeness calls us to recognize these women are hurting. Not having a family of women to lean on can be almost as disconnecting as being lost all together.
In order to draw them in, we must first seek them out. Because of women’s hectic lifestyles, it is going to require taking time…time to engage women outside of the church to allow them to feel welcome. Secondly, we must treat them with love. Jesus’s words remind us how powerful love can be in the role of forgiveness. Finally, we should all remember where we came from, including our sinful past. Expect lost women to act like lost women, and new Christians to act new. An attitude of mercy and the action of prayer will allow God to move in many ways and cause ministry to grow inside and out. If we can recognize the need for compassion, we can help women recognize that not only are the church doors open but our arms are open wide.
Photo Credit: shutterstock.com