Although it has been a while, I have blogged about problems with women’s ministry in the church. It can be superficial or light and devotional in nature, or narrowly focused on being a wife and mother. I won’t re-hash old posts, but women need more than this! Some women (like me) avoid anything identified as “for women” in the church. I am not the only one. We desire more depth, and…not everyone is a wife and/or mother either.
From time to time I see others share a frustrating example of superficial or shallow women’s ministry. And I decided to share an experience I had a few months ago. The point here is not to bash, but to provide an example.
There was a women’s event that featured a creative presentation of Eve in Genesis. I am all for more space being made in the church for creativity and the arts. For the event, a young woman pretended to be Eve and she talked (imaginatively) of life mostly in Genesis 1 and 2, and some after the Fall in Genesis 3. It was very imaginative, even a bit whimsical. And that was it. My problem was not that it was creative, my problem is that was all there was to it!
There is some deep biblical and theological teaching in Genesis 1-3, that is particularly pertinent and practical for women. At the end of the creative presentation, there could have been a 15 minute teaching that delved into theological truths and pointed to Christ.
It gets worse. Response or discussion questions were at the tables, and well…let me just share them with you:
- What is your favorite thing in nature? (flower, fruit, vegetable, etc.)
- Where do you feel closest to God?
- Is there a special place where you go to meet with God? If so, what would you do if it was taken away from you?
- Is there a friendship you lost that you wish you could get back?
- What part of the Garden of Eden do you think you would have liked most?
You have got to be kidding me! What are we, 5 year olds? Let’s talk about our favorite fruit and vegetable with each other?! That question is the worst, but the others are not much better. The opening chapters of Genesis, particularly the Fall of humanity into sin and the hinted promise of redemption in Genesis 3, lends itself to much more thoughtful questions and reflection than this provides.
Women’s ministry has got to do better than this.
Women are capable of so much more than this.
I dislike presenting a problem, and not offering some solutions, but I just throw this example out there. Perhaps it could challenge someone to guide their women’s ministry in a deeper direction.
Jesus, in the Gospels, considered women fully capable of the highest intellectual and spiritual faculties. Jesus encouraged and challenged them in this regard. See this book review that carefully considers every case in the Gospels where Jesus interacted with women. “In every instance where Jesus reproved women it was for their failure to subordinate their feminine interests to their interests as citizens of the Kingdom of God.” – Jesus calls women to higher things.
On a final note, I much prefer mixed-sex classes and gatherings in the church, for a few different reasons. In case you are interested, here is a post I wrote entitled: In Christ, a wall has been built between men and women? – While there is a place and time for women and men to gather separately in the church, the pervasive nature of it (in some circles of Christianity) is problematic.
After posting this, I add another thought. I suppose some could perceive this post as overly critical. This event was only intended to be a fun event, nothing more. However, it was about a woman in the Bible, and it covered 3 important chapters of the Bible. If this event had simply been for women to gather for a fun social activity (say, play board games) that would be a different situation and expectation.