“How can you minister to women when you’re not married and you don’t have children? If you can’t talk about marriage or raising kids, what else is there to talk about?”
It was the summer of 2014, and I was seeking God for new direction for both A Wellrounded Woman Ministries and myself, as a woman in ministry. Being completely honest, I was feeling a little bit shaken because in the months leading up to the summer, I’d heard this question a few too many times. Honestly, this question played into some of my deepest insecurities and fears. I mean, it’s not like I’d never asked myself the question before, but now, actually hearing others have the audacity to voice their opinions, I was sent to my knees.
Laying it all on the table, I asked God if it was time for me to change directions.
Was it time to shut down A Wellrounded Woman Ministries and leave woman’s ministry to the women who were married with children? Could a single woman have a voice and what would that voice be?
I remember going to God in prayer and saying, “I don’t have an answer to this question. The truth is that I don’t fit into the normal box of woman’s ministry. I’m not married with children. How can I minister to women? What do I have to offer them? How can I fulfill the calling I know You’ve placed on my life when I’m missing these critical life experiences?”
After a considerable amount of time seeking the heart of God, I believe He answered me. His response: “Stop trying to be something you’re not. There are plenty of women focusing on those two topics. Instead, minister out of what I’ve done in your life and minister to the myriads of women who don’t fit into the box of married with children.”
From there, the Holy Spirit started giving me specific ideas and directions for how to change A Wellrounded Woman Ministries and start the ministry for single women, For a Single Purpose. With each and every new concept He placed on my heart, it was as if a horizon was clearing and I could see all of the different demographics of women who also don’t fit into a very small and limited box, but still want and need to be included in Woman’s Ministry.
Women who have never been married.
Women who are divorced or widowed.
Then I started hearing people’s stories.
There was the single Mom who wanted to be involved in all the church activities and have her daughter treated like the other kids in the church and school who shared about feelings of alienation from women in the church that weren’t comfortable around her or her children.
Then there was the young girl who didn’t have a clue where she fit in the church now that she was too old for youth group.
Single women tell me how they feel like freaks as everyone in their church encourages them to “find a guy and get married” so their real life can start.
Over and over as I hear their stories, my heart feels their pain. Over the past year, ministering to these woman and helping others see the need to minister to all women despite their demographic has become not just my calling, but my passion.
No woman should feel ostracized, alone, rejected, or abandoned by other woman in the church. Instead, every woman should know that they are wanted, welcomed, and encouraged to be a vital part of women’s ministry.
It shouldn’t matter if you’re married or single; young or old; working at home or working outside of the home; homeschooling, Christian schooling, or public schooling---there is a place for you inside of your local church and your local Woman’s Ministry.
As women of God, we need to make it our mission that no woman should ever feel the pain these women have felt again. Personally, I don’t want any other woman to ever question her calling or place in God’s kingdom saying, “Do you have a place for me without a wedding ring? Can I minister for you even if I don’t fit into the mold?”
Instead, God has placed a dream in my heart to see a day when ALL women feel welcome and wanted in woman’s ministry. It’s my prayer that others will catch the vision and that as soon as possible women’s ministry will be a place where all women---no matter our differences---will come together and unite in love and devotion to Jesus.
That we’ll stop squabbling over the things that divide us and unite under the calling that we share.
That the days of fear, insecurity, and jealousy will end and we will become a thriving, functioning body seeing beyond ourselves and reaching out to all of the woman in the world around us who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Mostly, I pray that no woman will ever hear the beautiful message of the love of Jesus and His desire to radically change and restore their lives and think, “But what about the church? Will I be accepted by the other women? Will they let me be a part of their group? Will they love my kids and treat as their own? Am I welcome, am I wanted by more than just Jesus, but by His people, too?”
I believe this is one of the greatest challenges facing Women’s Ministry today.
Some churches are embracing it and implementing the changes necessary to reach all of the women in their churches and communities. They are my heroes and I absolutely applaud their efforts. Others are thinking about it and wondering how they can begin making changes. Of course, inevitably there are some who don’t yet see the need.
No matter where you find yourself on this journey, I challenge you to at least begin praying with me about the need. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you, personally, and your women’s ministry, corporately, may need to make adjustments.
The truth is that I don’t really believe anyone really wants to make anyone feel excluded, nor do I believe that we need to totally reinvent the wheel when it comes to how we do women’s ministry. Rather, what we really need is to make adjustments—tweaks to the way we do things that will make us better, friendlier, more welcoming, and more accessible to modern women. Because this will mean different things to every community, the best place to start is by seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance and saying, “What can we change to reach more women? What is Your vision for our women’s ministry?”
That’s basically where I’d come to a year ago. After years of A Wellrounded Woman Ministries operating a certain way, it was time to make some changes. Although the words that sent me to my knees were painful, God allowed them to be said so that I would go to Him, seek His heart and say, “I’m willing to lay it all down. What do you want the women’s ministry you’ve called me to do to look like?”
Out of that prayer, a whole new ministry was born, For a Single Purpose. Other parts of A Wellrounded Woman Ministries changed. Yet through every tweak and change, every new idea and every old concept that had to be abandoned, God brought growth. Lives were touched. Women’s lives are being changed.
But it all started with the question “What should we change?”
That’s the question I challenge you to take before God: “What needs to change?
What adjustments can be made so that more women come to Jesus?
Knowing my community, how can our Women’s Ministry help women come to a personal relationship with Jesus and enter into a discipleship program?”
As He gives you YOUR answer, I encourage you to follow Him and obey.
Sure, it may be different than what you’ve imagined. It will probably challenge the status quo, but I promise you, in the end it will be so worth it. As you’re women’s ministry becomes a place where all women feel welcome and wanted, where they are encouraged to grow in their relationship with Jesus and find their place His kingdom, you’ll be so glad you made the effort. As you see the rewards in changed lives, stronger families, a healthier church, and an impacted community, you’ll be so glad you asked the question, “God, what is your vision for my women’s ministry?”
It will start with a simple prayer. From there, the possibilities are endless…..
What does God want to do through your Women’s Ministry?
Ask Him today!