10 Ways Pastors Can Help Women in the Church
- Brittany Rust brittanyrust.com
- 2017 19 Jun
Women have incredible value in the body of Christ; just read the Bible and you will find godly women who were instrumental in God’s plan. Yet, women are overlooked in churches across the world every day. They carry fiery passions to build the Kingdom and vibrant gifts that can benefit the body immensely, yet remain burdened to carry in silence simply because they are not a man. It’s a great tragedy in the Church.
Pastors and leaders have a responsibility to shepherd their flock--the entirety of it. If you are a church leader, you have a unique opportunity to embrace the gifts women bring to your body.
This article will explore ways church leaders can support the women in their church. And for the record, as a woman in ministry, I fully support a male covering in the church and in the home (Ephesians 5:23). This is simply an encouragement to embrace your sisters in the body!
1. Don’t treat women like second class citizens.
Women are not a “lesser” sex. Both man and woman were created in the image of God; their roles may be different but one gender is not better than the other. There are characteristics of God uniquely reflected in a woman, and vice versa, so to believe that the woman in your church are somehow below the men is a dangerous lie.
Pastors can begin to embrace the inherent value women bring to the body of Christ and celebrate what they bring to the table. Instead of placing the men (whether subconsciously or not) at a higher level of respect and opportunity than the women, embrace the part we all have to play in the Kingdom.
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2. Believe in the women in your church.
See past the gender and look at the person. Notice what God has put inside of them to build up the Kingdom. It’s time for people to start believing in women and seeing the value they bring. I can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated when a man I respected believed in me or an idea I had. What an incredible privilege you have to bring this same experience to someone with a gifting or idea.
3. Make room for their gifts instead of minimizing what God has put in them.
If you notice a gift, or perhaps a passion for a ministry is expressed, make room for those possibilities for the women in your church. What they have inside of them to use in the body may be exactly what your church could use right now.
I’m not suggesting you say “yes” to every expressed ministry idea (whether from a man or a woman) because that’s not healthy or feasible. I’m simply stating that there should be room in your church for women to feel comfortable expressing their passions and using their gifts.
4. Give them opportunity.
Don’t hold a woman back because you or someone else might feel threatened. In fact, this should be said for anyone; any good leader gives opportunity away, not withholds it. Just because the opportunity might fall to a woman doesn’t change the principle.
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Allow the women in your church opportunity to work out what God has put inside of them. Be a giver!
5. Have their backs when others don’t agree.
There are stereotypes and long-held beliefs about women that need to be shattered in the church. If you give women opportunity in your church, there may be people in the congregation (or even on your staff or board) who might not agree with your choice to empower women for the Kingdom of God.
Instead of withdrawing or caving in out of what other’s think, hold firm to what you believe is to be right and true. Have the backs of those who are adding to the Kingdom instead of causing a drain.
6. Don’t let the church operate as a boys club.
Church is not a men’s club that women observe on the sidelines. I’ve witnessed too many boy’s clubs in the church keep women on the fringe because it was easier, more comfortable, or funner that way.
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God included women into His plan often and publicly. They weren’t second class citizens meant to be bystanders in His plan; you should be no different. The church is a place for men and women to operate in harmony so instead of alienating women for their gender, bring them into the fold and allow both genders to work in unity, which is what is ultimately best for the body.
7. However, DO pour into the men.
The church needs spiritually strong men in the church that celebrate what women bring to the table. The truth is, women generally tend to be more spiritually sensitive than men so when you have strong women operating without strong men, there’s an imbalance that is not healthy for the church. To balance this out, it’s important to pour into the men through men’s ministry, mentorship, etc. so that there are men serving with passion and purpose.
If you can pour into the men in your church and help create a biblically sound environment, there is opportunity for women to operate as well because there is a harmony and confidence on both sides.
8. Realize that the same gifts in men that are applauded are not to be identified as negatives in women.
What might be celebrated in a man as confidence and clear vision can often be diagnosed as bossiness or stubbornness in a woman. Strong women who are confident in their vision and lead with clarity or assurance are no different than the men who do. These women are not bossy or harsh; they have giftings to lead just as any man with the same qualities would be.
Instead of labeling a woman negatively because of her personality, embrace this characteristic as a strength just as you would for a man.
9. Don’t just give opportunity to the pastor’s wives.
When I was starting out in ministry it was suggested to me that I marry a pastor. I remember being so confused because it was coming from someone I trusted but it didn’t feel “right” for lack of a better term. God had very clearly called me to vocational ministry and put gifts inside of me for the purposes of His Kingdom. Why couldn’t that be a calling outside of who I married?
Sadly, I’ve felt over the years the struggle to do what I’m passionate about just because I wasn’t married to one of the pastors.
A pastor’s wife is no more qualified or equipped than a woman who is not. In fact, a pastor's’ wife may not have any interest in doing the very ministry she’s been asked to do because of who her husband is. But you know who might be extremely passionate and equipped to lead that ministry? A woman who isn’t married to one of the pastors! Look beyond the obvious and give opportunity to the women in your church who are called to ministry not because of who they are married to but because of what God has ordained for their life!
10. Empower the next generation.
Find ways you can be pouring into the next generation of believers. Create a space for those coming in that empowers and celebrates the giftings women bring to the body. As a pastor or leader in your church, you have an incredible opportunity to set the stage for all believers in your church to serve according to the giftings and passions God has placed inside of them. Please don’t limit that.
Brittany Rust is a writer, speaker, and has the privilege of serving on staff at Red Rocks Church in Denver, CO. She and her husband Ryan make their home in the Rocky Mountains, pursuing outdoor adventures, great food, and memorable stories together. Her website brittanyrust.com aims to supply encouraging resources for the world-wearied believer.
Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock/tepic
Publication date: June 19, 2017