Two years ago I sat in my pastor’s office with a knot in my stomach. Am I cut out for this? I wondered silently as my pastor asked me to step into the role of director of women’s ministry at my church. I wasn’t exactly new to women’s ministry. I’d been equipping women through writing and speaking for more than a decade, but this felt like a whole new ballgame. This was ministry in the trenches. I appreciated my pastor’s vote of confidence, but I couldn’t help but question:
Am I called to women’s ministry?
The shape and size of that calling can be as diverse as the women we serve. Perhaps you lead a women’s Bible study, host a blog for women, spearhead women’s events, or direct women’s ministries at your church. Your experience has likely already shown you that ministering to women comes with a unique set of challenges (and victories). The going will likely get tough at times, and when it does you will need the resolve that only comes from knowing for certain that this is the mission God has for you. When I question my own calling, like that moment in my pastor’s office or during difficult seasons of ministry, these truths steady my feet and solidify my commitment to love and serve the women in my sphere of influence.
Understanding the What
You already know the Great Commission given by Jesus in Matthew 28:18–20, but let’s revisit it together. Sometimes a passage can be so familiar that we whiz right past it and miss a nugget of truth God planted there for us.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This is Christ’s last commandment, His final rallying cry to the Church through the ages. We often focus in the calling to make disciples, but look again—the commission is two-fold:
- Make disciples of all nations.
- Teaching them (Christ’s disciples) to observe all that I have commanded you.
Let’s dig a little deeper. Where are Christ’s commands found? In His Word. As Christians, we all have a calling on our lives to make disciples and to teach others the Word of God. The scope of that can certainly vary from person to person and season to season.
Perhaps you are primarily called to make disciples and teach the Word to your own children in this season. Maybe you can host a small weekly Bible study with the women in your neighborhood. Perhaps you have the bandwidth and gifts to lead the women of your church in a Word-filled ministry. The specifics don’t matter nearly as much as the assignment to: 1) Make disciples, and 2) Teach the Word.
Embracing the How
If making disciples and teaching God’s Word are the “what” of our calling as Christians, Titus 2:1–5 is the “how.”
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
The apostle Paul penned these words to Titus, a young church planter and pastor serving in Crete. The background chatter we find in the rest of the book is that false teachers had been preying on the church. That reality hasn’t changed.
In fact, because of technological advances like blogs and podcasts, more voices are vying for women’s affections than ever before, many of them teaching truths that don’t line up with the Word of God. Paul, in essence, says, “Here’s the game plan. The way we are going to protect the flock is by having men teach men and women teach women intergenerationally.”
It was a good game plan then. It remains a good game plan now. Our pastors and elders have spiritual authority over the flock and over our individual lives, but the ongoing, nitty-gritty work of discipleship happens best from one woman to another. With that in mind, let’s circle back to the Great Commission.
How are we to make disciples?
By reaching out to the women in our sphere of influence.
To whom should we teach God’s Word?
The women God sits down at our feet.
Titus 2:3–5 takes the big ideas of the Great Commission and makes them practical. The “how” is from one woman to another, across the generations.
Use What You’ve Been Given
Ultimately, I said “yes” to my pastor’s request to lead the women of my church because of 1 Peter 4:10:
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.
My gifts are for the Church. I have no right to horde them or to be stingy with them. I’m called to use them to fulfill the Great Commission among the women in my world, and so are you.
- Do you have the gift of hospitality? Host a women’s Bible study.
- Do you have the gift of faith? Pray often for the women you know (and let them know you’re doing it).
- Do you have the gift of administration? Use it to organize events and gatherings for the women of your community.
- Do you have the gift of teaching? Lead a Sunday school class or Bible study for women.
God has given you an assignment to make disciples and teach the Word to other women. Your unique gifts are like the tools in your toolbox needed to finish the job. Our gifts are for each other. To keep them locked away in the toolbox until we feel ready or adequate is truly a waste.
More Than a Feeling
“Calling” has become a Christian buzzword. I’ve noticed that it often seems synonymous with the feeling of being drawn to a specific cause or effort. The picture God’s Word paints of calling is much broader. Every Christian woman is called to make disciples, to teach Christ’s commands, to disciple and be discipled by other women across the generations, and to use her gifts for the good of the Church.
To be honest, there are a lot of days I don’t feel like I’m the right woman to lead the women of my church. If I trusted my gut, I’d have quit a million times by now (or never stepped into the role in the first place). But feelings aren’t facts. When my own inadequacies and limitations make me want to abandon ship, God’s Word steadies me.
How can you know if you’re called to women’s ministry? Because God’s Word removes the guesswork.
So love the women in your world well. Tell them about Jesus often. Open up the Word side by side. Kick down the barriers of age and season of life. It is all hands on deck, friend. We need your gifts to help us capture the hearts of women with God’s truth. When the work is frustrating or discouraging, run back to God’s Word and remember what He has asked you to do and why He’s asked you to do it.
Whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:11).
These words are a prayer for those who serve the Church. They work like a shot in the arm for me, giving me the chutzpah to keep serving, reminding me that I can do all things—love women, teach His Word, plan events, counsel women through hard things—“through [Christ] who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13), and that the goal of my efforts is to bring God glory.
As God gives you opportunities to serve women and point them toward His Word, I hope you snag them. We can make a difference one woman at a time.
Rooting for you!