For many women’s ministry leaders, there is an ever-present struggle to keep content and events fresh, compelling, and relevant, while keeping the focus on God and His Truth—which never changes. While there is certainly something to be said for creativity and innovation, we must also remember this: what is new is not always true.
Think about it this way: The first woman was a true woman. Eve knew God and walked with Him. She and Adam were true reflections of God's likeness to each other until they listened to Satan's lie, disobeyed God's Word, and ate the forbidden fruit. Their rebellion brought sin into the world.
The true woman became a new woman.
The “new” did not deliver what it promised then, and it doesn’t always deliver now. The consequences of sin are still shame, separation, and death. But God promised a Redeemer. Through redemption in Christ a new woman can become a true woman.
New and True: What’s the Difference?
In my book The True Woman: The Beauty and Strength of a Godly Woman, I explained:
Some of the meanings of the Greek words translated true, truly, and truth in the New Testament include unconcealed, actual, true to fact, real, ideal, genuine, sincere, the reality lying at the basis of an appearance . . .
The true woman is the real thing. She is a genuine, authentic Masterpiece. The Master has set eternity in her heart and is conforming her to His own image. There is consistency in her outward behavior because it is dictated by the reality of her inner life. That reality is her redemption.
Since the fall of Adam, and until Christ returns, there cannot be a thoroughly true reflection of His image. Sin brings confusion, pandemonium, and death to the soul, and its remnants haunt us even after we are born again. But the radical entrance of grace into the heart brings life, order, and sanity. By the transforming power of the Gospel, the Christian woman is empowered by God's Spirit to give an increasingly true reflection of her Savior and thus to be a true woman.1
Do you see the difference between a true woman and a new woman?
- A true woman's purpose is God's glory; a new woman's purpose is self-glory.
- A true woman's authority for faith and life is God's Word; a new woman's authority is her own word.
- A true woman reflects Jesus; a new woman reflects self.
- A true woman is truly liberated; a new woman is enslaved.
The idea of a true woman is offensive to the world because the gospel is offensive, but it is inspiring to Christian women who love Jesus and believe His promise that "if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31–32).
True Versus New in Women’s Ministry
Now let’s look to apply what we’ve discussed about true womanhood to the concept of women’s ministry.
Our women's ministries should look like a group picture of true womanhood. We, as leaders, must be committed to living for God's glory and submitting to the authority of His Word. As we pray over every decision, task, event, and ministry opportunity, let’s ask questions like these:
- How will this glorify God?
- How does it proclaim redemption in Christ?
- How will it be evident to women that this event is grounded on the authority of God's Word?
- How will women be encouraged and equipped to be true women?
We’ve focused a lot on evaluating things that are new to see if they are true, but it’s also very important that we evaluate our current and past ministry practices and events to see if they measure up in light of the questions above. We know that what’s new isn’t always true, but just because a program or activity is old or even a great tradition doesn’t mean it rises above needing to be evaluated.
Allowing these questions to operate as a grid through which your ministry is poured out will ensure that you will have a memorable, and most importantly, a God-glorifying “group picture” to look back upon long after the event or opportunity has passed.
Whether old or new, let’s make sure that our women’s ministry is, above all, true.
1 Susan Hunt, The True Woman: The Beauty and Strength of a Godly Woman (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019), 22