Thursday, November 29, 2012


Some years ago I injured my back.  Now , it was no big thing…I’m all better now.  But I did a dumb thing at the time and tried to pick up something too heavy during a week when I had a major event coming up.  I was running behind on this major event because sometimes the “all church needs” and the “women’s ministry needs” clash.  I work in both arenas, and sometimes things just crunch all together.  I was faced with the decision of canceling the event, or continuing to work the long hours I knew I would need to do to have the event go as planned.  The long hours and activities I knew I would need to participate in to prepare the event would certainly prolong my back injury.  Even though I was disappointed and felt like a flake, I knew after counsel with my husband that canceling was the right thing to do.  What I did not anticipate was the response.  A lot of people were planning to attend the event, but time and time again what I heard was, “I’m so sorry you hurt your back, and I was planning to attend, but honestly, I’m kind of relieved.  I have so many things I have to do this weekend.”  

In a very insightful book called, “What Women Wish Pastors Knew” author Denise George writes the following admonition to those who either pastor or lead in women’s ministry; “Pastor, I’m Tired.” Women come to church for many reasons:  They love the Lord. They want to support you, your family, and your ministry.  They want to see lost people led to Christ; the sin-guilty forgiven, the sick healed, and the loveless loved. They want to work hard for God and to leave an eternal legacy for those who follow them.  But, Pastor, you should know:  today’s Christian woman is tired.  Women listed exhaustion as their number one issues.  Why do Christian women want you to know this?  Do they want your sympathy?...The answer is no.  They want you to understand that their attendance and church involvement often come at great personal sacrifice….George Barna reports that “While women represent the lion’s share of Christians and the majority of participants in religious activities, many women appear to be burning out from their intense levels of involvement.” 

I am well aware when I ask women to participate in a challenging Bible study with 45 minutes of homework 5 days a week, or ask them to give up a Saturday morning for Cup of Encouragement or a weekend for a retreat, on top of their regular church attendance, I am asking them to give up something to participate.  Usually that “something” is very important, and it is a personal sacrifice.  It may be time alone with her husband, or nurturing time with her children, or time with a friend or family member who needs her care.  Our lives are busy and stretched and in ministry I really have to weigh the positives with the negatives in asking for women’s participation.
That injured back during that time and the response I received sent a signal to me that was very clear:  women’s ministry needs to be focused and strategic in the use of women’s time.  We need to be extra respectful of the many life roles that women play.  We want to help marriages, not add to their stress.  We desire to encourage good biblical parenting skills, not take more time away from the family.  We want to help women prioritize time and energy on godly values, but we do not want to have women serving so much that they miss the joy of giving.

And so a value in our women's ministry is to be strategic and focused.  Toward that end I would appreciate your response in the area of need for Bible Studies and events.  Is it family relationships where you would appreciate some encouragement?  What is entailed in your season of life?  What are the stressors that bring you to your knees in prayer?  What is helpful to you in your journey with Christ?  You are invited to respond on this blog.   

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