Dr. Chuck Lawless recently wrote an article on ThomRainer.com titled 10 Things We Need to Hear from Young Church Leaders. Because at my age and stage of ministry, raising up future leaders is on my mind a lot, I connected with his list. Read Dr. Lawless’ article, and then, as we’ve done many times before, come back here and we will consider how these ideas relate to women’s ministry.
1. The Bible is still our guide. Younger women need to understand that no matter what else we may hear and others tell us, we get our truth from God’s Word. Study it together and discuss the truth and how it relates to life.
2. Christianity is intended to be life-on-life. We shouldn’t meet just meet once a week and then not hear from anyone in our small group until the next time. We need multiple connecting points in between, sharing and doing life together. Small groups must be built around developing deep friendships between women who hold each other accountable for what God is teaching them.
3. Authenticity is critical. Young women experience so much culturally that is anything but authentic. They need us to be real and honest; we must be open and willing to be transparent with our own struggles in life.
4. Mentoring matters. Mentoring is not optional for women according to Titus 2:3-5. Older women do NOT get to resign from serving in this way at a certain age. Young women are hungry to develop meaningful relationships with women who are a little further down the road than they are. And the thing is, as a bonus, mentors learn much from their mentees as well!
5. Christianity is a “doing” faith. It’s not enough to talk about our faith and even give financially to the spread of the gospel. Young women want to have a personal hands-on opportunity to make a difference.
6. We cannot ignore social ministry. This means that the gospel and meeting physical needs must be offered together to have an effect on our culture.
7. Church discipline is biblical. I’ve seen very little of this in my lifetime, but Scripture tells us this is part of helping believers to grow and be healthy as a body.
8. The local church is the missions sending agency. The more personal opportunities there are to be involved in missions, the more it can change the lives of our women. Whether it’s a ministry in our local community, somewhere across the nation, or in another part of the world, we can open doors for women to experience missions personally. The more real it becomes to them, the more they are willing to give to missions, go and do missions, and take others to do missions.
9. Denominational loyalty must be earned. It’s not a given any more that women will trust their denomination. Nor are they loyal to it just because their parents were. We need to show them the things God is doing through our denomination and let them have a voice in it’s future.
10. If faith requires death, that’s OK. I’ve seen young couples and singles sell homes, uproot themselves (which often includes family member as well) and go serve in ministry full-time raising their own financial support to invest in a culture that is desperate. I am amazed as well in the fearlessness of many young women today who serve in ministry that is dangerous, but exists right in their own neighborhoods.
I believe the future of ministry to and with women in the church is so positive. Spend some time with young women, learn from them and be willing to mentor and walk alongside them as they journey with Christ. Are you seeing these things in the young women in your church and ministry? What else are you seeing?