Why I Don’t Like Women’s Ministry…

I have some kind of adverse reaction to all things “womanly,” meaning all things related to women’s ministry. If I take it a step further, I really mean all things Christian and women.

…Things like scrapbooking, play dates, girls night out, quilted Bible covers, any mention of the Proverbs 31 woman, Beth Moore, touchy-feely-ness, emotions, and Christian romance novels. Eek!

Now don’t get me wrong, individually, I have secretly (and even occasionally, publicly) enjoyed many of these things, but that doesn’t change the fact that they also simultaneously make my skin crawl.

For a long time, I used to believe that I was just born a bit of a rebel. I can remember as a child naturally questioning authority. I never just took someone’s word for it.

As I grew older, that tendency to question turned into a bit of skepticism, but not for long. Upon knowing Jesus, I really did let much of my skepticism go. It seemed that the answer to so many of my questions was Him.

However, I remain somewhat of a rogue agent, I suppose. I never like doing what everyone else is doing, but I also get icky feelings about participating in certain things. Women’s Ministry, as it were, is one of them. As for why, I’m still trying to figure that part out.

Perhaps I don’t like being a part of the crowd, just another face, just another number. Much of my experience in women’s ministry has been sort of that–me, alongside dozens, if not hundreds of other women. Perhaps it’s something else though…

Perhaps it’s that, as my husband jokes, I’m more like a dude than most women. I don’t get weepy. I don’t gush over babies. I don’t like to snuggle. I don’t like talking about my emotions (even though I freely type about them here).

And so much, it seems, of women’s ministry is emotional. Feel this, talk about that. Again and again. It is tiring and I find it self-indulgent.

Perhaps I don’t like women’s ministry because I’m jealous, which would really make me insecure. Maybe I don’t like feeling the need to compare myself to a whole slew of other women. Putting on a brave face when everything is really turning to crap, is not fun to me. Maybe I would just rather not pretend. Maybe I’d like my meltdown to be done in the privacy of my own home.

Perhaps I’m just being judgmental and doing exactly to them as I assume they are doing to me. I’m judging their hearts, motives, intentions. When so-and-so is talking about her marriage or her children and how God is doing great things, perhaps I’m rolling my eyes because well, I want great things too, and sometimes I feel uninvited to the great things party.

Perhaps none of this means anything and the only reason I say I don’t like women’s ministry is because I don’t like women. Ouch. But just maybe…maybe I’m not so good at being around women, knowing women, trusting women. Perhaps its not really what they are doing or aren’t doing, but that I’m afraid to join in.

Perhaps I’m afraid that if I start to like Ann Voskamp, women’s retreats, luncheons, recipe swaps, and decorating tips you’ll all see right through me. You’ll see that I’m lonely at times. Scared at times. Doubtful more than I’d like to admit. Uncertain about my abilities as a mom, blogger, Jesus-follower. Perhaps you’ll see the stuff I don’t want you to see and then what do I do?

How can I make fun of the fluff, if the fluff isn’t really worth making fun of? How can I criticize from afar? Where do I go from there? I suppose a Beth Moore Bible study is a great place to start…

How do you feel about Women’s Ministry? Yay, nay or indifferent? Has any part of a church or the body left you feeling uninvited, longing, or made to feel like an outsider?

124 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Like Women’s Ministry…”

  1. i’m no good at large gatherings of women. i all but get hives. even got voted out of a women’s accountability group i started. like Survivor. that totally happened.

    i find saying things like, “what makes you think it’s okay to say that to your husband?” and “why are you crying?” aren’t popular.

    but yet, i still try. sometimes.

    1. Oh man, I have GOT to hear the story of you being voted off the accountability island! Really? And yet I’m also not surprised.

      I have echoed many of the same things myself. I have rebuked, lovingly, in groups and it has not gone over well. I think others see me as cold or indifferent. Glad to know there are other women out there like me. Don’t give up either.

    2. I got kicked out of a bible study in college bc I chose not to go on the summer project the ministry took each year. My now husband (friend at the time) was the project director and told me I should only go if I felt led to. The women disagreed!

    3. I cut my teeth on WVU. I believe Womens groups started because they were shut out of other church ministries. I love the two groups I work with, but I wish we were more mission minded.

    4. Lol… Logic is a hard thing. Being pragmatic comes with practice and having support. I don’t do tears, I don’t do husband bashing. Those things and “frou frou” studies about how to be better at cleaning my house turned me off to a lot of women’s groups.

    5. I find most women’s groups like middle school. Hawaiian Night? Western Night? Queens of the Kingdom? (Prom dresses and tiaras).
      I DO NOT believe this is what Titus is talking about, not even close. I wasn’t ever this “kind” of female.
      I find this stuff oppressive because it is superficial and, in my opinion creates no deep relationships. have tried several. I am SO not jealous. Lonely sometimes, but I’ll take that over trying to fit into this.
      Yes, Yes. Yes disciple younger women, but when it comes to groups? 😝
      I would so much rather have CO-ED, multi age and marital status groups where we really talk about the Bible, walking with God and it’s difficulties in the world, truly share life, pray for each other; and, above all are REAL and able to develop emotional intimacy.

      1. Amen, I think churches /women’s ministry within churches have become just as cliquey as worldly groups. Churches have bought into the emotion driven, entertainment rich worldly desires that have turned Jesus into some sort of 60’s flower power, dope smoking hippy who just wants us to love everything and everyone regardless of the truth of His word that says “If you love me, keep my commands.” Titus 2 doesn’t happen because the older generation is so tradition driven that change is frowned upon instead of accepted as necessary for growth in relationship to each other and in Christ. So if they don’t want change and discernment has led one to want to be the change frustration abounds.

      2. I guess I searched this topic for supporting perspectives! Oh the irony! But I don’t like women’s events and don’t go. First of all, I’m an introvert, when I did go I would leave with a headache, upset stomach and sore face muscles from trying to be “on” for so long. These things don’t fill or help me. Secondly, I go to a Spanish speaking church (my husband’s 1st language). I’m learning, not fluent, so I require the accommodation of an interpreter whom may not be available, and if they are, it is inconvenient. If they aren’t, I am limited to converse and understand. It’s not always so fun to sit stone faced when jokes are told. 🤣 I am the inconvenience there, and I don’t like women’s events anyway. Isn’t one’s relationship with God between that person and God? I do hope so.

  2. Me too, me too, me too. It’s the endless TALKING, composed largely of the endless verbal affirmations & reassurances… Are we really that emotionally needy, sisters, or is it just a bad habit?

    1. Well said and I think a lot of it is bad habit. Women, in general, have a bad habit of over-sharing. While I know some would disagree, I don’t prescribe to the notion that in order to be authentic or accountable, we need to share every. single. detail. It’s selfish and distracting.

      1. So which is it? Being authentic and transparent, which can mean some women will overshare, some won’t, some will cry when we don’t ….or to not be you if other women arent that way? . to truly create a culture for ALL women we need to accept all personality types, those different than us and then be the action taker in the areas Gods putting in your heart, not just stay away because you don’t like a certain activity or study. I think we’ve been brought up to be independent and think for ourselves, so it’s hard to understandhow someone with a deep faith would be “happy” with a recipe exchange or a fluff gathering, but, isnt that what Jesus calls us to do? To be authentic, share that you’re not into it and don’t know why, but love and accept the women the same way Jesus would might be the answer- staying on the outside means you can’t be who God wants you to be in that group of women. So step up and create something that God has put in your heart….. feeding the homeless, adopting women from a shelter, doing a study you’re excited to dive deep into…. be you, who God has made you to be….. every church has these issues not just in women’s ministry, but in men’s, children’s …. why has God created us so differently and then draw us to the same church? Maybe to learn to love those who are different….go deep with someone opposite of you … ask questions to understand your differences …. be involved so God can use you … in all the years I’ve worked with women, I’d say about 10% are as confident inside as they try to show on the outside …. the rest of us are insecure, probably care too much about what others think and might not know how to see ourselves as a new creation with an amazing purpose given to us ….. So maybe you volunteer to be a part of women’s ministry so you can affect the change you feel in your heart😊❤️

        1. “be involved so God can use you”…yes, yes, yes! I can’t tell you how many things I’ve participated in that were totally not my cup of tea. However, they all gave me the opportunity to serve, love and connect with women. I also learned a thing or two about myself. I came away with different perspectives every single time.

        2. Well said
          Love others, where they are at in life, love the differences! were here for each other!
          Whether you like your surroundings or not.
          When planning and creating the venue, seminars, Presenters, have a large variety from crafting to deep Bible study and learning the basics of auto repair, such as changing oil in a car etc., I love planning my events with a Group of board members from a wide variety of backgrounds

        3. I enjoyed reading your comment. It is on point! You displayed considerate caring and concern for others. Be the change you want to see!

        4. Well said my friend. Keeping our eyes on Jesus. Having our hearts changed so we are a reflection of him.

  3. Once again, you’ve read my mind. I wrote a blog post a few months back on why I hate[d] other females; I spent years of my life being “one of the guys” and having other females around brought out all my insecurities.

    I don’t do mushy, or DIY, or Proverbs 31, and I roll my eyes at all of it. On the surface I’m just snarky and don’t care to do (or be) any of the things women’s ministry entails. But, somewhere deep down, I’m annoyed at how well they front like they’ve got it all put together – all of their ducks are in a row while my ducks are quacking while hanging upside down from the ceiling. Admittedly, somewhere deep down, I just feel like I don’t measure up. It’s easier to just roll my eyes at them.

    1. Monica, it is easier to roll your eyes. I agree. Although, I do think God has been convicting me that eye-rolling is equivalent with judging. It neither helps nor changes a thing.

      I think too, if we asked most women, they would feel like they don’t measure up either. And we don’t. Jesus does and that’s the point. Thanks for sharing Monica!

      1. I guess I searched this topic for supporting perspectives! Oh the irony! But I don’t like women’s events and don’t go. First of all, I’m an introvert, when I did go I would leave with a headache, upset stomach and sore face muscles from trying to be “on” for so long. These things don’t fill or help me. Secondly, I go to a Spanish speaking church (my husband’s 1st language). I’m the only English speaker there. I’m learning, not fluent, so I require the accommodation of an interpreter whom may not be available, and if they are, it is inconvenient. If they aren’t, I am limited to converse and understand. It’s not always so fun to sit stone faced when jokes are told. 🤣 I am the inconvenience there, and I don’t like women’s events anyway. Isn’t one’s relationship with God between that person and God? I do hope so.

        1. Yes, me too- I suppose a form of confirmation bias for me. I love my female friends, both inside and outside church, but some of my closest relationships are with male church friends. Beth Moore and how to be a perfect Christian wife studies make me cringe. It seems I make male friends, and then it’s expected they will become, exclusively, my husband’s friends. Co-ed all the way for me.

  4. Wow, I’m so glad you wrote all of this. Each point you made, I found myself cheering you on. The reason: I feel so similarly to what you wrote. I don’t like being “out of control” emotionally and I find that the more women you get in one room, the higher the chances of that happening. I like to figure out my life on my own. Yet, like you said, Nicole, it’s strange, maybe I’m just not good at being a friend to women. Could it be from the fact that I know how judgmental I am and think that other people are like me?

    Well, I keep on trying. As in, I just signed up yesterday for a women’s retreat…for 3 days with women and away from my security blanket (my hubby). What made me decide to take that step willingly: the retreat speaker/leader told me she isn’t going to hype it up on purpose. If people are crying or being spoken to by the Lord, she isn’t going to fuel it with emotion. What a relief! Maybe that’s why I haven’t enjoyed Women’s Gatherings in the past: they hype stuff up on purpose? Well, you can expect a blog post on my retreat experience!

  5. I know what you mean. I’ve been more of a tomboy myself all my life. Just last year I realized that I’m prejudiced against women. How strange is that? And I’m a feminist as well. Oh, the paradox! I just see so much in the typical woman that I’ve never liked and plenty that completely turned me off to being a woman. I’ve had a strange relationship with my own femininity that’s involved squelching my emotions, never wearing dresses, confusing thoughts that leaned towards lesbianism, then learning emotions aren’t intrinsically bad, discovering an admiration for fashion, and then a strong desire to breaking out of my own walls and helping other women do the same. It’s a wild ride, and I have no idea where it’s going to end up, but I know that identifying all these things was a great step in the right direction.
    I know you and I are not in the exact same boat, but I’m glad to know we haven’t been alone this whole time. Thanks for being honest with us and for sharing.

    1. Lindsay, you touched on so many important points in your comment. One of which, is this tension women must maintain between feeling and expressing their emotions and squelching them.

      Women are emotional. That is how we were designed. However, we cannot and should not use this fact as a card to be sloppy or irresponsible with those emotions. We must, like all things, submit them to the Lord.

      Glad to know though that God is bringing you along in this. Be encouraged, you’ll end up right where He wants you.

  6. as a general rule I see most church’s “ministries” ESPECIALLY regarding men’s THIS or women’s THAT as a band-aid on a bullet wound. You know you’re hurting. People know you’re hurting, but you’ll be JUST FINE because we put a band-aid on it. And band-aids always make you feel better.

    oops. I think I let my skeptic out of the box. Oh dear….

    1. Andrew, you definitely hot on something. As a whole, I see church ministries as the same thing–a place to pretend like everything is okay in the name of community and/or fellowship.

      I’m actually thinking about writing a post about ministry as a whole and the way in which the church has perverted the word.

      1. Wow! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your comments on women’s ministries and ministry as a whole. I know that the God that we serve is one who loves everyone and if we have his spirit (and we do ladies) we cannot HELP but love on PEOPLE. It’s a part of who we are in Him. Amen? I don’t hate women but what I do dislike is when these “groups” are totally meaningless. This goes for the men too. I think that a lot of these silly groups and conferences are either attention or filthy lucre driven. You guys have a GREAT gift of discernment that’s all and it vexes your most inner being (spirit) knowing that some of these groups are just pointless. Don’t get me wrong ladies I do believe that we should be able to get together and bond and help one another when asked or when needed but I do NOT believe that we should be bombarded with these over zealous meetings conferences and groups that have absolutely NOTHING to do with Christ and furthering HIS Kingdom!

  7. I don’t like “Women’s ministry” either, and am glad I am not the only one. After years of wondering what was wrong with me, I realized that I love time with my few close friends with whom I can be transparent and real and who can pour the gospel into me, and I love to do that with a few younger women. Then it hit me: Jesus taught most effectively via relationship, his big group teachings were not the primary focus, and neither should they be ours. You are too hard on yourself when you say you are afraid they will see your fears. You are just as likely to prefer true relationship cultivated over time rather than forced transparency with women you dont know you can trust with your deepest soul. There is nothing judgmental about that. That is preference with a significant amount of wisdom thrown in.

    1. well said about being transparent only to the chosen few as Jesus was – ministry is simply teaching where ever we are – I always felt intimidated by those who continually asked me to attend and yet why did I not want to go?? One on one I was ok; but in the group it felt like a big gossip session / therapy session — why did I need this? Wisdom comes with age – I think I’ve figured it out. I moved to a new city and after one year I was finally asked to give my testimony at a Women’s Ministry meeting – I agreed. However, cleverly, I kept my primary focus on what God had done and what he expects from a daughter, mother, grandmother, teacher, etc. I mentioned more than once, gossip has many forms of being i.e. prayer requests – DO NOT talk about any one unless they are there in the room with you or have given you permission to do so! period! Do not vent your problems or concerns and leave them as baggage in someone else’s lap! period! This is where judgment and primary focus of what God wants from us gets lost! period! I just knew I had eliminated 90% of my potential friendships in this new city with that, but much to my surprise I was met with comments much like “you are a breath of fresh air”. Do I attend the monthly meetings? No. But, on occasion, as God prompts my heart, orders my steps, I will peep into an event – I call them divine appointments. :)

      1. You are a breath of fresh air! I hate to say it, but a lot of prayer requests do have some gossip in them. We need to be wise with what we share in front of others! I’ve had to learn that the hard way lol. Also, I know I’m a bit late since it’s 2023 now. Everything you said I agree with!

  8. yeah…there’s a club of about four of my friends who are anti-women’s groups. So, us being in a club, we kind of formed a women’s group right? *Sigh*

  9. Being raised in ministry, I totally resonate with what you’re saying.

    However, I have been to many women’s functions void of pink, doilies, and weeping. I don’t view women’s ministry as a vehicle for peddling adoration over children’s pictures or cupcake recipes, but as a untapped resource for mobilizing women to change the world.

    The church is comprised is 64% women. If we engaged women in radically authentic relationships not only with Jesus but with each other, imagine what we can do! So many times we walk into women’s events insecure and afraid that we are on the outside… but everyone probably feels the same way. It’s easier to critique and quit, than engage and appreciate the effort put into planning although it may not be your style.

    Because of what I do, I’m subjected to many women’s functions. Instead of complaining about the estrogen levels and mom’s talking about their children, I choose to view each and every gathering as an outpost for God’s kingdom. Train, encourage, kick-butt and mobilize women to be the hands and feet of God.

    You’re not the only one who feels like this. Obviously. However, what would gatherings look like if YOU planned them? Who said you had to be a girly-girl to run a women’s ministry? Or even to participate?

    Yes, I wear makeup, sport heels, and occasionally paint my nails. But I’m not weepy, I don’t have kids, and I’m no where near menopause. I *chose* to view women’s ministry and a field I can pour into and change so I can learn from women who like to knit [because they have wisdom and patience] and they can learn from me [because God wants us to do more than sew doilies].

    Don’t give up. Be the game changer.


    1. Just found this from Pinterest and I love your reply. I really would like to know what gatherings would look like if they were led by women who typically don’t like traditional women’s ministry. I would love to know what they need from other women in the church.

      1. I would love any ideas as well! Many women in my church are disconnected because they just don’t fit in what women’s ministry is offering…myself included. I feel led to change it but don’t know where to start

  10. This post actually makes my heart sad. I think because you outlined a total stigma in the church. Women’s ministry means “this”. Not women doing ministry, which is what it should mean.

    I actually had the same view of women’s ministry that you talk about and felt the same way but I would add in the word old. Women’s ministry means you’re old. Or at least older than me. I’m young, certainly not old enough to be a part of that group, there must be somewhere else for me. One day I finally bit the bullet and went on a women’s retreat. They had asked me to lead a small group for the retreat. Not only was it my first one, but I was responsible for other women there. Yikes. When my group first sat down together, we started sharing who we are, what church we go to, how we got to know Jesus, etc. The first person that shared started off with, “I’m a recovering coke addict…” From that day on my perception of women’s ministry changed. I’ve encountered so many women through our women’s ministry that just want to know Jesus and be healed. They are open, honest and don’t have it all together. It’s refreshing to say the very least.

    I understand your post completely, your heart, your openness, and that’s why it makes me sad. Because women’s ministry shouldn’t be like that. It should be about women, coming together, to pray, support, uphold, encourage, and love each other in all of our brokenness.

    1. Abbi, I guess I should point out that women’s ministry has done a lot for me. I have been blessed in and through women’s ministry, for sure. I’ve seen enough to know too, that God brings all types of people (addicts and the like) and can use any ministry for His purposes.

      However, overall, I’m left with those feelings I described. While I agree with you that women’s ministry should be women praying, encouraging, supporting one another, sadly a lot of times it’s not that (or it is only the guise of that).

      Like most things, it’s not perfect, I would say. But more so I was trying to point out that it will never be and that’s okay because I’m not perfect either.

      But man, I can only image too, the impact women’s ministries (and all ministries) could have if instead of a luncheon or retreat, they fed the hungry together or spent that time praying. It sounds idealistic and a bit cheesy, I’m sure, but awesome nonetheless.

      1. This is EXACTLY what I was trying to say. If any of you are in Raleigh NC or the Triangle Area. I would love to start a women’s group who were Christ centered instead of market driven! Whose being led to feed, clothe, and share the gospel with Gods people! Please email me @ [email protected]

  11. Ditto. For me, it’s the marketing, the doilies and the superficial fluff that, for me doesnt seem to have anything to do with being a warrior for Christ.
    I want reality and it’s mass produced to fit a large demographic and- I generally assume they couldn’t be talking to me.
    Real women’s ministry, to me is kid-trading, Titus 2 believing, mentor-mothering love. Women who truly know me well enough and love me dearly enough to correct me, point me toward Christ, bare my burdens AND let me bare theirs.
    It’s people who live close enough that if she needs help- I can actually give her food and a shirt and not just a prayer.
    My problem is that if WE are the body of Christ, then we must make every effort, run the race, make our calling sure to LOVE one another instead of just talk about it.
    All of this may be ironic given my ministry – or perhaps it’s WHY I started it in the first place.
    Seeking His way for this season.

  12. I completely agree. I feel that most women’s ministries try to put you into a box, and I’m one of those people who can’t be put into one. Plus, I don’t feel the women to be sincere. I’m going through a Beth Moore study right now, and while I’m loving the study, I really don’t enjoy the large group aspect of it.

    Mostly, I just don’t like the fact that I feel looked down on if I show up in jeans and a sweatshirt or if I bring a food item that I bought from the store.

    1. Jenny … I couldn’t agree more … I am what homeschoolers call a “life-long learner” and I love Beth Moore studies for the academic-ness (is that a word?) of them; I am constantly learning from her studies. But store-bought pastries and my dirty cowboy boots/jeans are just a little too “real” for most women’s groups. Let me study, but please don’t make me dress like a girl! (To Nicole, my husband would call me a “dude” too!!)

  13. I’m new, having found you down a google wormhole, and how amusing that you wrote this today, the day after I went to my first “women’s ministry” event in 3 years of being a member of my church! It was exactly as I feared and exactly as you describe it, filled with women who seemed out of touch, fairly pedantic and filled with cutesy fonts speaker power point and a bunch of chicks feeding off the overexaggerated emotional responses of the women around them…sigh.
    That being said, if I have learned anything in the 5 years I have been a Christian, and the 30 years I have been a feminist and in the years I have spent trying to make those 2 parts of my personality understand one another, it’s that the rewarded homogenousness behavior within women at the church has GOT TO GO. In order for women to feel “fed and led” (I am even picking up Christian-ese!) we have to embrace our individual personalities and stop expecting one another to behave and response in a specific way, in what we feel is the “right way”. And we have to get our men to stop rewarding it too…but that’s a academic feminist and religious discussion for another day.
    All that being said, the acceptance of different individuals has to start with those of us who are in fact different. We gotta turn to our sisters who we feel are being exaggeratedly emotional, pedantic, ridiculous and out of touch and instead of saying: “Look girl, get it the eff together, you’re being ridiculous” we have to say: “you seem to be really connecting with this on an emotional level, you seem to be really moved by this, talk to me about it, teach me where you’re coming from” and only then will the tolerance become a learned and rewarded tradition.
    It’s going to be a hard road for me to walk what I talk…but there it is. And now my comment is ENTIRELY to long for being my first one here. So sorry. :) Love your blog!

  14. I’m not much into women’s ministry. I find it’s to clique-ish and honestly, I’m not in high school anymore. I’m tired of cliques. What I really want is true, honest friends who fight for friendships, hold me accountable and expect the best from me and support me in my struggles. In my experience, women’s ministry has been a place to tear down woman for their failings and exclude those who don’t meet certain criteria. To me, this is not who Christ wants us to be so I don’t join! Thanks for a great post to remind us that not being in women’s ministry is ok!

  15. so much of this resonated with me… i took the risk to join a team of women at our church and would not trade the experience for anything. yes, we cry and laugh and talk about poopy diapers, but mostly we support each other to keep reaching to be the best women that Jesus created us to be…broken, messy, with warts exposed and all….grateful to have a rather unique and supportive women’s team

    “Perhaps none of this means anything and the only reason I say I don’t like women’s ministry is because I don’t like women.”
    there are times i am not even sure i like people all that much, but learning to love women and be with them has taught me so much about me and my wounds and how i relate….glad they are patient with me and more glad that HE is!

  16. I’m so with you! :) I’m okay with being all emotional, snuggling, and oogling babies, but I’m not a fan of “women’s ministry.” Beth Moore just doesn’t speak to me the way she does to other women. And I find that after a while, I can’t deal with the drama that other women dredge up. I like being the only drama queen in the room. ;)

    1. I’m a girlie girl too!
      “I like being the only drama queen on the room” You gotta love it! This comment made my day ;)

  17. I would rather sit one on one with a woman then spend time in a woman’s bible study. How honest do we really get with each other in those times and places? Play groups are hard for me because we are surrounded by kids, talking about kids, and eating little crafty things that I have no desire to recreate at home. I’d rather send all the kids into another room and tell them about my bad dreams. Maybe they would get to know me better. (Oh, you’ve opened up a can of worms.) I just want to be known, for who I am, and liked for who I am. Why does it seem so hard???

  18. Right there with you on everything you said, even the parts that point out that it might be my problem, not theirs. I’ve been in several different women’s ministry groups who have tried to “change things” to make it more friendly to younger generations or to different types of women (in other words they’ve actually noticed that not all women are obsessed with Beth Moore and crafts). I’ve even tried to be part of the change… but I’ve still never seen it come to fruition. So yes, I’m now one of those people who sits back and point out all the problems while never offering any solutions. But that’s mostly because the solutions I’ve seen tried haven’t worked. I’ve pretty much concluded that I no longer have to feel guilty for not participating (a big part of why I kept trying) and that there are better ways for me to invest my time that will better achieve the same goals I’d be trying to reach in a women’s ministry setting.

    1. Wow! You are absolutely right! What is so hard about getting together and discussing real issues without being judged or distracted for that matter and then praying with one another or crying out! Whatever works! There has to be more to women in ministry than pot lucks and more IDEAS!

  19. So, just curious… As you and your husband are developing your ministry…how do you see yourself leading women? What do you think is the ideal way to meet the needs of women? I like the friendship of women and praying and worshiping together, but I really hate the emotional sharing part too.

  20. Oh gosh. I’ve so been in the same boat.

    I tried MOPS. Nobody laughed at my jokes. I was bored to tears learning about freezer cooking and organizing closets. I wanted to talk about shame and how we all react to it. I wanted to question a young earth and debate theology. I wanted to run screaming from the building and light my bra on fire.

    Everybody just looked at me weird.

    I haven’t been involved in women’s ministry for a long time…and I’m feeling we are selling ourselves short, that the voices of the Misfits need to be heard, because they free the captives and set the prisoners free from coupon clipping.

    Not that there is anything wrong with any of that…because there’s not. It’s just not for me.

    Then again…I’ve been kinda burnt out recently and working A LOT. I usually do veterinary videos for a pet food company and I work relief shifts – big, important work that requires a lot of brain power and responsibility. Between that and managing a home and ending a mega ministry (visit my blog if you want to hear about the demise of the mega-wife), I was entering a period where I didn’t have a lot of bandwidth for anything too complicated.

    Then a company contacted me and offered me a contract doing preschool craft videos.

    At first I laughed in their face.

    Preschool crafts? Me? I’m a big damn doctor!!

    Well…the offer was good, so I accepted the contract and started doing ‘crafts’ on video. The first one was a tissue paper rainbow. As I was making rainbows, my spirit started to quiet down. Then I turned on my Adele Pandora channel. And as I sat there, making rainbows and listening to music, grace fell.

    I laughed at myself.

    I realized that God knew my brain and my body needed a little sabbatical, a little rest, a little creativity just for the fun of it, even if I didn’t. Then He gave me the grace of a job that forced me to be creative and quiet.

    Then I started thinking…maybe a lot of women feel that way. Like they need a little sabbatical, and that is why women’s ministry does silly little crafts and talks about surface things…maybe we are all just too worn out to engage in great theological debates and issues of social justice. Maybe we just need a little respite…and women’s ministry comes in and meets that need.

    Well…I’ve gone on too long. It’s just a thought.

    BTW – I know I totally breaking blog protocol, but just you mentioned P31 woman, I thought I would share my take on her. I think we have her all wrong….


    Be blessed!

  21. I do do womanly things (knitting being the top of that list) BUT I also do not care for women’s ministry or the dreaded girls night out. Basically, I’ve been told I’m not a quality Christian girl.

    So once again, you type what I feel! Thanks for keeping it real lady :)

  22. Okay…I have to chime in. I was in the same boat. I went to women’s ministry a long time and sometimes I even got something out of it (like studying Experiencing God which really dug down into my heart!!)
    But I didn’t go a long time because I hated lace and doilies and being fake…and I was FAKE!!! I was struggling with anger and wanted help with all sorts of issues and no one would be real with me. I was asked what I was learning or how I was growing but never “how are you struggling with sin today?” I would have burst at the seams!!!
    So, whether it works for all or not, that is why I wanted to have a class where the goal was to be real. The Lord was really clear with me…if you go first, and you confess your sin and your shortcomings, others will get freedom. That is my design for women’s ministry, and that is why I show up every Tuesday morning, because I have found if I just let down my “perfection mask” and show exactly who I am, others can be free to walk with Christ in truth and grace. It doesn’t work for everyone, and we can’t have a one-size fits all, but I’m hoping what we provide is a safe-haven for women who just want to be real and find the real Jesus.
    So…I get it…design one that works for the women you are describing…because I think women need each other, no matter how much of a dude at heart they may be!
    Love you…

    1. Tracy, without putting my foot in my mouth or sounding like I’m back-peddling, your ministry on Tuesday mornings is something different. I would say, without a doubt, that moms Bible study in your class pulled me out of depression after having my first baby (plus blessed me a ton along the way).

      All that to say, I think among women in the Christian culture as a whole there is a sense of dis-genuine acting. I think women are not great at letting other women be themselves. At least that is the sense I’m left with. This is a personal observation, of course, that I have experienced in many different church settings.

      Hopefully too, this post speaks more to my own insecurities, hesitations, and hang-ups than me knocking women’s ministry.

      I think women need women too, more than we admit or realize. But I’ll leave women’s ministry to the pro’s like you!

      1. One more thought…God made me a leader. God made you a leader. Sometimes it is excruciating when your giftedness sees things happening that if tweaked or changed would include more people. Perhaps the struggle isn’t fitting in to other’s ministries (and I will say I have seen amazing ministry occur by women and through women that is both outreach oriented and healing for the personal soul really happening), but is actually the Spirit moving you into your next season of ministry. In fact, I’m hearing that with many of the comments (especially those I know who are true leaders).
        There is so much room in the kingdom to step up and create and provide safe places for women. Maybe…just maybe…all this percolating is actually a ministry plan being born. Yes, Joy…get some Christian warriors out there to fight the battles together. Yes, Nicole, find ways to bring women together who aren’t being ministered to in a big group and find what they need to grow.
        I know healthy things grow, so looking at a big group of women may be a sign that healthy ministry is occurring there…like Susan Miller making a place for displaced women to get back on their feet, or Moms in Touch (I know it changed to Moms in Prayer…but I can’t do that yet) groups being so safe you can actually share your child is a drug addict.
        I’m going too long here…but i have a point…I think one more thing each of you is rejecting is a normal problem with being young…go to a 10 year high school reunion and see what people talk about and then step into a 30 year high school reunion and see the marked difference. When you are young it is important to show the world how mature you have become and how great you are doing, but you still have huge issues under the surface. When you get older (dang…that’s me now) the suffering you experience allows the mask to come off and reality to flow.
        So…as you lead, keep being real! You’re good at that and you obviously open up those issues about which people want to connect. You’re about 10 years early on the ability to open up, but that is part of being a leader. Second, being a leader means being careful with other people’s hearts…its good if women are able to cry and share at a table, because it may be the only place in their life they are safe during the week. It is your opportunity to lay down your life for them, just like Jesus did.
        Thanks for the kind words, too…it means the world to me that we created a safe place for you!!

        1. Tracy,
          Ihave been asked to lead, or considered, our women’s ministry. Reading some of these comments and article left me discouraged, specifically pertaining to ideas I had centered around facilitating women being able to talk and share their hurts and burdens. Until I read your comments. Thank you for taking the time to post. Your perspective blessed me and encouraged me that I am on the right path.

  23. I have a confession to make: I was kind of surprised by this post and all its comments. I didn’t realize so many women felt this way. To be fair, I myself have not spent much time (if any) involved in typical women’s ministry. But I love Beth Moore, Christian romance novels, and being touchy-feely. So, speaking as “one of those,” I would love to hear more women like you speak up! Or get involved, even, in shaping the direction of women’s ministries. I like the emotional stuff, but I could stand to participate in a theological debate once in a while, and I certainly don’t need pink powerpoints and lace doilies to make me feel feminine. We should be celebrating (and ministering to) all different types of femininity! Even I get tired of the little box women are so often put into.

    Also, there’s nothing wrong with not feeling comfortable talking about your feelings all the time, or crying in front of people. There’s something healing about dealing with these things yourself, sometimes. Everyone has their own support system. I feel blessed when women feel safe enough to cry in front of me and let me pray for them. But I’m also encouraged when women would rather talk about serving God than themselves. I think you hit on something when you said you find it self-indulgent. It’s an important phase in one’s spiritual walk, to be sure, to figure oneself out and find healing. And we need to continually examine ourselves and deal with our issues. But at some point we need to go out and serve!

    I also hate the facades Christian women seem to put on all the time. Things are not great all the time; I don’t care who you are. If they are, that’s usually a sign that there’s a problem, right? We’re meant to suffer for Christ, and those who are living out their faith will often find themselves attacked by the enemy.

    Lastly, I think it’s awesome and beautiful how some women find it easier to relate to dudes than other women. Again, I’m not a fan of the little boxes we’ve created for each gender. And just think how God can use women like that, to encourage men!

    Just some thoughts. I’m semi-new here; I’ve been reading your blog for a few months, and I love it. :)

    1. I have been asked to lead, or considered, our women’s ministry. Reading some of these comments and article left me discouraged, specifically pertaining to ideas I had centered around facilitating women being able to talk and share their hurts and burdens. Until I read your comments. Thank you for taking the time to post. Your perspective blessed me and encouraged me that I am on the right path.

  24. As a big, hairy-faced guy I have to admit, I attended and loved a large women’s conference for years. Ok, to clarify, I played in the worship band. We played, that was cool. We left and ate, that was cool. Then we either watched sports or movies or played some form of communal killing game on Xbox. Without that conference I may never have developed my Halo skills.

    On a serious-er note. Many of the conferences tend to have a cookie cutter type of feel to them. My wife more closely falls into your category more than the Amish historical love fiction category. I think she gets bugged with the “girl time” paint nails and pamper ourselves freedom weekend mentality.

    But what do I know? I play music and then leave to kill aliens.

  25. I’m new to church (as of 4 years) and was raised by agnostics who were brought up Christian. Our pastor is a woman who I admire for many reasons. She is highly intelligent, passionate, deep, and joyful. This is evident in her preaching, body language, tone of voice, and in all of the wonderful things that everyone has to say about her within and outside of the church.

    Once upon a time, when I was new to the church, I found myself very intrigued by her presence and often wondered what my pastor was like beyond her life within church walls. She struck me as the kind of person whom I might befriend had I met her in cafe or even as a child (and I am one to carry fewer, but closer friendships). She is a gardener, a contemplative, a community builder… all with a child-like curiosity and adult-like sense of wisdom and committment to her life’s projects.

    I was always very open with her. Naturally, out of the level of comfort I felt around her and out of my interest in her as a person, I desired to shared various aspects of my life with her, including experiences of a mystical sort, emotional struggles, relationship matters, and so on. I was no more open with her than I tend to be with anyone whom I find myself trusting. However, I didn’t and still do not feel as though she was/is equally open with me about her life nor as interested in my life as I was in hers.

    In the beginning (of these 4 years), I felt a strong call to explore Christian life and to be a part of the church. I was baptized after a year or so and during this time, especially prior to my baptism, the pastor seemed very interested in me (perhaps my confusion). We got together several times to talk about the sort of mystical experiences that led me to the church and into baptism. I was happy to be able to relate to someone about these things. My experiences was new and intense and most might think that I was crazy had I shared them openly.

    Eventually, I was baptized and embarked on a new chapter of life. I felt as though a past way of being Jacob was dying away and a truer identity or self was becoming clearer to me. I felt more like a child again and began having very vivid memories of myself as a child and could suddenly make a great deal of sense out of the direction that my life had taken, the choices I had made along the way, and why those choices were (and perhaps had to have been) made. At this time, my relationship with the pastor began to change.

    She slowly began to become more of a background figure in my life. I think that she may have recognized that I had embarked upon a new chapter and perhaps thought that distance was appropriate. Perhaps I needed some time and space to explore this new, more acute awareness that I had of my relationship with God and the life that I felt called to, which was different than the life that I found myself pursuing not long before. I was OK with this… and so life went on.

    Still, I continued to be intrigued by her (her being a pastor/preacher, and a person). However, as time went on and more space seemed to come between us, that interest began to lessen. While I really do feel that she is a wonderful person, I confess that I began to feel disappointed with her approach to me as a person, as a sheep in her flock, or even as a friend. I felt as though our relationship, friendship, whatever you want to call it, that being whatever lay beyond me sitting in a pew listening to her preach, was up to me. I’ve felt this way before within several friendships. I recall clearly experiencing disappointment after realizing that my relationship with my best friend during my youth always seemed contingent upon me reaching out to him, me making the phone call, me suggesting an idea.

    This experience was happening to me again, not only with the pastor, but also with another “elder” (former priest) whom I had befriended or been connected with. If I step back and look at these situations from the outside, from outside of the context of a perceived friendship, it suddenly feels like no big deal. These people are there… and they are there for me. If I want something from them, I can seek them out and what it is that they provide is valuable and great. However, I can’t really step outside of the context of a perceived friendship because that is how I feel (or perhaps felt) about these relationships. These feelings were nurtured not only by my own emotions and thoughts, but also by the kinds of things that these people would say to me.

    The former priest would sometimes tell me how wonderful a friend I was to him and how so few people in his life connected with him and cared about him as I did. I used to reach out to him and help him with many things… like setting up his art studio, moving his belongings from one house to another, or taking him here and there (after he stopped driving). My relationship with the pastor was not as personal, however, as I mentioned earlier we did share very personal thoughts, feelings, and stories with each other. My feeling of her as someone more than a preacher in my life was confirmed by her saying to me one day “I love you,” a statement I hadn’t heard (from a woman) in perhaps 8 years, since my mother passed away.

    The same feelings were also conveyed by my priestly friend. However, these words were difficult for me to digest. Being someone who has always been very sincere, I found myself perceiving a conflict between the reality of our relationship (in daily life) and the feelings that were being expressed. I think that this may have caused me to take a step back. In doing so, I noticed that while I maintained a personal interest in the lives of these two, I didn’t feel the same way about their interest in me. I had no desire in testing our relationship, but I did want to understand it better. I recognized that a part of me felt tired of having to be the one to reach out (via e-mail, in-person, or over the phone) to make something happen or “book an appointment” to simply sit down and have a conversation.

    Perhaps my disappointments and the distance that currently exists between myself and these two people is a result of my own confusion. Perhaps I expect too much out of someone who claims to love me. I’m not sure. Perhaps Christians throw around the word love out of feelings of responsibility to love their neighbor, or love the sheep in their flock. I don’t know. Perhaps it is easier to love me when I’m happy and cheerful and doing great in life rather than down and dreery and struggling with things. I know that there are certain people in my life that I know that I love and whom I feel love me too. Regardless of what is happening in our lives, that feeling seems always to be there, and we don’t seem to get uncomfortable with one another or lose interest in each other’s lives.

    A part of me feels distraught over having these feelings of disappointment, yet also feeling as though I am sincerely called to be a part of this congregation. By the way, this congregation consists mostly of older adults, 40+ years in age. I am one of 2 or 3 people in their 30’s who regularly attends. A part of what leaves me feeling alienated or disconnected is the fact that there are few people around me who are going through the kinds of challenges and phases that I am going through currently. However, I do not feel as though this bares much on my relationships with these two people.

    Perhaps my feelings have less to do with women and more to do with Christian life, or organized Christian community worship. I suppose I’m less of a black and white, book an appointment kind of guy and more of a loosey goosey, let’s be real friends, open and honest, and get to know one another and value one another as and for the people we really are kind of guy. That’s how I’m feeling and I’m glad that I stumbled upon your post and had a chance to express myself. Some might say, you should share these feelings with your Christian friends! However, sometimes we get tired of always having to be the one to reach out and share. Sometimes it’s nice when someone genuinely wants to know how and what you are doing. Sometimes, the prospect of never talking again seems better than talking again, assuming that an appointment is written down on a yellow sticky note and stuck in the little calendar. I like to think that love is a bit more spontaneous and organic than that.

  26. This whole topic intrigues me. First, I would also like to hear “Guide to women”‘s story of being voted out of an accountability group. WOW.

    For the first time in my life, I’m in a CO-ED small group/bible study. *GASP!*

    I became a follower of Christ in 2005, and the majority of my growth with a particular Christian ministry, seemed to be very split up when it came to men and women. Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT all bad, and at times, is completely necessary. However, what I’ve found, as I’m now out of college and in a mixed group, is very interesting.
    What has been most noticeable to me is the focus on Christ and solid truth verses the focus on my personal life and how I’m doing/feeling. Now, of course in my women’s groups, our desire was to re-align our lives with Christ, but I remember spending SO MUCH TIME on talking about our personal lives that we often didn’t get to the content. If you’re a women who has experienced this, can I get an AMEN?

    And when it comes to the, “hey we’re women so let’s watch the bachelor, paint our nails, and stamp cards…”, it’s not something I’ve ever been to into. I do think I can participate and enjoy myself, but when those things become a mask to the crap that’s really going on in my life, count me out. (although it’s an easy escape)

    1. I find it difficult (and unnecessary) to focus on “solid truth” while separating out personal life. Whether one is reading a text, listening to a teaching, or embracing a practice, personal life seems integral, inseparable, a component of the whole, always. I feel that the teachings of Christ help us to see that life is perhaps more personal than we realize, that our relationships with God, each other, and all life on earth are perhaps more personal than we realize. Separating out personal from other (i.e. professional) seems to me to be something that we learn from our culture and perhaps something that we do in order to maintain a greater sense of control over our life.

      1. Thanks for your reply, and I totally agree. I think I should clarify what I meant. Often times, in one particular women’s group I am thinking of, our time with be filled with spilling our emotions and being real with each other, but then just kind of staying in that place. I’m thankful to have found a place to be real and raw an not fear judgement. I also wouldn’t want a group where we only talk about scripture, but don’t apply it to or let it surface real life issues. I suppose I’ve experienced both extremes, and would love to grow in what it looks like to mesh the two.
        Thoughts on that? And also what that can look like in a co-ed group?

  27. Found your blog on 4Word. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one. I find the mushy stuff frustrating, but I’m secretly jealous of the women who seem to find something special within women groups and bible studies. I just can’t do it.

    1. Ariel, thanks for coming over and visiting from 4Word. I think it’s okay to be envious of the relationships some women find in women’s groups.ministry. God has wired us for intimate, lasting, relationship so it is normal for us to crave those type of interactions. But I hope too that you are encouraged, Ariel, that other women feel the same as you. That doesn’t mean those types of relationships are impossible to achieve, but simply that perhaps God has another way for us to find them.

  28. I don’t particularly like them, and for me its because “Women’s Ministry” usually means lets dwell on everything else – they either want to share about being a wife/girlfriend to their husband/boyfriend or being a mom to their kids – neither of which interest me at the moment. I would love a gathering of Christian women talking about the gifts of God in their lives and how they want/struggle/enjoy to use them in the Kingdom of God. Then again, I might just be being a prideful prick as I am often wont to be :)

  29. I don’t really like women’s ministry either. Somehow I feel like it’s alienating; what makes us so different from men that we need an entire separate ministry? What is so different between what it takes for women to get close to God and what it takes for men to get close to God? Nothing. Other than like three passages in the Bible, nothing. That is enough to compose one sermon series, not a whole ministry. I can understand Singles ministry, or Couples ministry because they are such deep subjects, but women and men are too reliant on each other to be separated. Personally, at an all women’s event I just feel like I’m suffocated by the estrogen. Everything is all gossip and children and emotion-y-ness and “strong woman” this and “strong woman” that. It feels unbalanced; it feels like one focuses on certain subjects simply because they only apply to women, even if they’re unimportant. Let’s get down to brass tacks and talk about things that matter, even if they do relate to both men and women.

  30. I hate that I was so on point with you. You left out the fact that we (women) have a tendacy to be mean, moody, self righteous, bossy, and hateful to one another. I’m still trying to find out my isms for Women Ministries but I attribute it mostly to the fact that I am a loner and enjoy it. But I have a great respect for many women leaders/mentors; Juanita Bynum and Cindy Trimm. I have forgiven the hurtful things women have done to my mother in the church as I watched work so hard in the church growing up. Not to mention the hurtful attacks on me in the past and present, I have forgiven but I don’t forget. I respect the scars and have come to realize it is an expectation when you’re dealing in Spiritual Warefare. We must bare the cross daily.

  31. LOVED reading this post, it made me nod my head; a feast of recognition from beginning to end. When i moved to this country 7 years ago and a woman in church asked me to join ‘The Play Group’, i stared at her with unbelief and started laughing. What did she mean, we go play together? Oh duh.. we bring kiddo’s and play together? Wait.. we let kiddo’s play and what do we do then? Sip coffee and talk, every Friday. Shoot me, i thought, after i politely accepted her invite. I did go, just because my toddlers needed to get accustomed to hearing English as much as possible but good Lord.. it took many Fridays before i could appreciate this concept. I used to hate church girls’ camp, miserably failed at liking BSF, never attended one women’s conference and have turned down every women’s retreat invitation. However, you will not guess what.. I started a group last year. WOMEN only! Yup, i said it. Women that struggle in their marriages. Women who try hard to be working (sometimes single) moms who feel guilty of not succeeding in either area. Women that have lost track of Jesus. Women that have made poor decisions, and because of it, feel condemned and looked down on in their churches. How ironic, God using me in this department. The empathy i feel for all of ’em is sincere and i thank God for it. One thing though.. i believe God wants to transform our thinking and change us and our circumstances through that. So there is definitely a time to express those emotions we’re created with but i like women best when they’re in a Jesus-focussed state of mind.

  32. Thank you so much for this article! For me, it’s an internal struggle because I genuinely want to forge deeper bonds with other women and don’t want to be a cynic. With that frame of mind, I attended the first big event of the year for our church’s womens ministry. There have been very few times that I have felt more uncomfortable in a church setting. The room was filled with glittery decor, the leadership team all wore matching pink, everyone got notebooks with bunnies, kittens, etc. on the cover. It was like Barbie got saved.

    Moreso than the above, the most discouraging thing was that it was difficult relating to the people there. I’d hoped to perhaps connect with women who shared similar goals, ambitions or passion for ministry. Rather, most conversations seemed to fall flat outside of topics like significant other/children, or things like baking & fashion. By reading this blog, it’s encouraging to know that other people crave a different type of fellowship, as well.

  33. Hi! I’m late discovering this post but still wanted to comment. Wow – I could have written this! All those things make me go “eek” too! (Yet I do some of the things privately like you. haha.) I am also “more like a dude” as you word it. I am not touchy-feely, don’t like hugging, and do NOT gush over babies! I avoid babies actually, and don’t have children. Yes, the “emotional/feel this/talk about it” atmosphere of women’s things turns me off. I also appreciate your very honest self-appraisal.

    For me, the issue with women’s ministry is the lack of balance I so often observe. There is a place for emotions and sharing, but there should be a more objective component as well. Recently I got stuck with a group of women at a church home group – the ENTIRE time was emotional sharing. Some of this would have been fine, but the leader never got it around to more objective content – like a brief teaching from a Bible passage or otherwise directing the conversation to the Word.

  34. Thank you for this post! I have been involved in women’s ministry for about a decade (participant, facilitator, leader) but I don’t fit in at all. I do love oogling over babies, I have really learned a lot from Beth Moore studies, and enjoy Christian romance, but I am just figuring out the reason I have never fit in: I always go to a Bible Study for the purpose of drawing closer to Jesus when I think most of the women at these things are really just trying to draw closer to each other. I have heard leaders say how much they love women but what their behavior says they really mean is that they love women loving them. That is a VERY BIG difference! I have no idea how I happened across your blog but my husband (who was an elder at the church) and I have recently left our church of 8 years because God called us to start meeting in our home. We hadn’t even heard of the simple church movement until I tried to look up resources for what we are doing. (God basically said to us to stop tithing to your country club …I mean church, and be the church and send your money to the people you are actually supposed to be supporting like…um..the poor.) We have tried to extricate ourselves as graciously and quietly as possible but have been accused of being divisive. Your post really hit home because I have been flat out snubbed over the past year by these women as I have pushed for greater accountability to the Word. You know how women can be really good at that and yet when I finally leave I am accused of being divisive. Funny thing is…being rejected by this group is actually feeling like a huge compliment! I finally feel the freedom I intellectually knew I had in Christ. So thank you Sister! I will be reading more on your blog!

    1. ME TOO!! Let’s drop the pretense & call it like it is. I think most people (me included!) go to a Singles Group to meet other singles, hoping to make a love connection. Which is ok, except in my experience, the group is 99% female and men who might be interested in the group don’t last long. If I were a man I’d probably be scared off, too!

      Also — explain to me how bowling, cook outs & playing co-Ed softball is ministry. If I join a ministry group, I want to learn about the Word, not go on Match.com-style outings.

  35. I wonder . . . what would happen if we forget about ministry groups and focus instead on spending time sitting at the feet of Jesus . . . reading his Words . . . praying for him to help us at our point of deepest need . . . a point that we may not even be aware of. Felt needs are not usually real needs.

  36. I guess what I really hate about women’s ministry is this:
    1) the fakeness of it. A lot of it is all about “empowerment” and soft soap that isn’t going to get you anywhere closer to Jesus. It’s so superficial.
    2) the fact that there is a heck of a lot more women’s ministry than men. It’s like we think we’re just not intelligent enough or equal enough to men to participate in co-ed ministry. Which is ridiculous. One would be surprised howmuch the two genders have in common.
    3) the assumption that all women are interested in is family, girly things, and their husbands. I am personally also interested in outerspace, music, health and fitness, and literature. It’s as I’d the women’s ministry says that if you don’t fit in to the status quo you aren’t worthy to be a Christian woman.

  37. I find I have trouble with the church ladies. I’m not a feeler person and the crying and whining makes me nuts. I have been told my comments are “jaw dropping” and I’ve made a woman cry for a week. I just say the truth and there you have it. I’m in a men’s group now and I LOVE it. There is no crying in bible study. :)

  38. I love this post. I was just talking with my husband the other day about our church doing Beth Moore simulcasts every year and how bad I feel for not wanting to go. I guess I just want to hear someone’s story. I want to be able to relate. Beth Moore brings out my insecurities. I don’t think most women’s ministry events are set up to foster discipling and close relationships. They are set up to either keep it on the surface level or they go too deep too soon and it gets awkward. We talk about kids, who is trying to have kids, our own lives and selves so much that I get tired of hearing it all. I am very private most of the time, so I get left out when I decline sharing personal details everyone is sharing. Women still keep asking me when we are going to have kids and if we are trying! To me, this is a very personal question and if they don’t know me well, why on earth do they think it’s their business? Thanks for this. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who shys away from women’s ministry events.

  39. I just found this post and I really enjoy seeing someone admit this.

    I have problems with women’s ministry, but not because I have problems with women. I love other women! My issue is that I am sick of hearing the same material over and over and over again….

    Proverbs 31. Mary and Martha. Submission. Motherhood. Servitude. Blah blah blah.

    It’s like since we’re women, we can only look at and learn about a sliver of topics in the Bible.

    I don’t just want to be a better WOMAN in Christ, but a better Christ follower in general!

  40. Wow, it’s like you are this little voice inside of me talking. I can definitely relate. When I have gone to women’s group things in the past though it feels like there’s no depth. There was no discussion of Godly things just sit and listen and then break off into groups and talk about how you agree.

    1. Angela,
      Yes, sadly, I think that is the model that many women’s ministries follow. More and more women, however, are breaking out of that, I believe in search of something genuine, intimate, relational, and authentic. I pray you find something that fits that description.

  41. Wow! What a powerful article! I can relate to much of it and am very relieved. Thank you for having the strength and eloquence and honesty to voice your opinion!

  42. Have you ever done a Beth Moore study? I’ve done several, and they are very deep and challenging. I did her James study in the Spring, and wow, it hit us right between the eyes. We don’t pull any punches in my ladies bible study group. We get down to the nitty gritty of the word and how we MUST apply it in our every day lives. The women have come out of their proverbial shells and out of their comfort zones to do some real ministry.

    1. Billie,
      I have, yes. I have done several Beth Moore studies, in fact, some of which truly helped re-ignite a love for God and His Word. However, I will say that I did studies alongside women who sometimes were just as engaged and motivated to know God and other times were not as much. And it wasn’t the Moore studies themselves that I’m addressing, so much as the saccharin sweet, sometimes hyped-up, cliche, and out-of-touch tone of many of the women’s ministries I had been a part of.

  43. This morning when I pulled up my email I came across some great articles in my Inbox about “Women’s Ministry” and why they aren’t working anymore….because they are the same and not relevant for the needs of the majority of women. I totally agreed and wanted to run outside and shout….”This is exactly what I’ve been thinking…but, didn’t know exactly how to say it” :)
    I’ve been raised in ministry and a ministers wife for over 25 years. I don’t think I’m that old…44. Lol. I’ve ever liked the old traditional way Ladies Meetings are held. I am the one that would go home afterwards and say to my husband….”I just want to hear from regular women…their stories…the real stuff.”
    For the first time ever in my life we are out of ministry for now and I’m attending two different types of Women’s groups a week. One is a Trauma Group and the other a Recovery Group for wives whose husband struggle with addiction. Wow!!! These groups have been the FIRST REAL groups I’ve ever attended. We are real. We don’t bash our husbands….we talk about what real life is like and how to get through to the next day. Yea..a lady might cry every once in awhile. But, we just let her. I’ve learned how important it is to not interfere with the emotions of others by handing them a tissue, are patting the on the back…..just let them cry..get it out and then we move on.
    It thrills me to hear that other women feel the same as me….Lets get real. It’s time. Enough of hiding behind the pretty stuff….it’s time to take a true stand as women. We are smart, intelligent, and we have so much to offer the church than just having a once a year Festival of Tables so we can look good.
    I don’t want to always”look” good. I want to be REAL.
    Becka :)

  44. I have a seminary degree and have trouble with the idea that Christian community and Bible study are somehow separate entities, especially within women’s “ministry” and not something that simply happens as we pursue living out our discipleship together. Bonhoeffer had it right, I think, in noting that Christian community comes from Mission.

    I just returned from a fabulous camp out with the group of teenage girls I lead in my church. They are juniors. We talk about a lot of things in our group: All surfacing out of our weekly Bible study: how do we pray for our leaders after the ugliness of this election, if their parents are struggling financially, is it fair of them to choose anything but the most economical college, what’s the most loving thing to say to one’s brother who is just coming back from combat. I think we spent five minutes of the trip on the topic everyone thinks teenage girls are obsessed with: boys – and even then it was discussing how much one of the boys on the trip had grown into someone who “really follows Christ and treats people how Christ would want him to”. They were most disappointed that rain on Sunday kept us from our lesson on Job – because they love it when we talk about “real things”. Our mission is clear: to Love God and Love Others.

    But today, I received an email asking me to invite those same girls to a saturday event called “fashionable” and includes makeovers, discussion of “adapting today’s fashions modestly”, and a nutritionist (of all things) to talk about their diets. I can’t stomach it – not when I know what each of them is facing and that such intelligent young women are hungry not for fashion advice, but for more of Christ.

    This is my thought/own hunger: Maybe in a culture where 50 Shades of Grey is the top selling novel, there are more significant opportunities out there than simply offering an emotional replacement/or even substitute romance novel… I’m working to raise up the next generation and praying they will lead the way to deeper community, deeper faith, deeper mission. (just saying that as someone who resonates with the rogue/rebel role Nicole has said – this is where I am finding my place amongst women)

  45. Well, I want to be the first to nominate you as President of the “Our Gang Follies – Woman haters club.” :) Can’t say much more. I do think that some womens ministries can do good things for women suffering from the loss of a husband. My Father died last month and it has been very hard on Mom. Her once a week trip to the womens bible study has done very well for her. She does however go into her little slumps when things become too much for her mentally. God Bless your ministry.

  46. Until I became a Christian, almost all of my close friends were male. Women who aren’t Christians can be just plain mean. I felt the same way as you do for many years. I’m still not one for teas, scrapbooking and other “womanly” pursuits, but I can honestly say that God has grown in me a compassion for women that I never thought would be possible. It seems that God is always leading me into places where I never thought I’d go. This “dude” girl who never wanted children and couldn’t stand women wound up in children’s ministry and selling Avon for many years. May He show you His compassion! You know what really changed things for me? I was placed in positions where I saw a need that was greater than my discomfort. You know how you just have to buck up and do it when your kid pukes? I saw a child who was up praying for his parents all night when his dad would come home and beat the crap out of his mom and was being called a trouble maker at church because he was having problems following directions in Sunday School. I had to step up. Same thing happened with the women, so many were being abused. His compassion will overcome your discomfort. God bless you dear!

  47. I’m a pastor’s wife who doesn’t like women’s ministry; how’s that? The thought of large groups (or even small) groups of women sitting around sharing their problems, which usually consists of things like their children not being in the right preschool or how to decorate on a budget, sends chills down my spine. I’m not sure what it is about women’s ministry. I think the term in itself is misleading. So many women’s ministry events focus on helping a woman find self-worth while if women would simply minister, many of those longings would be fulfilled. Become a foster parent, feed the hungry, disciple teenage girls, visit the widows – isn’t this what women of the church should be doing? Or maybe it’s the activities done at women’s ministry events; if a women’s ministry even included whitewater rafting or a mud run, I’d be on that list. I realize that I’m juding through my narrow lens. Until then, instead of attending events on how to be a better wife or parent, I’ll just be hanging out with my husband and/or kids.

  48. Just now reading this, and I have struggled with women and christianity. I have always been a tomboy, but really one in my youth. I would do the total opposite of what girlsvwere doing from as early as 2nd grade (that I can remember) . I would wear cut off pants (that made long shorts) high top pink converse (tgey were not popular in the early 90s umong little kids) , I purposely had my hair cut shoulder length on one side, and super short on the other side. None of this was cool or popular in elementry school in the early 90s lol. I got made fun of but I have alwayd been a very confident person and that has intimidated other females as long as I can remember. The fact I am so different and refuse to go with popular etc yet I’m so confident etc. I had only a handful of close female friends my whole life, I always had a guy best friend / friends. As a teen I shaved my head and was a total punk rock chic tomboy. So as an adult I have REALLY struggled. I got saved and started going to a local pentecostal church, that was ahuge change ! ,I already hated conforming etc but now I was being told if I didn’t I would be sent to outter darkness. All the women had their groups and their husbands and perfect kids and nice homes etc etc, here I come with a baby ( I was a mon at 18). My not so nice clothes and looking like a big hippy , driving my 1975 zepher lol and living at home after an ugly break up. It took years to get into the coolcb but during my divorce with 3 kids back in 07 none of these perfect ladies were there for me at all when I really needed someone. That hurt bad! It did bring me closer to Jesus and I’m eternally grateful. So the past few years I have been dealing with anger at the ideas I have been fed that to go to heaven you have to wear dresses, be the perfect housewife and mother and have it all together. God showed me most of this striving was self righteousness, hiding all my flaws behind an image . So I decided to just be me and believe God loves me , the person he made:) but I have since become an outcast at church and the ladies I thought I was friends with abandoned me after I started wearing pants, cut my hair, and a couple tattoos latet. So I am dealing with hurt and issues over this image of what a christian wife and mother should look and act like. I actually had a lady I thought was my close friend tell me to take a hike , I didn’t change, my love for Jesus didn’t change, yet I have been pushed out of the ladies club. So I am again a loner fighting against the grain but that’s how I’ve always been and that’s ok with me! It was brought to my attention recently that my attempting to defend myself or show their wrong is being just as judgmental as they are to me. I guess the key really is loving and accepting people where God has them on their personal walk.

  49. What an awesome post! I love your tone and your maturity! I laughed so hard at all these comments, but I wasn’t surprised because I used to feel exactly the same way. I’m not really a tomboy, but I am a young, childless, unmarried professional so I found the whole “Women’s Ministry” thing to be well out of my league on so many levels and for the combination of reasons proposed by my above-mentioned status and/stage in life. I have been a born-again Christian for more than 17 years, so I think that I have heard every interpretation of Proverbs 31 and Ephesians 5:22 there is on planet earth from every mother’s day, women’s day and relationship seminar held by Churches annually, in as long a time. (3 times a year for 17 years is a long time…LOL.)

    What I have found to be the missing link in Women’s Ministry is that the Bible itself was written from a very male perspective to cater to the Ancient society in which it was founded, and today, even in the “emancipated” West, in addition to only having circa 50 years of somewhat female emancipation, many of our Churches are still largely led by men (despite being mainly composed of women) and thus naturally gravitate towards teaching The Word of God from a male perspective. There are so many denominations where patriarchy and debates about who should have teaching authority over whomever else take centre stage before really ministering to the needs of the Church (let alone the outside world) and the end result is that there are far too few women who are permitted, qualified, academically proficient, confident enough and bold enough to approach the Word with the same sense of relatability (I know that is not a word) as men. When men sit in a worship service and are compared to David, Abraham or Moses, their ability to see a heart for God in themselves like David, or faith that draws into God like Abraham’s or leadership potential and ability like Moses is much more prevalent, accepted, endorsed and encouraged than these same qualities when displayed by women. I am a lawyer by profession and I am yet to attend a conference where the entire sermon spoke about Deborah the Judge whose counsel towards the King saved all of Israel. I have never heard anyone preach about Priscilla opening her home to Timothy and effectively planting a Church in her own home etc. Just google the story of Esther and Vashti, and if you can find any Theologians or experts in Hebrew or Greek who interpret the story as more than a beauty contest where the “unsubmissive” Vashti apparently lost her throne to the “submissive” Esther because she didn’t obey her husband, you will have located a needle in a haystack.

    A lot of my issues with Women’s Ministry is that women are generally shallow in our pretences and our authenticity because we are generally lacking in depth and diversity when it comes to the Word. This is because for us, women even being allowed to view themselves as equal members in the Body of Christ is a relatively new notion, so I have noticed that my yearning for stronger, challenging, more solid ministry is not catered to by Women’s Ministry because I consider myself a somewhat mature Christian and most of the behaviour you have described in your article is mainly demonstrated by younger people in the faith. (Not in age terms, but in terms of rightly dividing the Word of truth). A lot of what we experience is really our genders’ collective deficit when it comes to being able to locate ourselves in the life-giving, heart and mind-changing Word of God. Not seeing ourselves in heroic biblical characters or having role models and images of the complexity and diversity inherent in our individuality as well as our femininity is what leads to the gossiping, self-centredness, competitive, back-stabbing and generally ungodly behaviour we are all turned off by at Women’s Ministries.

    I “stopped doing” Women’s Ministry a few years ago, because the legal profession is predominantly male, and I already had a very logical mind without the added training of Law school, so I risked being like the commenter who was voted out of the accountability group, as I frequently realised that my unemotional, logical responses to what I thought were simple problems were causing women to cry in hurt at my seeming cruelty and indifference. Concluding that I felt like I was the problem, I took some time out and really surrendered my fears to God. Through studying the Word on my own – which I prefer to in groups anyway – I really learnt to love myself and than allowed God put a real passion for other people into my spirit. Because of this new level in maturity, I have returned to Women’s Ministry. Since then, my tendency to feel judged (and to judge others) and all the other self-centred and self-indulgent practices you all mentioned during Women’s Ministry meetings has subsided. By simply removing the words “Biblical Womanhood” from my sub-conscience and asking the Holy Spirit to simply lead me into “Christianity” i.e. being more like Christ, He began to reveal the bravery of Abigail, the radicalism of Ruth, the passion of the woman by the well, Hannah’s prayer life, Rahab’s struggles as a single mother (even though I am not a mother) in ME, and once the Word of God started to show me whom I was, I became less concerned with what other women were doing (or lacking) in the Body of Christ.

    I go there now, and like a previous commenter who noted that she is authentic because she wants other women (like all the commenters here) to feel free to be themselves whether stay-at-home moms, dude-ish-chicks or single, working professionals like me; or alternatively to be free to be as girly and emotional as they want to be; without attributing it to gender, but just to overall Christian immaturity, and I have noticed that I have much more confidence and have met many of the types of women who have commented on this post (and of course yourself as the Author) at the pink tables and knitting groups. There are authentic people even at these “lacy” gatherings. You just have to look hard enough, stick to your own guns, make it about Jesus and nothing else, and eventually you will start to find the true fellowship and enrichment of Women’s Ministries. Thanks for your post, I really loved it and could SO identify with ALL of you, I am also sorry my comment was so long!

  50. women have been hurt, raped, abused, abandoned, rejected and misunderstood. we all share in something. even if its how much we hate women’s ministry. do you see how many women have you reached just buy this blog? And how many women share in these feelings. ministry is truth and testimony.your truth has Ministered to 75 women.believe it or not you’re in women’s ministry.God is using youand he wants you to know that you have power. Power of femininity .God has made your strong personality but he admonishes you to be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might. use your strong personalityto take the kingdom by force because remember the kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force.you have a place in God’s kingdom. let God develop immature you’re strong personality to add to his kingdom. That’s what ministry is about. God bless. God is love.

  51. I don’t fit in. I am almost always younger (having got married at 18) then the other moms who have kids of a similar age to my own, and too busy in separate directions for the ones my age. I am equal parts suzie home maker and scifi geek. I am plainly out spoken, but I do the over sharing thing you spoke of. I am not interested in going through Beth Moore but Ruth has always been a role model. I hate the beach and tanning and never get my nails done and get a trim once a year. When ever I go to women’s ministry things I feel like a puzzle piece being forced into the wrong puzzle.

  52. You’re a women after my own heart. I was so talking about this with my dad this morning. I feel that there’s a lack in women’s Christian ministry that speaks to the beauty of our ashes. It’s hard to think that we have to live up to a Proverbs 31 or Titus 2 woman. Yes, God would like us to strive to the beauty of our womanhood but does that mean I always have to put on fancy dinners, always look pretty in pearls on Sunday, and be perfect all the time? I’m am perfectly imperfectly and that’s where grace finds me. I’m also “one of the boys” growing up with 2 brothers, but I also have a whimsical side where I prefer purple instead of pink and food delights and sports instead of a shoe addiction. Where’s the margin in our lives? I don’t think women’s ministry is allowing for that. God allows for it and there’s where grace finds me.

  53. I would rather chew on aluminum foil than attend a women’s Bible study. Every time I go to one, I leave feeling psychologically scarred and with a significant decrease in my IQ points. The reason is simple: there is always at least 1 woman (sometimes 2) who has absolutely nothing to say, but speaks continuously about topics totally off point, irrelevant, and redundant, and then gets “emotional” (squirting out a couple crocodile tears–but not too many because that would smear her mascara) over the mere suggestion that perhaps we all aren’t really as godly as we pretend(yes, that’s right we’re sinners saved by grace–a shocking revelation to some). Narcisstic self-indulgence is the foundation for most of these Bible studies–the theology of the speaker and women in the group is so bad that if bible study took place 400 years ago, we all be burned at the stake for heresy.
    And for the record I definitely feel more comfortable with men. But I do like to cuddle and I love babies.

  54. Oh man I couldn’t have said it better myself! I loathe women’s events but go usually because the Holy Spirit urges me to and I will have fun and come away with something positive because I like to be positive.

    I think it is a trust thing. Women can be so ugly and snotty…hoping I am not sounding like one of those women.

    Put me amongst a group of men or children any day! Thanks for putting what has been in my head onto a blog!

    I would probably like you!

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  56. It’s good. I agree but “oversee” a women’s ministry as well. I’m not into the “caty” stuff and all the girls nights out are at times awkward but as a whole we do a few events a year and though they are not to everyone’s liking we try… We include … And the goal is to encourage ladies where they are. We are all growing at different rates in life. It’s fun to have special time and laugh and make memories. Every week – every month – maybe not but I think we need to think of it as it’s not just about me but about Christ and others. I did go to a church that really didn’t have any thing for women ever – so a few things once in a while and I’m with you. Not all women are married with toddlers and so on… It’s a variety and we need to enjoy those that are interested. Encourage one another.

  57. Hi…

    So, I have read through about half of the comments and I am intrigued, saddened, challenged and at a creative loss, for lack of a better description. I found your site “through a google wormhole,” as one commenter said, because I needed some insight. You see, I serve on our church’s women’s ministry team and we are basically trying to reinvent our wheel of how and why we do ministry…what does it and what should it look like to serve the women of today? And my “research” led me to you.

    As a military wife of 28 years and homeschooling mom of 4, all now college-age (…and THAT, my friends tells you I am no longer in the 20-something or 30-something age group *sigh*), I really can see BOTH sides of this discussion. I have benefited from ALL of the things you decried as loathsome and I have loathed them all as well. I, too, am not touchy-feely emotion-bound at retreats, but my husband calls me a “recreational cryer” for all things family, sentimental, military/patriotic or Jesus. I love crafting and Pinterest and scrapbooking (I am really just a scrapbook materials collector as I have thousands of dollars in stickers, papers, cutters and photos all organized, yet have only turned out about 30 pages in 15 years….homeschooler, remember?), and I am a hobby-gourmet cook so new recipes intrigue me. I am not a fashion-monger, but I try to at least look presentable most of the time. I love formal events and tradition. Yet I am the one who devised and planned a Christmas Breakfast-for-Dinner event (and wore my pajamas to it along with several other women, including my 80-year-old mother!) for our annual women’s Christmas event. I bring store-baked items to events most of the time, and I attend my online 5:30am international Bible study in my gown and robe with my bed hair and coffee. My house generally has a lived-in look (read: not one clear space on my desk and laundry piled on the floor and dishes in the sink…), but it is ALWAYS OPEN to whomever. (My daughter says my not-so-clean-or-organized home says to her that Mom is out serving others…sweet.) And I seldom have prayer requests because my life is pretty sweet…at the moment (Thank You, Lord)…although we have had our trials in the past (Thank You for those, too). I love deep studies in the Word (even Beth Moore and Kay Arthur once-in-a-while) and conferences, but I don’t like fill-in-the-blank questions about “what I feel about (whatever)” or “explain a time in your life when (whatever) happened and God showed up.” I have a servant’s heart and am usually the last to leave because I don’t want someone else saddled with mopping or taking out the trash when I am perfectly capable. (My mantra is usually “Many hands make light work…so get to work and help others!”) And I have to bite my tongue to keep from stepping in to serve so that someone else can exercise his or her gifts, too.

    Why do I tell you all of this? Because I want you to know that I am on both sides of this fence. (And it is SO frustrating sometimes. As Bob Uecker once said, “I feel strongly–both ways!”) And because I hear in your comments that women who regularly participate in women’s ministry events (that you all have either been to or made assumptions about) have been shallow, cliquish, emotional, fake, old, out-of-touch, craftsy, stand-off-ish, too personal, irrelevant, selfish, invasive, too feminine, unrealistic, judgmental, unloving, over-zealous, ostracizing, impersonal, non-relational, pointless, etc. (Did you notice how many of those adjectives were contradictory?) And I have to wonder…are women in churches REALLY THIS AWFUL??? Or have a few tainted the rest? Or have assumptions run away with us? Or fear? Or are we everything we have accused “those women” of being? What, in that list, applies to ourselves? Of what are we ourselves guilty (with relation to women’s ministry and women in the church…staying in context with the discussion)? Which brings me to my real issue…and I hope all of you can help me with it. I suspect that at the very least I will come away from this convo with a plethora of new ideas.

    WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM WOMEN’S MINISTRY? And I already hear you concerning the abstracts: relationship, authenticity, mission, challenge, privacy, acceptance, etc. That is not what I need. I want to know: WHAT WILL BRING YOU INTO THE FELLOWSHIP OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH? How do we connect you with other women? What do we need to DO to serve you? I believe that the church is to go out on mission to the lost and to evangelize and give people opportunities to accept Jesus’ gift for them, but we are also called to make disciples: those who are students, replications of Christ, out of people who are already believers. That is the primary ministry to which I have been called in this stage of my life. And I want to be effective in that ministry and I want our women’s ministry team to be relevant and vibrant…in all the ways that really matter. Our “tools of the trade,” so to speak, have always been Bible studies, pot lucks, tea parties, conferences, retreats, game nights, craft days, etc. But you all are rejecting those (well, maybe not the Bible studies) for reasons already discussed. So…you’re up…give me some ideas. Practical, tangible, put-it-on-the-calendar ways to invite, involve, encourage, excite, energize, serve and relate to you.

    To what type of event WOULD you come?

    Which study would you attend?

    How would you like to be involved?

    How do we move you to get off the pew and into the game?

    How would you identify authentic relationship in women’s ministry if you were a first- or second-time visitor to a new church in a new area? What would draw you? For what would you look?

    How do we fellowship with you in relevant, safe, tangible ways that are not stuffy, old-school, fluffy pink, or cliquish…since you don’t want the same-old same-old events?

    And really consider whether you really would attend what you suggest and be committed to seeing it through to the finish (i.e., complete the study, finish the decorations, attend the actual fundraiser, apply your sweat-equity). I, as a ministry team leader, am getting exhausted and feel as though I am spinning my wheels trying to devise ways to reach and connect women who promise to come and then don’t show up. Are we all just “too busy”? Do we really, deep-down, just not want fellowship or transparency? Or are we really okay with walking through life alone? Or do we need to change our paradigms?

    Also, I noticed that many of you stated that you don’t want to hide and you are sick of other women hiding…and that some of you have been “uninvited” because of your courage to speak truth to women who, apparently, either weren’t in a place in their own lives to receive it or didn’t trust you for your wisdom and insight for whatever reasons. Challenge question: how would you really respond if one of the women at an event or in a small group turned to you and courageously and wisely rebuked or corrected you about something in your own life? (Notice: I used the word “wisely” indicating that she was not being vindictive or judgmental.) Would you judge her as out-of-touch, holier-than-thou, prying? Or would you appreciate her willingness to climb into your world, where you live, and touch the heart of you…as you have all stated you desire? If that last question is the one that resonates with you, then tell me: how did that woman earn your trust so that you could hear her? What did building that relationship with her look like? Just wondering out loud. We need to know our boundaries, too.

    Thanks so much in advance! I have appreciated your comments on this blog and really do look forward to the collective wisdom, insight and creativity that is soon to come, I’m sure.

    1. Laurie – THIS is exactly how I’m feeling – I could have written this – I hope you get some answers, I will be looking forward to getting some tangible, “put it on the calendar” answers just as you. I’m not always sure women (including myself) even KNOW what they want – it is very easy to say I want meaningful, practical things – not fluff and doilies – but WHAT ARE THOSE “THINGS”. give us some ideas ladies.

  58. To Laurie,
    I saw your post (as an email update) and thought I would reply because I hear your heart in your questions to the women who have commented on this blog post and thought I might have some insight for you. So you know where I am coming from, my eldest of 4 is 7 so I am in the thick of the littles stage. :)
    Here is my advice to you: When I encounter women such as yourself I feel like they are being friendly because my attendance at their event is important to the success of the event but not because there is an authentic connection between us. Think of how many women you have invited to an official event compared to how many women you have invited to something that is just you doing it. Does that make sense? Whenever I get these invites I am always thinking, “She would love to see me at her (fill-in-the-blank-event) but she has never invited me to her house as if she really might be interested in a relationship with me.” In fact, I have been invited to events by women who have never been able to meet up with me when I have reached out to them and invited them to my home or to go do something together. But then they are all chummy smiles when they need to meet that minimum attendance requirement for the Ladies Retreat. I know it is easy to think that you are putting all these events on to connect other women with each other but I think you might be floundering in the role and/or struggling with how to go about doing what you feel your mission is because this role does not exist in the Bible. There is no Women’s Ministry in the Bible. I am not saying that makes it wrong or bad, but I think it explains why it doesn’t ring true to a lot of women. Somehow I think the Titus 2 ‘mentoring’ got changed to ‘eventering’ in modern day churches. It’s just not the same thing.
    Also, I find that many of the women who are in charge of this type of ministry are really getting their worth from the outward appearance of the success of their event. They are popular, people need to talk to them about stuff, they are on the ‘in’ of what is going on behind the scenes in church, they are often personal friends with the Pastor’s wife, etc. I wonder when I see them buzzing about if they would really serve if it didn’t involve so much attention. Nothing in your post made me think that you are like this. I am just referring to the people I have had experience with and the type of women who it sounds like many of the commentors have dealt with. I have also had many roles within this ministry and have met those who aren’t like this but honestly they usually find some other ministry fairly quickly.
    My advice: Prayerfully ask God who He would have you serve. Start pouring into whomever you feel Spirit led to mentor. Don’t make it official. It doesn’t go in the bulletin. Make it personal. Encourage other women to do the same just as God would give you the opportunity to encourage them to reach out. If you want to have big group events do so because you enjoy it and want to share it with others. Expect that some will think your ideas are lame. If your self worth is based on your proximity to Christ it won’t matter what other women think. I am sure God didn’t put you here to get other women to connect with each other but for you to connect with a few other women. It sounds like you have this idea you are supposed to be all things to all women. Now that is an impossible job! If you feel Spirit led to host a Bible Study, do it. If you feel Spirit led to start working at a Food Bank grab a friend or two (you know the ones you are unofficially mentoring) and go. God is so good at what He does and He never mentions Event Planner in His love letter to us so I am thinking it is a role that we can do if we enjoy it but we need to do what He asks of us first. I have had both positive and negative experiences with official women’s ministry so I too feel strongly both ways! :) I would love to see it be the God honoring, Christ centered, saint uplifting force I believe it was meant to be but I think it will take a major paradigm shift within the church. And I have this feeling that it won’t ever be listed in the Church Bulletin.

    1. Kimberly,
      I am so ‘with” Laurie, being in “women’s ministry” I feel strongly both ways! I do understand what you are saying, but to me – that leaves out so many women – There are probably several women in our church whom I would love to privately mentor, but that is just not possible – there aren’t enough older women to mentor all the younger women – on a personal basis. I feel that if I am let to one woman that another will be left “without” which is where I think Women’s Ministry comes in – it can reach every woman – I do also agree that lots of the fluff and pink and doilies as you all put it is just that….fluff, but I’m begging just as Laurie did, tell us what you want – what do we need to do what kind of things will get you to a place so that you can be mentored, so that you can get what you need – We hear all the things you DON’T want, tell us what you do want …and not in abstract terms, but in practical, actual, “programs” (I’m loathe to use the word program, but for lack of a better term I’ll go with it). Describe a perfect retreat or meeting or event that would enlighten you, make you feel your time had been well spent. I hear what you are saying and I think as leaders of women, we have heard it all time and again – what we have not heard is how to solve the problem, how to give you what you need.

      1. Hi Linda,

        I know I am a little late to the party, but maybe this can still be a blessing to either you or someone else who reads it in the future. I am a 30 something wife/mom who attends church each Sunday and is heavily involved in another ministry department. Yet I strongly dread “Women’s Ministry” events. I have to say that I largely agree with Kimberly. Even though it’s not the answer that fits the ministry model you were hoping for, *one on one relationship investment* goes a long way towards getting women to invest in the group at large (especially amongst millennials and Gen Z’ers who tend to shy away from/mistrust organized religion events). Since I’ve started attending my current church one year ago, I’ve poured myself into volunteering there and on campus multiple times per week. I’ve even been given a key role on Sundays. I’ve tried to be friendly and kind to many of the other women, but not once has anyone ever asked me to coffee or to hang out. Wow, that would mean so much to me! However, they kind of impersonally invite me to women’s events where these same women mostly hang out with their own core group of 2 or 3 longtime girlfriends…and I feel incredibly uncomfortable and out of place. I’m reminded of Jesus’ parable of the shepherd who left the 99 to go after the one. In a similar sense, when so many women feel disconnected from the flock, pursuing them as individuals is, although time consuming, an effective, Scripturally based model that can often yield results in the larger events.

        As far as types of events are concerned, less theme-y ‘do your hair and look cute’ girls nights, more prayer nights and service projects (i.e., going as a group to the homeless shelter, rehabs, etc.). There can be a Christian mental health forum with breakout groups. Also, sports and music aren’t exclusively ‘guy’ interests…rafting, ropes courses, self defense classes, softball, open mic night, etc. There is also a way to blend traditional and non traditional femininity (i.e., football party with chili cook off contest). There are ways to appeal to everyone, and maybe by allowing a more diverse range of women have creative input, a more diverse pool of women will eventually attend. Hope that helps.

  59. Wow – I can relate to so much in your entry. I’m very introverted and don’t like crowds. Often more confident in the company of men rather than women. Yet I have a strong need to connect with other women. So I am boldly, bravely (or insanely?) going out on a limb and trying to pull together a women’s retreat at our church. For many of the reasons you spoke of, I am shying away from the cookie cutter bible study format for the retreat. I am attempting to pull women together through vulnerability. Trying to get them to share their trials and difficulties as a pathway to connecting more with each other with empathy rather than judgment. We all need to know we are not alone on our journey through life. We all need to know that no one’s life is really as perfect as their Facebook page or their Instagram feed would lead you to believe. We all have tough times and can support and encourage each other rather than tear each other down. That is the reason I’m putting together this retreat. That is the community I’m going for. Not sure how it will turn out, but hopefully, if there is someone similar to you in the group, they will feel a positively about the women’s ministry that happens that day.

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  62. It’s 6 am and I’ve been up since 4 am struggling with a request from God to become more involved in our women’s ministry. You all know how those requests are….He won’t “order” you to go but His requests will eat at you until you do (unless it’s something you want to do and then there’s no “eating” about it). I really dislike women’s anything. I am a deep thinker and don’t rely on emotion to help with decision making or to prove that “I care.” Too many women don’t think…or perhaps they don’t know how, and that makes it hard to communicate with them, at least for me. So many of them just have knee-jerk responses to problems and that response is usually based in doubt and fear. To me fear is the opposite of faith so if we are all sitting around talking about how much faith we have in God, why are they so quick to react with fear when some problem comes up? I don’t get it. Sunday night I was asked to film at our monthly women’s event (I run the church vid-cam) and at the end everyone sang “I am not alone, I am not alone, you will go before me, you will never leave me, I am not alone….,” then our ministry leader got up and prayed “oh God please be with us and all of the ladies here…” If God lives within us, why do we need to ask Him to be with us? That’s like asking our unborn child if he would please go somewhere with us. Of course he would. How could he not? This is a total disconnect for me and frankly, the WHOLE thing seems like a disconnect. I am tired of the endless Priscilla Shirer bible studies which for me, offer nothing but milk and fluff with nothing to sink my teeth into. I’m tired of the trendy decorations, trendy guests, trendy worship songs, etc. I am 59 and I go to these women’s things to listen to women half my age talk about things I passed through 25 years ago. There are no older women mentoring younger women. It seems to be the other way around. Our women’s ministry is clearly centered around young women with children. Our leader is a PK/ex-cheerleader type. She is sweet, well meaning, and well organized, but she either cannot or will not relate to women who would rather be at the shooting range than the shopping mall. The next event she is planning for the women to go to is called “Pink” and when I heard that, I threw up in my mouth a little. The only speaker featured that I have ever gleaned anything from is a man….the only man speaking. I just don’t care to be that “church lady” and God won’t tell me why He wants me involved. I know He’s got some plan and I know it’s good, and I know I just have to trust Him but this is a difficult one for me. To me, it seems to be a tedious waste of time (I know it won’t be because God doesn’t waste time). I think I need prayer. I feel like the little boy who was told to sit down. He did but he said he was still “standing up inside.” I don’t want to get involved with what God would have me do and still be standing up inside….if you get my drift.

  63. Just took a personality test (Myers Briggs) and came out an INTJ (Google it). Apparently only 0.8% of women are categorized as this type, which explains my lack of connection with other women. As it relates to women’s ministry, it has been a total mismatch for me and I would really prefer more action/task-oriented missions. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone (because it can be lonely at times)!

    1. April, I’m an INTJ type as well. Your post made me feel less lonely. We are unique among women. God has given to us special gifts. Our calling is high and our responsibility is great to execute our God-given responsibility to represent him well. May we never forget that he is our omnipresent friend, always with us, leading and enabling us to accomplish his purpose for shaping us to become INTJ women.

  64. 1. Take your empty purses, fill them with travel size items, tracts and personal hygiene items that homeless women need. Drive in groups to hand them out or go to local shelters and pass them out.

    2. Show up at your local gay pride parade or event with a cooler full of ice and waters. Add a sign that says, “Jesus loves you!” and share them with smiles. Perhaps have tracts available if anyone has questions and you’re not sure what to say.

    3. Get a list together of local shelters, Christian and non Christian, for groups to volunteer their time during meals.

    4. Have a clothing exchange. Set up an area like a store with clean, gently worn clothes, shoes, jewelry, purses, scarves, hats, etc. that everyone brings in a few weeks beforehand. We even had a sorting table for what the women brought that night. Dressing room, kids play section, shopping bags, refreshments, prayer area and background music complete the event. Include children’s clothing if you like. Invite relatives, neighbors and friends.

    5. Do the same with books!

    Just a few ideas for women to get involved in. To really make the most of it, have everyone put their name in a container to make groups of 4. Meet new people. Share your testimony of how you came to Christ in 3 or 4 minutes during your ride around the neighborhood or to the shelter.

  65. Wow! I googled “problems with women’s ministry” and found you guys. I am soaking up all of your comments and your original post Nicole and my brain is creating new pathways and dendrites. I am a 55 y.o. woman who has struggled to find her place in the church. I felt like God was calling me to serve women in some capacity but not sure what that looked like. We joined a small church (200) in our area and after not being “allowed” on the women’s ministry leadership team at my previous church I felt a smaller, newer church would have a lot of room for volunteers. Most of the families at our new church are young with small children. At the time there were only two older, 50’s couples and that was me and my husband and one of the elders. I told our pastor over two years ago after joining that I felt the Lord was calling me to serve women so he suggested I join one of the women’s small group bible studies, which didn’t really satisfy my craving to serve women. Last year the women’s ministry leader stepped down and was replaced by a young former seminary student, who joined the church the same time we did and must’ve also had the calling to serve women.

    Ya’ll I have reached out to her twice to ask her to include me in the planning of women’s ministry but I get little to no response. I feel the same way many of you do about women’s ministry and that’s why I want to be involved so I can help to take ours into a new direction based on the women we serve. Wondering if this young leader sees me as being too old or perhaps feels threatened by me. She asked me to meet her for coffee once and I shared all of my ugly past with her and maybe she was shocked, I don’t know. Maybe because I’m divorced she felt I couldn’t serve women.

    I have finally given up trying and have placed it in God’s hands. He revealed to me that there are many ways to serve women and it shouldn’t be confined to the women in my church. There are ways I can serve the women at my church without being a part of “women’s ministry team”. So, that’s what I’ve been working on, including a new blog.

    So I’ve come to the conclusion, after being involved in many different churches over the years, that women’s ministry tends to take on the personality and flavor of the women who are leading it. If she is pink and pearly then everything involving women’s ministry will be pink and pearly. She will choose team members who resonate with her and match her personality and will cater to the needs of those women. We need ministry leaders (men included) who will think outside the box and try things that are outside of their own personal comfort zone. Ministry leaders need team members who don’t resonate with them and don’t share their personality. The team should include different ages and stages of life.

    I asked our new women’s ministry leader if she’d considered sending out a survey to the women of the church to obtain their thoughts about women’s ministry and what they would like to see or experience or what they don’t like. Once again, she did not respond. I think she was afraid of receiving negative comments about her own leadership.

    I keep hearing, “be the change you want to see” but there are certain things I cannot do in regards to women’s ministry at our church without going over her head which I don’t want to do. My husband and I are involved in a small group from our church and that’s where we are “doing life” together and nurturing those close relationships. This is where I will serve women. I am also reaching out to other women in our church that are not in my small group. Just chatting with them and praying for them and helping them feel special to me. This is where I start and we’ll see where God takes this.

  66. Just left one today. They are the worst. Whats the point. I would rather be around men or a mixed group. 100s of women in one room gives me the creeps…

  67. This has been life giving for me in my sleepless night of feeling unwanted and uninvited by ladies my church home and the guilt of not loving women’s ministry. Thank you for being brave to share this viewpoint (many years ago!)

  68. I see that this original post was ten years ago but I’m still going to reply. I grew up in a loving, but disfunctional , Christian home. We were poor but most people didn’t know because my mom dressed us well from things bought at Goodwill (when it was embarrassing to shop there). We went to a Baptist church but it was similar to a Lutheran church. I felt kindness from the older people there but anyone fifty and under, I felt a layer of fakeness. I couldn’t stand girls who would say they had more guy friends, but really, they didn’t, they just liked boys. I actually did feel more comfortable with guys, but tried hard to fit in with the superficial girls in youth group. I’ve always had faith in Christ and love Him, but besides having my sisters, have felt loneliness in the Christian world. I’ve done Christian women’s retreats and conferences. They always seem to be into crafts and making friends. I’m somewhat girly but I hate crafts and prefer doing something together rather than just talking alone. Where is the in-between? I was a bit of a tomboy growing up but also loved dolls. I think this is still true in my adult life. I love hanging out with women but I love the frankness and deeper talks with men. I love doing my makeup but love new technology. Makes me feel like a loner as a woman sometimes. So many churches have women’s tea party dinners, which are a good thing, but what about the rest of us?

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