Women in Ministry Series: From Woman in Ministry to Woman Who Ministers

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We’re welcoming Jamie Wright as this week’s guest blogger in the Women in Ministry Series. You probably know about her incredible blog Jamie the Very Worst Missionary

I’m just gonna come out and say this: I never, ever, in a million years, wanted to be a “woman in ministry”. Never. And I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would actually be one.

I grew up far from any church influence, so the very narrow example I had seen of women in ministry came mostly from television, where they were often portrayed in the form of nosy, judgmental, gossip-loving Bible-thumpers. As a teen, when I finally crossed paths with some real live women in ministry, I found them to be…well…nosy, judgmental, gossip-loving, Bible-thumpers. (“You know who’s going to burn in Hell? You, honey.” That’s how a youth pastor’s wife so gingerly shared the Gospel of Jesus with my 15 year-old self.)

Many years later, when my husband and I began the process of moving our family into full-time ministry, I wasn’t exactly aching for a chance to join the ranks of Pastor’s wives and Missionaries – at least not the ones I’d been exposed to, with their Bible tracts and sensible shoes, and their strong, loud opinions about who is going to burn in Hell.

The truth is, the women who ministered to my own wanting soul weren’t “women in ministry” at all. They were good neighbors and generous friends. They were soccer-Moms who took my babies off my hands for a few hours at a time, when I most needed help. They were steaming coffee dates where no subject was off limits, where laughter flowed freely and tears of anguish were met with tears of empathy. They were gentle spirits who whispered the Love of a Savior into my life, slowly and sweetly, because they understood that, through friendship, Grace abounds. It just does.

Those women didn’t work in churches. They had government jobs, they were part-time consultants, some were homemakers, one was a personal trainer, another ran a daycare. They taught me that there’s a really big difference between “women in ministry” and “women who minister”. And they showed me that a woman’s ability to deeply impact the world around her, her value in ministry, isn’t limited by her job title (or her husband’s).

That means that Missionary or not, I am a woman who is called to minister. Pastor’s wife or not, you are a woman called to minister. Sunday school teacher or not, your wife/sister/daughter/friend is called to minister.

Our neighbors and co-workers are counting on us to use our God-given gifts and abilities to bring Hope to this broken world. Our families and our friends are depending on us, with our uniquely feminine voices, to speak into their lives with wisdom and authority. And the God who created us, in all our girly glory, has released us to feed the hungry, care for the sick, love the unlovely, and guide the lost.

He has invited each and every one of us into ministry. Even the chick who never, ever, in a million years, wanted to be a “woman in ministry”.

About Today’s Blogger

Jamie writes from her home in Costa Rica, where she lives with her husband and three sons. She is best known for candid conversations about life and faith on her blog, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary.

 

If You Appreciate Jamie, Read This

I (Ed, the owner of this blog) couldn’t invite Jamie to contribute to this series without thinking of some concrete ways to support her and her husband Steve in their ministry. Jamie had no idea I was going to do this, but I’ve been plotting  a special ask of this series’ readers. Here it is:

  1. Steve and Jamie are trying to figure out their next step in ministry. Will you commit to praying with them?
  2. Whether they stay in Costa Rica or move someplace else, Jamie and Steve are going to need some serious bucks. They have poured themselves out in ministry to others, and I would like you to prayerfully consider donating toward their ministry. In particular, can you give at least $10? They have some major expenses coming up that we can help them meet so that they can focus on their ministry and family. Go here to donate: Donate at PayPal Now.

 

About the Women in Ministry Series

The Women in Ministry Series is a collection of guest posts that aims to:

  • Provide an alternative to the women in ministry debates by telling the stories of women in ministry.
  • Encourage women to explore their God-given callings.

You can stay updated on the latest post each week by signing up for the weekly e-mail list. (You also get a free E-book if you sign up in January)

Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome to leave a comment. However, this series takes for granted that women are called by God into every facet of ministry. This is not the place to debate that point and such comments will be removed. Women have been told “no” in far too many places. This is one place that is committed to saying “yes.” For more about the comment policy, read here.

Next Week’s Blogger: Alise Wright

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34 thoughts on “Women in Ministry Series: From Woman in Ministry to Woman Who Ministers

  1. Alise

    Beautiful, as always. And so important to remember – we have opportunities to minister every day, regardless of whether we are “in ministry” or not.

    Much love to you!

  2. Jennifer

    The two women who helped me know Jesus the most, as a young girl growing up in the church, were two of my mom’s friends. They never read the Bible at me, they never laid their hands on me to save me from the fires of hell. They whispers kind words when I needed them, they let me act like a teenager without become shrill, they listened to me as if I actually had something important to say, and they took my shopping to buy clothes for my grandfather’s funeral so my mother could “minister” to her mother.

    I have too many other lovely thoughts so I’ll just say YES! Thank God for those women who came into your path, Jamie.

    1. ed Post author

      Thanks Jen! Part of my motivation for this series came from my own struggles to figure out my own ministry calling. I can’t imagine how hard it would be if I was surrounded by people who called into question whether I had a ministry calling or the extent to which God could use me.

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  4. Lisa notes

    This is affirming of all women who minister, but wouldn’t consider themselves “in ministry.”

    I’m trying to think of examples I saw of official “women in ministry” growing up…um, none really. And I grew up in church. Only on TV did I see women in those roles.

    But I did see lots of unofficial “women who ministered” as Bible class teachers and VBS cooks and visitors to the sick, etc. Title or no title, their ministries were equally as important.

    A beautiful post, Jamie!

  5. Bekka

    I love this. It’s a further reminder to me that I need to keep reaching out with the intent of ministering to others.

    I have been and still will be praying for you guys as you transition into whatever your next stage is. I know that it will be fantastic, probably challenging as ever, and you’ll be perfect for the role.

    Much love and blessings!

  6. Ellie Ann

    Cool! I’ve been loved on by lots of Ladies who looks like Christ, and some that don’t look like Christ but are in positions of leadership in the Church have also had their say in my life. I’ve learned about how to be more like Jesus through both of them.

  7. kara

    Have missed your wonderful voice. Laughed out loud at the “You know who’s going to hell? You” comment. Experienced something similar in my own life. But it provides an example of what not to do and, hopefully, strengthens our spirit of compassion.

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  9. Deb.

    Beautifully put!

    I recently met a retired pastor’s wife who had trained as a nurse, but left her ‘career’ early on, because it wasn’t ‘ministry’ . . . her husband, she told me, had the gift of evangelism, but she did not . . . so she was not able to fully participate in ministry. My heart broke for her. I took her hands and said ‘THESE! These are YOUR gift of evangelism. Your husband’s is with his mouth, but YOUR’S is with your hands!’

    I’m so thankful that our generation (and the next) of women of the Church are being raised differently!

    1. Deb.

      Um . . . so I was just reading your post to a friend and realized that I wrote ‘beautiFULLY put’ . . . is it too late to claim I was doped up on cold medicine??

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  11. Naomi

    hurrah! lovely! I think I enjoyed this bit the most:

    “That means that Missionary or not, I am a woman who is called to minister. Pastor’s wife or not, you are a woman called to minister. Sunday school teacher or not, your wife/sister/daughter/friend is called to minister”

    . . . because it’s really about identity, don’t you think? as a child and lover of Jesus, I *must* minister; I *am* the aroma of Christ! I think that maybe in the evangelical world today, we do this strange thing where we identify ministry as following Jesus in a formalized program instead of being fundamentally shaped and driven by a love for God, the church and the world – all the time. (um, but that’s what you just wrote so nicely, huh? . . . so maybe I’m not adding anything new – just affirming you) . . . thanks for this post!

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  13. Jeanne

    What has been said here (and in the comments) bears repeating. I know I have heard similar words in sermons, small groups, etc. But until one gets to a place, they are just words. I think I am approaching that place! Not there yet, but maybe soon! Thank you to everyone who is taking the lead and leading those like me: Not brought up in the church, but coming to it “relatively” later in life. I need led just as a 15 year old. So if my age starts when I was born again, I am only 11!

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  15. Janis McArthur

    Thanks Jamie. Women who minister serve others in so many ways without the title of being a pastor or missionary. I have met some extraordinary woman in my life who have influenced me greatly to love our God and to serve others. Because of their influence in my life, I am now serving overseas as a teacher teaching English to University students. The influence I have is great and these students have the privilege to hear about the One who loves them so much that He was willing to die for them. What a great way to minister to others.

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