Thursday, October 01, 2009

    Rethinking Youth Contest: Women in Youth Ministry

    Time again for us to pass on some free youth ministry resources to our readers. This month the give-away is a brand new text from Youth Specialties entitled Evangelism Remixed: Empowering Students for Courageous and Contagious Faith by Dave Rahn and Terry Linhart. This book would especially appeal to those whose ministries focus on equipping teens to share their faith with their peers. We'll also toss in a copy of Low Cost No Cost Ideas for Youth Ministry -- a now out-of-print but great resource for those watching the pennies in their youth budget!

    How do you enter the drawing for these freebies? I'm interested in doing some upcoming posts on women in youth ministry. In my years in ministry, the best pastors and youth workers I've ever served with have all been women. Ironic, as most of Christendom still refuses to acknowledge women as equal partners with men in ministry (particularly when it comes to "called" or ordained ministry -- though the tide is slowly turning on this issue).

    So, I figure it's about time that Rethinking Youth Ministry celebrates our female colleagues. Know of a good blog written by a woman youth minister? Have a story to tell about a great female youth worker? Are you a woman in youth ministry yourself who wants to share about your experience in the trenches of youth work? Know of resources especially aimed at women in youth ministry? If you are willing to share any of the above with our readers, email us with your story or resource. Each entry/resource/story provides you with a chance in the drawing for this month's freebie. Contest ends midnight October 7.

    -- Brian


    Sarah Brush said...


    you should definitely check out the Sophia Network here in the UK:

    many links to women in ministry!

    Brian said...

    Update from Brian: A reader emailed me to ask if we aren't encouraging a view of women serving ministry as an anomaly, as her experience has been to work with many fellow women in ministry. Though I thankfully acknowledge that the tide is turning in the ratio of men to women, we have a long long way to go. Here was my response to our reader:

    "Even while I was writing the blog post, I was concerned that it might be seen as patronizing which is certainly not my intent.

    I serve in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where we ordain women all the time...though the truth of the matter is that it is far more difficult for women in our denomination to find youth minister or senior pastor positions than it is for men. The same is true for most if not all of the other few mainline denominations that ordain women. Add to that the fact that 1) the vast majority of protestant denominations and movements do not recognize women as being able to take any sort of recognized authority position within the Church and 2) the largest group of Christians in the world, the Roman Catholic Church, does not ordain women and you end up with most of Christendom treating women as second-class citizens when it comes to ministry.

    So, my hope is not to treat women in ministry as an anomaly but rather to draw attention to that fact that women are serving the church, in both lay and ordained capacities, and to particularly celebrate their work with our youth."

    Anyone else a thought on this?

    Ish Engle said...

    My experience with women ministers has varied greatly. I've met none who were "middle of the road" in their calling. They are either among the best, and a pride for our faith, or among the worst and do damage to the idea of women in ministry.

    I add that comment because I've noted one continuous theme that is a strong indicator as to which group the pastor will fall into. If she is passionate about God and serving Christ, she will be wonderful. If she is passionate about proving women can be good ministers, she will be terrible.

    I guess I'm adding this because I'm tired of hearing this or that group celebrated. Why do we focus so much on that which makes us different? Why not focus on our Lord and Savior?

    I, too, am a DOC Youth Pastor, and I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that we've celebrated diversity enough to make it a dividing point instead of a unifying one.

    I may be wrong, its happened many times before, but I'm thinking when we all focus on God (whether we're men, women, black, white or whatever) and not on the fact that we're men, women, black, white or whatever, we do better at exemplifying Jesus commandment that we love one another as He loved us.

    Jay Miklovic said...

    I tend to agree with Ish. I serve with a wonderful ordained female children's minister, and my wife serves in a paid nearly full time ministry position with children as well. Our minister of congregational care is also a woman, as well as our adult discipleship coordinator. None of these women seem out to prove that women can do it. Moreover they never seem to get wrapped up in egalitarian issues, in fact some of them are fairly old school and would be pretty annoying to egalitarians.

    When questioned about their authority to minister they may point out a few passages and encourage the questioner to really examine the scriptures, but they do not get all offended or feel the need to justify themselves.

    Brian, this is a good post, and the intentions are good, at the same time celebrating any people group men, women, ethnic, color, etc... ultimately has the opposite effect of what the original intentions were. It compartmentalizes society, and we should not do that.

    I was told once that racism doesn't go away until we realize we are all of one race, human. I think that may apply here as well.

    Roy said...

    Sarah beat me to it!!

    Brian said...

    Interesting. The email responses I'm getting from women are almost exactly the opposite take on this as the responses I'm getting from men. Hmmmm....

    Brian said...

    Check it out: A "Life in Student Ministry" pocast on Women in Youth Ministry:

    Jay Miklovic said...

    "Interesting. The email responses I'm getting from women are almost exactly the opposite take on this as the responses I'm getting from men. Hmmmm...."

    what did you actually expect that somehow we men have finally come to understand women and what they want... not yet! LOL.

    I guess we keep trying. Again I reiterate, you are doing great work here.

    Kelly said...

    I realize I'm a little late in contributing. Nevertheless, here's a unique female perspective - from my associate in students ministries. Hope you can sense some of the humor and still truth in her post.

    On a side note, can you add the option of "Name/URL" to the current options of "Google Account" and "OpenID"?

    stephie said...

    I think this is a great question. Anytime the Body of Christ can openly share concerns, questions, and scenerios to strengthen the Body, I say " Go, God , Go". I have been a female youth leader for 5 years and have found it very difficult to be considered for interim positions that have come open in our youth ministry. Some of this is due to denomination, weak leadership, and jealous parents. Their are a vast area of hurdles women must jump that men do not. I have had several of my male students tell me they would totally prefer a male and I understand that. When it is all said and done: it is about the kids....who would minster to them? Perfect case scenerio would be to have a team.... a man and a woman who could work shoulder to shoulder for the common good of the youth ministry:)) Women definitely have a huge role to play in youth ministry, but I have seen few who are willing to go the extra mile it takes:)))