Dare I say I was a tad bit giddy when this book released, if only because of the title. In a time when my own ministry purposes seemed to be up in the air, this book offered page after page of affirmations which added fuel to a fire I suspected was already burning.
There were many wonderful surprises in this book, from the chapter that touched on women’s pornography/sexual sin struggles, to the constant interjection of worldwide church culture which provided a glimpse into how God works through women’s ministry in a variety of political and social climates. The diversity of God’s people couldn’t have been more well-represented and glorified in this book, thanks in part to the editors for including voices and stories from leaders around the world. One of the most encouraging themes, however, was woven into the very fabric of each page—a love, adoration, respect and acknowledgment of God’s word being the very beating heart that keeps a women’s ministry alive.
If you are looking to move your women’s ministry beyond activity-centered fellowship and surface-level events, this book is a must-read. I would highly recommend this book for someone who is looking to revamp or launch a women’s ministry at their local church, or is a current co-laborer in leadership and would like to get comprehensive perspective on what women around the world are doing to keep Christ at the center and how God’s word is the key component in effecting a fruitful ministry strategy. Even respected theologian, professor and author D.A. Carson endorsed the book as offering “equal profit” for men, praising the book as the result of “biblical conviction and years of experience”.
There are ten different contributors in this compilation, each tackling a specific area or component of women’s ministry. Gloria Furman and Kathleen B. Nielson serve as contributors and editors, which makes for a thorough and cohesive presentation, even with the various women lending their voices to the discussion. The book spans 244 pages, and yet even with its length, I had a hard time putting it down (I’m sure due to the quality of writing, biblical clarity and sheer interest of the stories being shared). I love the review by Megan Hill that reads, “This book casts a vision for what can and ought to happen when the Bible takes its rightful place at the center of women’s ministry.”
A few of my favorite quotes:
“If we are thinking about Word-based ministry, we are thinking about ministry that opens up for people the big story of the Scriptures with Jesus at the center, so that they can understand the stories of their own lives as centered in the story and the glory of Jesus.” (pg. 32)
“It’s a mark of the Lord’s kindness that we have faithful men and women who are able to teach us the Bible today—but they are not innovators. They need to pass on what they have been taught by other faithful teachers, who in turn will have passed on what they were taught by others.” (pg. 66)
“When our most important communities become something other than the church body in which the Lord has placed us, we miss out on the joy that comes from actually living in fellowship with the very people whom the Lord has gifted us to serve. (pg. 96)
“Good women’s ministries—wherever they are—aim to bring a message that breaks through the chaotic noise pollution of the day.” (pg. 136)
“The gospel is the main point, not anyone’s point of view. And when the gospel is at the center of the church, hearts are awakened to the only truth that sets mankind free.” (pg. 144)
“If we women are teaching each other just practical tips or even just the Bible’s teaching on womanhood, then we’re missing the deep truths out of which those life lessons flow; we must teach the whole Bible as the foundation of it all.” (pg. 205)
“If we want to see the gospel continue to go forth through the ministry of women (as Paul and Peter did), then women need not only to be trained theologically but also to be trained in the process of training other women.” (pg. 219)
Bottom line—this book is a testament to the enduring faithfulness and power of God’s word to men and women of the church alike. I am certain I will continue to reference this book as I consider God’s will for my own particular service to the local church, and would strongly encourage other women to do the same.