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Theology Thursday: Word-Filled Women’s Ministry

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Posted by Caroline Herbert, 21 Jul 2016

How do we move on from the caricature of women's ministry being about cupcakes and colour-me-beautiful? Caroline Herbert points us to a very helpful new book...

It is always a joy to read a book which practises what it preaches. This book opens with the statement: “Profitable ministry among women is grounded in God’s Word, grows in the context of God’s people, and aims for the glory of Christ.”

What follows is a collection of chapters by authors from different countries, ranging from unpacking what the Bible says to discussions of specific issues in women’s ministry. But rather than just telling us that ministry should be grounded in the Bible for the glory of Christ, the authors demonstrate it: this conviction is reflected in what they write, so the disparate chapters are united by this glorious thread which weaves through the whole book

This is much more than a simple “how-to” guide to setting up women’s ministry: it goes back to the root of why we should do women’s ministry and turns first to the Bible for the “how.” There are, however, many examples given of women’s ministry in the local church, as well as the encouragement to think about what is appropriate in your particular culture.

Overall, the chapters offer a positive and inspiring vision of this ministry. It is worth noting, however, that some may struggle with chapter 2. While this is a necessary chapter to include, as it sets out clearly the complementarian view that underlies the book, I fear that it might put some people off from reading further—and that would be a real shame, because most of the book is relevant to all churches, whatever position they hold on the role of women in leadership

This, therefore, is an excellent book for those thinking about setting up or developing women’s ministry in their local church. Even without the scope to develop a full ministry programme, there is plenty in here to help women who want to do something lower-key and informal, especially the chapter on Titus 2 discipleship between older and younger women.

For those already involved in women’s ministry—as well as men with overall responsibility for such ministry—this book will be both an encouragement and a challenge to review what is happening through a biblical lens.

Herbert, caroline. Review of Gloria Furman & Kathleen Nielson (eds.), Word–Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015). Churchman 130/2 (2016): 191–2.

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Caroline Herbert is a member of Cromer Parish Church and on General Synod.

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