I think this post has been processing in my brain for the last three years, and was just waiting to bust out. What is it like to be a woman youth minister?
Well, let me tell you :)
Although I’ve only been the head of a youth group for four months now, I can definitely see the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in a leading role of the church. I am very lucky to have a church that completely supports me as a woman in ministry, and also realizes that for the type of youth group they have, a woman leader seems to fit really well.
What are the advantages I have on men? Well, we’re gonna get pretty cliche and stereotypical here. Women are more emotional, and men are more physical. Thus, women are more relational and want to dig into students’ lives more emotionally. Women can sense when people are hurting almost instantly. Men are more physical and active, so they are more able to relate using sports and other physical activities. Once again, these are stereotypes, but most will find this to be true. I certainly think this is true for me, and that is why my ministry is so relational and discipleship-centered instead of physical team-building and recreational-centered. I found that where I have voids, I am extremely lucky to have men volunteering to fill them. I also feel that as a leader I am more organized than most men, and I also feel like I build relationships with the parents easier than I see some guys. I am not saying that it is better to have a woman minister, by any means. I can get emotional, I let little things bother me at times, and I have a hard time relating to sports (which is big for most teenage boys).
I think that the differences between men and women prove to me that it takes a man and a woman to run youth ministry. I also think it can be harder for a woman to gain respect in ministry, especially (and ironically) from her peer youth ministers. It seems to be that the most flack I get for being a woman in ministry isn’t from parents, my pastor, or youth; but from males who are in ministry. I hope to prove to my peers my passion for ministry and gain their respect.