The First Time

girls ministry, women, youth ministry

Last night I taught at a friend’s church. Something happened that I will never forget.

No, my teaching wasn’t amazing. I was sick, had a crazy busy week, and didn’t bring my A game.

After I taught, I talked to a few of the high school girls. They admitted to me that it was the first time they had heard a woman preach/teach in a room of not just girls.

My first reaction was: What. Whoa.

My second reaction was: This is special. I remember my first time hearing a woman preach. I will never forget it. I even mentioned that to a few of the girls, who told me they’d never forget this either. One of them even said that she was feeling the call to ministry, but had never heard a woman preach or met a woman youth minister.

My third (and the most lingering) reaction was: How crazy that just three years ago, I still was in the same boat. I had never heard a woman preach before, but I was teaching my small youth group out of pure faith that this was something that God had called me to do.

So humbling.

So exciting.

Needless to say, I gave that girl my contact information and encouraged her.  I get emails pretty often from young girls who are struggling with their call, but have no example and somehow find me from doing Google searches on the topic.  One of my greatest joys is being there as a support for these girls. I hope I never forget where I came from and how God has molded my heart, because now I’m excited that I get to begin molding others.

What do you do when you get hit on by another minister?

Contributions, women, youth ministry

I had the privilege of guest-posting over on WomenInYouthMinistry.Com! I love this blog and think that it is a great resource for women in youth ministry, especially those who are married with children.

Gina asked me to write a post on saying “no” when a single male minister hits on a single lady minister.  What do you do?  Well, I’ve a teeny bit of experience, but it was quite fun to write!  Here ya go!

http://www.womeninyouthministry.com/2013/07/what-to-do-when-single-guy-ministers.html

Do You Believe in Soulmates?

girls ministry, women, youth ministry

In May, I posted this post that explains a little bit of what I have been wrestling with, in regards to how we talk to our teenagers about sex, specifically teenage girls. We have played the shame game for long enough, and I want to redirect youth ministry to a more loving and honest approach to the “sex talk.”

One of my friends that I grew up with posted on my personal Facebook page this article: My Husband Is Not My Soul Mate

This article is one I have read before and orates really well the myth behind having a “soul mate.” Too often we tell our teenage girls to just “Wait for God to put that perfect man in your life” (which I already ranted about) or to “Pray for your future soulmate.”

We say these things with good intentions, and I think there are good principles here; but what are we implying?

  • That they WILL get married. Not necessarily true
  • That there is ONE person out there for them. What a tiring search!
  • That their self-worth is found in a man. Absolutely not.

So what are a a few ways things we can do?

If it happens, it happens.

I think that teaching our teenagers (especially girls) that relationships are beautiful and that if they happen, they happen, that’s wonderful. But not necessarily promised.

First Love isn’t the Only Love

I think we need to teach them that the first person they date is not the one; in fact, there are many potential possibilities of the one! There have been men in my life who I honestly could have lived a good, long life with. But that doesn’t mean they are my “soul mate.” And:

There are other fish in the sea.

If you pass up a “good opportunity” in pursuit of something (or someone) else, that opportunity is not lost forever. Of course, popular music and movies would teach you different.  Like I said, I have passed up some opportunities because:

God may still be preparing you. 

I think it’s funny that we pray, “And God, I pray for my future husband that you are preparing for me.  One day I realized: Maybe it’s me God is preparing for him. Why do we assume it’s the other person who God is working on?  It’s pretty audacious for me to think that I’m the one waiting, when in reality there may be a guy who God has in mind to run into my path soon, but I’m the one who’s not prepared.  Just. Saying.

Re-define “the perfect mate.”

Bust the bubbles of reality. I used to make lists of what my future husband should be like. I wish I could find the Bible Journal from middle (even high) school that had a points system, including:

  • If he loves Jesus +25 points.
  • Attends church every Sunday +25
  • Nice face +10 points.
  • Nice body +10 points.
  • Abs +10 points
  • Taller than me +15
  • Has a sense of humor +15 points.
  • Plays guitar +10 points.
  • Thinks my parents are stupid too +10 points.
  • Smokes -50 points
  • Does drugs -100 points
  • Must have 90 points in order to date me.

I’m not even kidding.

But as I get older— do I really care that he’s not the best at writing with perfect grammar? Okay, let’s skip that one. But does he HAVE to be over six feet tall? I’m pretty short as it is. Why do I care about things that don’t honestly matter?  What do perfect abs have to do with anything; we’re all gonna get fat when we get old anyway.

All I’m sayin’ is:

Let’s be realistic and honest with our teenagers. Let’s not shame them into thinking that they HAVE to date or have relationships with the opposite sex in one, concrete way. Live life with them, let them experience what marriage is like by having married couples invest in them, and let them see that singleness is not for ugly people and creepers who are miserable.

If this stuff isn’t true, then I am one sad, miserable, 23 year old and I should invest in some cats, liposuction, and therapy.

5 Reasons Your Ministry Needs Women Leaders @youth_min

Contributions, leadership, women, youth ministry, youthmin.org

Youth Ministry girl leaders

This post originally appeared here: http://www.youthmin.org/5-reasons-your-ministry-needs-women-leaders/

Your youth ministry needs women leaders.  Before we start arguing the theology of women in ministry, I want you to hear me out:  The purpose of this post is not to advocate for ordained women, or women pastors, or to argue the Pauline view of women.

The purpose of this post is to convince you why you need more women in roles of discipleship, worship, and (yes) teaching.  We need to have a spread of leaders who represent the spread of the audience in gender, color, and background.  So if your youth group is 60% female and 40% male, you should have about that amount of male/female leaders.  I empathize that it may never be perfectly that way, but you should strive for that representation.

Girls need women leaders.

Seems like a no-brainer, yes?  Young girls need to have examples of women who are leading. If we are teaching our young ladies that they need to advance the gospel, then we need to have examples of women who are actively advancing the gospel in their lives personally.  Additionally, girls desperately need to hear from a variety of women.  Girls need to see a picture of themselves in these roles so that they can do it, too.

Boys need women leaders.

For so long, we’ve been doing ministry so that boys can only lead boys, and girls can only lead girls.  However, there are wonderful things that boys need from both men and women, just as girls need both in their development.  When I began my first youth ministry position, a mother came to me and told me that her son was going to be my toughest case, because he doesn’t respect women, and that included his mother.  I remember that first night of youth group–this eighth grader challenged me with every “tough question” he could muster on women, homosexuality, and president Obama.  When I left two years later, that same mother said to me that her son not only respected women, but valued their leadership in his life.  He became more sensitive, more respectful, and even more affectionate towards his own mother.  Boys need men to mentor them, yes; yet having women as leaders will lead them to holding greater value of women.

Male leaders need women leaders.

Men and women compliment each other.  You have a variety of leaders who are more playful, some more disciplinary, some more empathetic, some more protective, some more approachable, and others more on a pedestal; not to mention the variety of skills: building sets, making snacks, teaching, discipling, etc.  Put people in their sweet spots, and play off their strengths. I serve in a ministry where the co-directors are an unrelated male and female, and it’s beautiful watching how the strengths play off of each other, and where one is weak another fills in strong.  Think about it: why does God give children both a mother and a father?  Both are beautiful and have roles that are necessary in leadership.

Women leaders need women leaders.

I will be the first to admit that I need support.  I need examples of strong women in ministry so that I can do ministry, and I definitely see the effects as I begin mentoring women in ministry.  We need discipleship and community, especially as a part of our female identity.  Personally, it can be difficult as a female in a male-dominated profession, and I crave interaction with other ladies.  So ladies, step it up! And… let’s be friends.

God needs women leaders.

God uses women for multiple tasks in the Bible, and in Acts it is said that God will use both sons and daughters to prophesy in his name.  God uses some of the most random people to accomplish His tasks, so never discredit a potential leader based on their gender, age, race, or background.  From Abel to Moses to Deborah to David to Esther to John the Baptizer to Jesus to the Woman at the Well to Paul… (anyone else out of breath?)… God has a knack of loving and using people who just don’t fit the standard mold.