Women in Ministry: Choosing Gospel over the Latest Trend

A couple of years ago, I took it upon myself to inspire other women in leadership roles within the church. As I look back to that time, there is so much I wish I would have known and come to terms with but every opportunity is a learning opportunity. It is a chance for God to correct, to teach and guide us on His path. I don’t regret my years in leadership. And I am revisiting this blog series with some fresh perspective and Biblical insight. Some of it you may not agree with but, I hope as we dive into scripture, you will be awakened to what I have learned this past year.

For as long as I can remember, leading and taking control has come easily for me. Some of my need for control has come from an unhealthy place but that is for another post. So, it has made sense that, over the years, I have held roles of leadership. From youth group president to school project leader to small group leader to ministry leader. If the role wasn’t assigned to me, I eventually slid into the role naturally. In my younger years, being in a leadership role came from that unhealthy place of needing control. I didn’t trust others to make the right decisions and I didn’t like the unknown. Again, details behind that will be saved for another day but, I find it important to make the distinction between leading in my younger years and leading in my later years to now.

My history of leading and realizing it could be a gift led me to be in a leadership role at a church I attended for many years. It was an exciting season as I was learning how faithful God is and how I can trust in His plan, His wiring of me, and His guidance. One phrase I repeated over and over was “God doesn’t call the qualified, He equips the called.” I came into the role of leading not because I had an education to go with it or a degree in theology but because it was clear that the Lord opened the door to serve in that capacity. Leading came naturally and it was exciting to be supported and encouraged to lead.

For about five years, I served as the Women’s Ministry Director at a church I once attended and while that may not seem like enough years of experience to shower you with wisdom, it was enough to be able to share what I’m about to.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.

Psalm 115:1 ESV

Only One God Deserves Praise.

As stated earlier, a mantra I embraced while being a ministry leader was “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called”. In Exodus 4, we get to see this demonstrated in the conversation between Moses and God. Moses expresses his concerns and hesitation in giving the signs God is instructing him to do. Throughout the dialogue, God makes it clear to Moses that He will equip him, He will do the tasks for him and He will send help (Aaron).

God does the same for us. So, I began my role as the women’s ministry leader with this thought in mind. Because I certainly did not have the education or experience to be in this role. Had it been a paid position for which I needed to interview, I highly doubt I would have gotten in. Instead, it is an open door and a very God-timed situation. When I began leading, I had these grand visions of what the ministry could look like. Taking into consideration the conferences and Bible Studies I had attended at other churches, I had ideas and vision!

Over the five years, there were some amazing highs and some frustrating lows. It was amazing to see women embrace their faith and step out of a place of comfort and into a place of courage. I was constantly in awe of how God would put me in situations that I had never been before; situations that scared me but I knew, deep down, that God gave me a “helper” – the Holy Spirit, to do what He was calling me to do.

The lows were no fun! Are they ever? But, they are learning gold mines. The lows can be rich opportunities for the Lord to humble us and remind us Who is in charge and Who is in control. From relational drama to hardly anyone showing up to something I had prepared so hard for to women not connecting in a way I had dreamed about – the lows were very real. Leading a ministry can be a very lonely place too. As an extrovert, this was an extremely challenging component in that, oftentimes, I wondered if others assumed I was fine and was busy with my friends. In reality, I spent many nights alone or uninvited to gatherings and the like. Thankfully, I did have some wonderful close friends who were also leading ministries or in unique positions within the church that had them feeling similar things. It was life-giving to be able to relate to one another in our roles.

The real challenge came when March 2020 came around and everything shut down. Our church chose to remain closed and so we had to conduct any type of gathering online. This just doesn’t do it for me, at all, and I will save that for another post as well. I will pause for a moment and say that yes, I do believe the illness is real and everyone was uncertain and trying to make the best decisions that they knew to make. Everyone was scrambling and trying to be creative with ways to keep people connected. It was no different with women’s ministry. I don’t blame anyone for easily becoming disconnected. It’s so easy to do when there is no personal connection happening and I found it very easy to disengage as well.

My time leading women’s ministry ended in August 2020. One could blame the shutdown but, if I am going to be honest, the shutdown just provided the opportunity to make a decision that I knew had been coming for quite some time already. It was easy to avoid with all the distractions but, when you can’t go anywhere or do what you usually do, the distractions are gone and you are forced to face what God has been patiently waiting for you to reckon with. I had felt the burnout creeping in and I thought it was just God pulling me away from ministry because of His plan for me to return to school. That was a component but, after over a year out of the ministry, I have gained so much more clarity.

I shared earlier that when I began leading the ministry, I came with ideas and visions based on other conferences and studies I attended at other churches. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does become one when you get caught up in the fads and “cool” ways of doing things. The further away I have gotten from vocational ministry, the more I am seeing the big picture of what was happening. Instead of tapping into what God was wanting, and instead of getting into His word, I was more concerned with what the latest cool thing was for ministry. What were other churches doing? How were they decorating for events? What was “on trend”? I wanted to be current and relevant. There is a difference between mimicking and wanting to be like other ministries and using what other ministries do as a learning opportunity. Because it is Biblical to learn, to be mentored, to seek wise counsel, etc.

One of my mantras throughout leading was “we’ve got to move from a place of comfort to a place of courage!” Again, not a bad thing – at all. But what was I really after with that phrase? Yes, my prayer was for women to be engaged and not let fear hinder them from doing whatever God was leading them to do. But there was something else that I was fighting and it was the answer to these questions – “Where are all my women at like the other ministries and churches seem to have? Why don’t I have women running to serve with me or be engaged the way that I would like them to be?”

I was dancing in some dangerous waters here. Was I practicing what I so often preached? Who am I serving here and who am I aiming to please? It wasn’t God. My ministry measurement stick was comparing my ministry with other ones in the area, and beyond. As I read through these sentences, I’m not seeing God’s name very much. Most of the direction is towards me. And boy did He remind me so well Who deserves the glory, honor, and praise. It’s not Melissa.

The sad part of all this is that nobody knew I was struggling. My pride took over and, if you ask anyone, I’m sure they would not have had a clue this was a battle. While that battle was going on there was another one deep within me that I knew had to be between myself and the Lord. It took a ton of humility and repentance on my part and a whole lotta grace on His part. Through the breaking down of my pride, the Lord revealed it was time to let it go. Man, I’m so thankful for a God who is gracious and merciful to His children.

I could sit here and list a million regrets from all those years of leading a ministry. There was confession time with the Lord but I know that there were also some very sweet, amazing Holy Spirit-led moments. Women grew in their faith, relationships were formed, discipleship and community happened and women embraced courage over comfort and fear. That was all the Lord’s doing because this imperfect, prideful human woman couldn’t have done all that on her own.

Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens;
He does all that He pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.

Psalm 115:2-4 ESV

May all that I do be pleasing to the Lord.

Silver and gold are beautiful. But, as the Psalm goes on to say, these idols have all the body parts but not the functions of the God-created body parts. And when one becomes infatuated with the idols, they become like them. The event decorations, trendy music, and special effects, the latest worship or activity fad can be attractive. But if it is not honoring God, it might as well be dust.

I want to be more like Jesus.

Forget the fads and trendy activities.

Let’s focus on the Bible. Every single word of it and study it. Hunger for it. And not waver from the truth within it. We’ve been gifted with the Living Word of God and it is the only manual, inspiration, and directive we should be receiving from. I love the church I call home now. Every Sunday I sit with my Bible wide open and every Sunday I notice my hunger to learn and read becomes more intense. As I read, the more my focus is directed towards my Heavenly Father and away from myself. He is sovereign. I am not. It’s not to myself but to Him be all the glory and honor and praise forever and ever.


So, does this mean there shouldn’t be a women’s ministry with cute décor and fun activities? Absolutely not. But, instead of going to Pinterest and social media to gain ideas and see what the latest trends are, let’s go to the Bible for inspiration and dive deep into those holy, ancient words that are so very relevant and important for today.

Is God Enough?

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV

Have you ever strolled through the self help section of a bookstore? There are all kinds of books that claim to assist you with answering the question, “am I enough?” I browsed a popular bookstores website and typed “I am enough” into the search bar just to see what would pop up. A total of about 200 books came up that ranged in wanting to provide advice for single people to helping someone overcome the feeling of inadequacy. I started to count the number of books that had some version of You Are Enough as the title and lost track. Sprinkled into the mix were two or three books that eluded to God being enough. That was encouraging but… only two or three???

So, why so many books on this topic? What is it about the need to validate oneself as being enough? Why is there a yearning to hear these three words and where did it all begin?

I did a quick survey online and learned some things about the phrase “I Am Enough” and what it means to those who embrace it. While I will be writing in first person, this is not me saying these words but quoting what I learned from what others shared.

I am enough just as I am. By accepting that I’m good enough the way that I am then the need to spend my energy trying to be more than what I’m capable of is taken off my shoulders. It’s no longer a burden. I can now spend my time giving and receiving what I deserve.

I am enough means I am me and not someone else. So I don’t need to compare myself with others when it comes to getting a gauge on my self-worth or how I measure up against another woman’s life. It’s about who I am meant to be and not who I should be because of what someone else is doing or accomplishing.

I am enough means I’m in the right place for such a time as this. This is my time and place and that is enough. I don’t go by other people’s clock or what life status society tells me I should be at on their timeline.

While all of these reasons aren’t horrible, there is an underlying theme with each of these and that is the focus on which the reasons are placed: self. Do you notice the number of “I’s” and “me’s” and “my’s” scattered for each of these reasons?

In a world that is all about self-esteem and self-confidence, it makes sense that these statements are focused on self. But, is that where God wants our focus? Is there some place in scripture that tells us we are the truth, the life and the way? When we say “I am enough”, the focus is taken off of the Lord and placed on us. It says that by our own strength, talents, and design, we are good enough. There is nothing else we need.

Do you see why this is so very contrary to what the word of God says?

No, we are not enough. We were never created to be enough on our own. Instead of me telling you all this, let’s dig into the Word of God.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:4-5 ESV

“For apart from me you can do nothing.” This doesn’t mean nothing at all because for the unbeliever they can carry on with their ordinary activities and recite the mantra “I am enough” but these activities are apart from Christ and, therefore, have no eternal value.

This passage from John tells us that HE is the vine and we are the branches. Without His presence, nourishment, guidance, discipline and the source of everything we could possibly need. So, why do we want to say “I am enough” when, in fact, we are not and it is the best thing ever. Each day with Jesus is more than enough because HE is enough. In fact, He is much more than that and far surpasses all that we could ever ask or imagine.

So, let’s revisit the reasons above and see how they compare when we say JESUS is more than enough:

He is enough, just as HE is. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 You being able to carry a burden has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with HIM and His invitation to us.

He is enough which means I know Whose I am. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16 He knew us before we even knew ourselves. These verses are powerful in that they showcase just how sovereign and all knowing our God is. He knew us. He knows us. He will always know us because He created us and we belong to Him. Yes, we are unique and God has called us to different ministries of the church body but we are not our own. Or do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 While the context of these verses are about sexual immorality, the foundation of this truth that we are not our own is the cornerstone of this other truth – we are not enough.

He is enough because His timing is perfect. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9 The context of this verse is in reference to the Lords’ returning. It is also a wonderful reminder of His perfect timing. From the moment when Esther entered the room to speak with the King to Saul being blinded and converted to Paul, each moment is with purpose and under God’s sovereign plan. It is true to say we do not go by other people’s clock. In fact, we do not even go by our own clock as a believer in Jesus because HIS timing is perfect. The other beautiful truth to go with this is He is patient with us. He wants all His children to come to Him and declare He is Lord over their lives. Isn’t that incredible?

At the beginning of this post I shared a couple of verses from 2 Peter 1. Let’s revisit those.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV

When we say GOD is enough, we are agreeing that through His divine power, He has accomplished something we never could – the means of salvation. He will continue to provide everything for the Christian in every thing pertaining to life. Through His promises, we as Christian women, will daily be transformed as we become more and more like Him. But, not in the way of supplying our own needs or being enough. No, we will constantly be in need of Him. We become more like Him in our morals and what we value as we let go of the world’s corruption and focus on God’s sovereignty.

God. Is. Enough.

The Great Cultivation | Part Two

It all began with a conversation in the green room at church.

At this point in time, I had been deeply involved with the church I had been attending since 1997. Over the years, I had chosen to give my life to Jesus, was baptized by immersion, interned with an amazing woman of God and continued to grow in my faith. Many friendships were formed and it was an incredible time as I was driven by purpose and believed God had defined that purpose for me.

I also came with the belief that if someone professed to be a believer and served at the same church I did, we all held the same Biblical views. It was never a question. My pastor had preached on topics that I appreciated and I just loved how our focus was outward. 

It’s important to know these things because on this beautiful Spring day in 2008, in the green room, my world would be rocked a bit. 

California had just legalized same-sex marriage and boy was it a hot topic. So far, conversations I had had with fellow God-fearing friends was mutual. We were both saddened, somewhat in shock and also not entirely surprised by the decision that was made in that state. While there are many sins, this one was popular on the quickly growing social media site that rhymes with bakefook. 

There was a very interesting emotional and mental convergence happening my mind – disbelief that society was normalizing homosexuality and also understanding that it shouldn’t be all too surprising as prophecy tells us that the world was going to get worse before Jesus came back.

So, when someone brought it up in the green room – which, by the way, is what we called the room the worship team used in between services – I was ready for a like minded and somber conversation. When the leader brought it up, I was bout to share my thoughts when someone else would say some words that would leave me tense. They were words in support of this topic and hoped that our state would soon follow. This was then followed by the leader, and several other team members, agreeing and stating how much they support their homosexual brothers and sisters with their choice.

Disappointment. Shock. Confusion. Three words that easily described my state of mind in that moment. Questions began to bubble up like – “How can they believe this is a good thing?” “Doesn’t the Bible say homosexuality is a sin?” “Maybe I read it wrong! Who can I go ask?” The following weeks and months would show me that these were not the only people in my church that felt this way. And it wasn’t just regular attenders – these were people who were leading, serving and had influence in others spiritual walks. I would spend hours in my Bible reading what it says about homosexuality. I would also be searching online to see what other Biblical scholars and churches said about it. What I found was more confusion because the churches that welcomed homosexuality had, what appeared to be, a decent argument according to scripture. However, this never settled well with me.

As the years went by, I found myself just sweeping this under the rug. After all, did it really matter? I believe it as a sin but, wasn’t sharing the gospel more important than arguing over what is sin and what isn’t? Oh how naive I was in my faith!

What happened in the green room would set me up for learning that just because someone professes to be a Christian, serves in a church or even pastors a church, that doesn’t mean they hold the Bible in the same light as I do. I didn’t know what to label this kind of thought towards scripture at the time but, I have learned since that this is a form of progressive christianity – one that embraces social norms and acceptance versus what the Holy Word of God says. 

Let’s be clear – the word of God does give direction on homosexuality being a sin. 

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women are were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Romans 1:26-27

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination…

Lamentations 18:22

I won’t get too deep into the theology of this topic as it would warrant an entire blogging series. The arguments to this understanding that homosexuality is included in the list of sin, is that some people are born homosexual and have no control over it. Others have justified the relationships being okay as long as they are in a committed relationship. The problem with these ideologies is that we are, in fact, all born sinners. We all have desires that are contrary to the Bible. However, that doesn’t mean we enable the behavior. Human nature is to sin and that is why Jesus died on the cross for us – to save us from God’s wrath because of our sinful nature. 

As I fast forward to 2021 and ponder the experiences I have had in previous churches – there is an urgent thought –

We cannot compromise what scripture says with what the world says.

It is so clear how the enemy has infiltrated our churches and Christian communities because of the deceit and lies that have spread throughout; causing confusion, misinterpretation and acceptance of sin. This is dangerous church! 

The year 2020 has certainly been a time of revealing and refinement in the church. There will come a day when we stand before God and give an account for our life on earth. What will yours be? What will the church’s be?  

The Great Cultivation | Part One

We are in a time when people have closed their ears, eyes and hearts to the truth of the Word of God. They would rather listen to “feel good” messages, read “self-care” books and teach on topics that do not offend. Fear and virtue signaling rules in the decision making when it comes to sharing the gospel. A darkness has slowly crept it’s way into many churches and we have allowed the enemy to have free reign. Instead of armoring up, running towards the Word of God and trusting His call to be light bearers, we have succumbed to tolerance and wishy washy Christianity. This approach has leaders seeing God through the lens of social justice and cultural norms, instead of through His Holy, historically accurate, Word – also known as the Bible. 

This is progressive Christianity and it is filled with evil. I also like to refer to it as “selective christianity” as, when the Bible is actually used, only certain parts of scripture are pulled to help support ideologies, opinions, etc. Scripture is taken out of context to support these ideals instead of ideals being formed by scripture. Of course, the enemy is convincing enough to have many think this is the gospel filled with love. “Selective christianity” is exactly as it applies – it means that leaders, learners and the like are selective of what parts of scripture they choose to focus on. The parts that don’t feel good, or could turn people away or offend are avoided. Because, heaven forbid we preach truth and risk people denying God.  

While we definitely do want to share the Good News, we also need to share all that scripture states and some of it is harsh, uncomfortable and, while I choose to disagree with this description, some may even say it’s offensive.. When we have shared truth, the Living Word, and the foundation of how to live life as written by God, we have done our part. Sometimes it’s not going to be “popular” or “cool” or “trendy”. We continue to go out into the world doing what Jesus commanded us to do through the Great Commission but, we do so with faith and assurance that, as we share TRUTH, He will do the rest. 

A watered down gospel only benefits the sharer. And, truthfully, the benefits are about as beneficial as a bubble floating through the air. It looks cool for a minute but it eventually pops. 

I spent several months wondering how in the world we got here. How is it that a church I was part of for years fell victim to this progressive christianity? Well, here is a thought for you – do you believe that the enemy can be so very convincing that one doesn’t even know they are falling into this trap until it is too late? I sure do. We see it all over scripture, including at the very beginning. Remember Eve? All the serpent had to do was twist some words around to have her questioning what God actually said to her. That’s all it took to have her take the first bite. 

We have what Eve didn’t have back then – the Bible. Although, let’s remember that while she didn’t have the Bible, she had a personal relationship with God that we don’t have – and she still fell into temptation. The Holy Bible does not contain any errors. It gives us truth, wisdom, direction and a glimpse into the mystery of our sovereign God. What an incredible gift He has given us! And, yet, even with the Bible in our hands, the enemy still attempts to twist things around. He takes things out of context and relates them to current societal norms and culture. 

Timothy warned us about what was coming… 2 Timothy 4:3 says For a time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. Sometimes hearing the truth is hard. It hurts. It forces us to give up habits we don’t want to give up. And so, many of us have made the decision to only pay attention to the things that don’t bring that discomfort. We want to believe in God, and that He sent Jesus to die for us and that His love covers all sin – which is very true – but it ends there. Because we don’t want to change our ideology, opinions, lifestyles, etc. 
Some of us want to stay in our bubble and ignore the reality of this world. We mask it by saying, “I just want to keep my eyes on Jesus and trust He has it all under control.” 

Let me pause for a moment – keeping our eyes on Jesus and trusting He has it all under control is a good thing. But when we use that as our reason to not be obedient to His beckoning us to speak truth when necessary, it becomes sin. There is a time for absolutely sit back and watch Jesus work and then there is a time when He is calling us to the front lines. Many will choose to say that this time is one where we be patient and these same many will mistakenly label the action of taking risks and speaking out as someone taking control of the situation and not “letting Jesus”. 

I am excited to continue in this topic of all God has been overturning and exposing in His church – His people, etc. There is so much to navigate through, learn, cultivate and grow. Scripture is rich with any insight we could ever want when it comes to God’s people, His church and the life we should be living for Him and Him alone.

Even When it Gets Uncomfortable

You will find many websites, books, and blogs, geared toward women, that will tell you how amazing you are, that you are enough and will fill you with affirmation after affirmation. This is great if you are self-seeking, inward thinking and driven by the influence of society. Following the latest and hippest influencer is exciting for many and makes one feel like they are part of the “in-crowd”.

But is that really what should be our focus?

Following Jesus can be a lonely place. Especially when the world is going another direction and we see other women following the popularity driven “christianity” (I hesitate calling it that) instead of historical Biblical Christianity. Morals and values become skewed because it doesn’t sound awful anymore. Sins seem not so sinful and become acceptable and to not accept the sin means you are filled with hate. Listen friend, love doesn’t always feel warm and fuzzy. Love can be painful but only for our betterment. Love isn’t always what we want to hear. Love is nails driven through flesh on a cross. Love can be risky.

Conversations, blog posts and motivational speaking events that end with a pretty bow on top and have pretty graphics or trendy aesthetics are not what will win people to Jesus. I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase, “all that glitters is not gold”. In fact, a lot of what looks so appealing is equivalent to fools gold. It would behoove us all, dear Christian women, to put on the armor of discernment in a world that is filled with manipulation and deceit.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:8-11 (ESV)

What can you expect from this blog and my writing? My prayer is that, by Holy Spirit’s interceding, what is shared will be filled with grace, love and truth. I will not avoid the uncomfortable topics and I will not dance around what the truth. All glory will be given to God as I go head on with the tough and avoided topics while exposing His truth. Because, Christian woman, you are NOT enough… but HE is! Welcome to The Profound Brunette – pursuing God even when it gets uncomfortable.