What women want from church: the Jesus of the Gospels

I find it ironic that in the heat of the debate about the undervalued and misunderstood role of women in the church, the church is still characterized by preaching a message which is packaged in a more “female” way, and thus undervalues and misunderstands the call of both men and women to discipleship.

Our evangelism is characterized by a presentation of our felt needs: we are sinners in need of a Savior, guilty ones in need of pardon, lost ones in need of a Shepherd. The gospel is marketed towards our emotions. Our worship songs sometimes sing declarations of God’s majesty, but also often tend towards the “Jesus is my boyfriend” lyrics, calling for us to declare “I’m so in love with you” “in this intimate place” – right in the middle of our corporate worship services. These refrains are uncomfortable for me, but all the more awkward for my 6’2″ husband who won’t even whisper “I love you” on the phone when he’s at work.

Our ministries appeal for service help in the more “feminine” categories: welcoming, working in the nursery, teaching children’s church, providing snacks. Hospitality, children and food are not traditionally the areas where men sign up in their droves.

I am honored to be a guest at Preston Yancey’s blog today as part of his “what women want from the church” series. Click over to read the rest.

5 thoughts on “What women want from church: the Jesus of the Gospels

  1. Bravo! I read the rest of your post. While I, as a woman, agree with you – I am not so sure that many women do. For example, there is a certain devotional book popular among women (I won’t name it) that is primarily gentle, soothing, affirming, etc. When I have spoken out with mild critique that women need more than this (they also need to hear rebuke, warning, dares, challenge, etc) – it is not well received at all. So while I am clapping for your post, it seems many women I know would not…Any thoughts?

    • I don’t think the gentle, affirming, soothing voice needs to be quashed… I just think the challenging, daring voice needs to be added. Those are my thoughts, anyway. Maybe you and I will shout alone?

      • Oh yes, I agree it needs to be added (not the former squashed) – that is the approach I usually take – a “balanced” Jesus rather than a lopsided one. But my voice is getting hoarse…Again, thanks for a great post.

  2. What a great post! One of your best written 🙂 Perfect length. (That’s praise from the writer in me.)
    The other part of me says…also, good post! This answers a lot of things I’ve been thinking about lately. I like what you said to the above-commenter Laura: that BOTH the gentle and the wild need to be there. True.

    Interestingly, it is because of the need for balance between the “masculine Jesus” and “feminine Jesus” that I find most modern church worship just fine. There are songs about praise and glory and battle and victory, and then songs about love and hugs and intimacy. I think BOTH men and women need BOTH kinds of songs. But I feel more informed knowing that the latter songs make you and your hubs antsy, because they lead me, and more specifically MY husband, to praise. He likes those songs. Different strokes for different folks?

    On this topic, you should most definitely read Leanne Payne’s “Crisis in Masculinity.” Christian book that redefined how I understood the differences between masculine and feminine.

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