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losing half the church

Neely McQueen —  July 20, 2011 — 3 Comments

After being gone for a week I came back to a full inbox. Several people had sent me one article from Catalyst. Here’s an excerpt:

I believe the church is on the verge of a new crisis: failing to engage the young women in the church.

Today’s modern young woman does not see her place inside the church. Her talents, gifts and God-given calling are walking out of our doors and into the hands of businesses and other non-profits where her gifts are welcomed and celebrated.

Are we as church leaders creating a culture where women feel like their gifts, even those gifts that might stereotypically be thought of as more commonly belonging to men, are welcomed and valued?

My guess is that we want to. We never intended to alienate half of the population, but my fear is that our lack of intentionality is leading to a crisis that could be devastating to those we are called to reach.

Go here for the whole article.

I am convinced that this is starting in our youth ministries. Maybe these are ways we could change it:

  • More female adult leadership.
  • More females on stage.
  • Asking female leadership for insight on how to make programming more girl friendly.
  • More paid female youth workers.
  • Allowing girl students to drive ideas and programs with their gifts.

What do you think?




Neely McQueen


3 responses to losing half the church

  1. Neely,
    I think you are so right! We want to have the cool guys on stage so that we get guys connected and we fail to use the gifts and talents of our young ladies. We have a great student leadership team and one way we are getting the girls involved is by letting them use their talents. We have some girls that love to be on stage. We have some girls that lead worship. We have some girls that just love to decorate our room on big nights. I have one girl who helps coordinate all the student leaders and she is amazing.

    Thanks for making us more aware of this. I wish that we had more female presence on our SM team to focus on teaching and programming aspects. That is something we can definitely work on!

    • Thanks Neal! I love that you are willing to engage in the discussion…sounds like the girls at your church are getting the right message and encouragement! Keep it up!

  2. I agree Neely,
    I used to think the tide was changing and the church as a whole was becoming more accepting of women in leadership, using their gifts in many capacities as called. But honestly this is one reason I left the church I was a long time volunteer and later staff member. I stopped feeling like there was a place for me within that body. I found myself in a position where I had just spent 5 years finding out what my gifts and calling were to be left with no where to use it. As I looked around I saw more and more evidence that my particular gifts were not needed or wanted and if they were, my gender would negatively impact my ability to use them.

    Unfortunately in this region it’s a startling trend I’m noticing among churches; wanting to define gender roles inside and outside of the church. I think there’s a danger in any church when it starts to sway in any one direction towards a certain gender, age or race because then that body closes themselves off from the broader experiences and knowledge of having a diverse body with diverse gifts.

    I love your idea’s and hope more churches look for ways to empower young women, instead of diminishing or limiting/defining what they think we can/should do, both within and outside the church.

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