September 2018

As complementarians, we believe men and women are equal as God’s image-bearers (Gen. 1:27). Yet we also see in Scripture that God designed us to play different, complementary roles in the home and church. (Eph. 5:21-33).

But to distinguish gender roles is half of the battle. We must also champion the vital contributions of women in ministry and missions. Here are three reasons why.

1. Women are Critical to Church Planting

Paul’s ministry highlights the priority of pioneer church planting (Rom. 15:18-23). But we also need long-term workers who immerse themselves in a culture to ensure long-term discipleship.

Titus 2:4-5 depicts mature women instructing younger women in every part of life, including marriage and home life. For Paul, a healthy church plant demands women discipling and training women and children.

The vital roles women play in church planting—discipling, evangelizing, organizing—can’t be underestimated. Church planting demands teamwork, and those teams need women.

2. Women Can Thrive in Creative Access Contexts

Non-western governments tend to suspect Christian missionaries as colonizers, infiltrators, or spies. Female missionaries can often subvert these expectations, raising less suspicion.

They also reach segments of cultures men can’t—especially in Islamic cultures where men and women congregate separately. While male missionaries reach other men, women reach women and children, while influencing men too.

3. Women Are Uniquely Wired Towards Compassion

Throughout the unevangelized world, physical and spiritual poverty are intertwined—from India’s “untouchable” Dalits to the Rohingya fleeing Myanmar. Meanwhile, ministry is physically and emotionally taxing, and missionaries need encouragement. That’s why God gifted Christ’s body with an army of caring, empathic women serving overseas.

Jennifer DeKryger, ABWE missionary and widow of Todd, who died in 2016 from Lassa fever contracted in Togo, said, “[O]ur world is telling us that we’re supposed to be just like a man. But that’s not what God intended. We have been designed, by Him, to do things that men can’t do.” (Hear more from Jenn DeKryger in her interview on The Missions Podcast.)

The harvest is plentiful but the laborers few (Luke 10:2). Let us champion the countless women who witness, work, and win souls for the Lord in hard parts of the world.

Alex Kocman is the Director of Advancement and Mobilization at ABWE, shepherding new career missionaries and their churches through the sending process and helping connect partners with global ministry opportunities. After earning his M.A. in Communication and B.S. in Biblical Studies, he served as an online apologetics instructor with Liberty University Online and a youth pastor at a multi-site church in Pennsylvania, where he honed his passion for the intersection of robust theology and mission.

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