In my ministry for over 10 years, I’ve had people say things to me like, “Women are too emotional to be pastors.” I’ve also heard, “Are you really sure you know how to preach?” All too often, this is the story of female ministers. For the sake of ministry, we need to change this language for the next generation of ministers. Many affirming thoughts that female pastors need to hear are often left unsaid. Here are four simple phrases you can use to encourage the women in ministry around you.
You are called.
You can lift up the women in ministry around you by reminding them that they are called to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit. You might think that this is a basic compliment to any minister, but you can always remind your sisters in Christ that they have the gifts and graces to be ministers of the gospel. It can be powerful when one of your peers affirms your call for even the simplest pastoral action. Be generous with encouraging others in their call, and remember that this might be especially inspiring to younger ministers.
You are extremely capable.
The women among you are more than just emotional beings. God has given each woman gifts and abilities. Some women among you could be strong leaders, speakers, writers, organizers, or passionate ministers of the gospel. Recognize the gifts of your sisters in ministry and remind them how capable they are to share the love of God to a hurting world. See them for all that they are, let them use their gifts in creative ways, and remind them that they are just as capable as the other people who serve in ministry.
We need your perspective.
God is working among the men and women of the church. If we pay attention to what God is already doing, we can all find that we are better when we learn from one another. As you listen to the female ministers among you, let them know how thankful you are that they answered the call of God and that you are thankful for their perspectives in ministry. Make sure that you are taking the opportunity to listen to diverse contexts as you are planning to do ministry and leave space for your sisters in Christ to share their thoughts on ministry.
We support you.
You have the opportunity to cheer the women around you on and go through the trenches with them. While others are saying dismissive things to the women in ministry you know, you can be a voice of reason and support. Let your sisters in Christ know that you will continue to be a voice of encouragement for them in the future regardless of the seasons of life they will endure. Offer the female ministers around you continued hope for a future where the positive voices around them far overweigh the negative.