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A Millennial’s Journey into Women’s Ministry

When asked to head up a new division of our Women’s Ministry I was terrified that I couldn’t cut it and really, I wasn’t so sure that I wanted anything to do with it.  There’s a stigma out there about Women's Ministry, if you didn’t already know. Young Ladies like myself tend to conjure up ideas of bake sales, and mentor round ups; we tend to think Women's Ministry is stale without substance. So when I was faced with the challenge of leaving Youth Ministry and joining our Women’s team, I was haunted by questions….

Will the ladies expect me to wear stockings? I never wear them!

I’m not the most poised lady in the whole world, does that matter?

Do older ladies like jokes? Will I seem irreverent to them?

Basically, will they accept me for who I am?

Despite my anxieties about this new and unknown world, I decided to plunge head first into the murky waters of cross-generational ministry. After 4 years I can tell you I have found a hidden jewel! However, I get it…. If you were born after 1982 hat parades and fashion shows may not be for you, but if you get over your hipster vibe, you may find some surprising benefits to joining a Women’s Ministry.

The first thing I encountered with these ladies was a wealth of wisdom that typically comes with age!  Why limit yourself to people in your age group that are right where you are? Find someone who has been there, done that, and perfected their form within the 20-year gap between your ages.  Yesterday I spoke to a mother of three, an empty nester whose kids are all flourishing. For a young mother like myself this is akin to hiking Mount Everest; the greatest feat one can fulfill in their line of duty! I wish that I could download her experiences and incorporate her wisdom. The great thing about Women’s Ministry is, I can do just that! She is here for me; she is cheering me on and she’s one my side!

One of the greatest discoveries I’ve made about Women’s Ministry is that these ladies are willing to give of themselves! Many older women have greater resources than we do. I'm not simply talking about financial resources (which by the way can be an added bonus! If someone is kind enough to meet your needs), rather I’m referring to the resource of time. I recently sat down to coffee with a 73-year old woman.  She shared her hopes and dreams and what she wished she would have done differently. We prayed, we cried and not once did she glance at me from a phone glued to her hand! We spent two and a half hours together and she gave me 100% of her attention; no text messages, no tweets or snaps, just one on one human conversation! How refreshing is that?

Last week I spoke with a woman who prays for me daily! She literally calls me by name before the Lord revisiting my specific prayer request and actually follows up with me! She is one among many prayer warriors I’ve discovered in this ministry. I hate to admit sometimes I’m so busy I forget to bring anyone’s name before the Lord let alone myself. But what a blessing it is that I can lean on the sacrifice of time spent in prayer by my sisters, aunts, mothers and grandmothers in Christ.    

I am currently about 8.5 months pregnant with my third child. I can barely walk let alone see my toes!  I went shopping a couple of weeks ago for some sensible, load baring shoes then I realized I had a problem!  I couldn't get them on my feet let alone fasten them. In walks a senior lady from our day time Bible Study. She got down on her hands and knees to place my shoes on my feet! Now that is servanthood! She gives me an example worth following!

Not only do the ladies in Women’s Ministry tend to give of their time and service, they also love to give good food! Let’s be honest, Millennials are known for being extremely busy and cooking often takes a back seat to our careers and education.  If you have yet to experience the cornucopia of tasty treats many of our elders prepare for small groups and meetings alike, then you are missing out! If you’re lucky enough you may even get home made banana pudding delivered to your home or soup and tea when you’re sick! One lady gave me a cooler full of home-cooked frozen meals because she knew how much I had on my plate!

The last discovery I’ve made on my journey is that the Joy of the Lord embodied by the older ladies in my ministry is downright infectious! Do you need your spirits lifted? Watch an 80- year old woman do 10 push-ups on stage for a sermon illustration. (Yes this actually happened!) Each Tuesday morning our Women’s bible study gets up and dances around to “Happy” by Pharrell. The greet each other with holy kisses and have a blast! Is it a little corny? ….Maybe, but  watch the joy that flows from ladies who have been down and out, high and low and yet have still come out standing.

Looking back at this new journey of mine I couldn’t be more thrilled that I pushed past my own stereotypes of Women’s Ministry. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that cross-generational ministry is without flaw, without the mundane or without mess, but what I can tell you is that if you have cut out the experience of fellowship with other Women, (young and old) you are dismissing one of God’s greatest gifts to the church. You may be missing out on that nugget of truth only a woman who has walked in your shoes can give. You will certainly miss out on good food, laughter and godly encouragement. But most importantly you’ll be missing out on fulfilling the mandate to “Be devoted to one another with mutual love” Romans 12:10

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Christen Jacobs

Christen Jacobs is a wife and mother of 3. She earned her Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2014. She has served as the youth coordinator and small groups coordinator at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas Texas. She has a passion for exegetical teaching and has had the pleasure of speaking at various conferences and teaching Bible classes. Christen and her husband are inner-city missionaries who work to equip every member to sow seeds for the kingdom through helping individuals and churches respond to the great commission. Christen’s ministry passion is empowering women to be curious readers of the word of God. She also has a strong emphasis in engaging generational and cultural differences, as she has a background in missions traveling extensively in Asia, and Latin America. She enjoys writing her blog, cooking, dancing and cuddling up with her family and Netflix.

6 Comments

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      Christen Jacobs

      Thank you so much Gwynne I

      Thank you so much Gwynne I pray that other young ladies find the jewel of Women's Ministry too! 

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    Sue Edwards

    And we older women need you younger women too!!

    Thanks, Kristen, for your excellent blog. About 40 years ago a community of women of all ages took me under their wings and Jesus used them to revolutionize my life. How we need each other. You younger women add insight, vigor, creativity and so much more to our communities of women. May many younger women follow in your footsteps for all our benefit and the glory of God.

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      Christen Jacobs

      This means alot to me Dr. Sue

      This means alot to me Dr. Sue your book was such an inspiration and a good teaching tool for both parties involved!  

       

      God Bless 

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    Lael Arrington

    Well done, Christen, we need your voice

    Christen, thank you for drawing attention to the value of bridging the cultural divide between the over-40's and under 40's. Aside from the personal connections I hope you'll write more about this.

    How are you bridging the divide in women's events and actual time in Bible study? Would love to hear.

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      Christen Jacobs

      Thank you for your

      Thank you for your encouragment I am excited to continue with this topic! It is a true passion of mine I think there are some fun ways to encourage daily growth out of Women's events my brain is already running with ideas! Thank you 

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