If a woman comes to Revolution with a church background, at some point they usually ask, “Why doesn’t Revolution have a women’s ministry?” This is not an accident or an oversight, in fact, it is a very specific decision we made when we started.
3 Reasons we Don’t Do Women’s Bible Studies
The first reason has to do with a desire to be simple. Our goal from the beginning has been to stay away from becoming the church that does a thousand programs, keeping people at church every night of the week. I was on staff at a church that said, “Our goal is to have people at church 6-7 nights a week.” Having options, while it can be helpful, also very quickly muddies the waters of what matters.
The second has to do with our desire to reach men. One of the things that happens with a women’s ministry, for married women, is that they no longer need their husband for their spiritual or relational needs. While many women join a women’s bible study for this purpose, the bible study actually keeps her husband from stepping up and fulfilling his role to pastor his wife and lead her spiritually. Men are good at doing as little as possible, so if a man’s wife is getting her spiritual needs met somewhere else (a women’s bible study), he will sit back and do nothing. I’ve seen this in a variety of couples, but also in looking at many of the women who attend women’s bible studies.
The third reason has to do with splitting couples up too much. Often, as I stated above, many women who attend a bible study, her husband does not attend a bible study. You actually begin to create an atmosphere where a husband and wife are growing at different levels, learning different things and ultimately, you start to move them in different directions at different speeds.
What we Do at Revolution
The first thing we do is challenge men and women to be who God called and created them to be. We challenge the men of our church to step up and lead their homes, to be servant leaders, pastoring their families. We challenge single men to have integrity, lead themselves well so they are ready to lead a women well. We provide resources every week for families to dive into scripture together, for couples to open the bible and for the husbands to lead them well. Instead of throwing men into the deep end of the pool alone, we hand them resources.
The second thing is in our missional communities. Our MC’s study the sermon in more depth. Instead of learning something new, couples sit together in church, hear the same sermon, then talk through it during the week in community. One of the reasons men often don’t lead their families well is they are afraid they won’t do a good job at it. This is the benefit of the resources we create each week and studying the sermon in MC’s.
The third thing is what we call DNA relationships. In the context of an MC, people will begin to get to know each other. In that context, we encourage 2-3 people of the same gender to meet together outside of an MC for shepherding, encouragement, prayer, accountability and deeper community. For me, the benefit of DNA cannot be overstated.
What about Titus 2?
People will often ask about Titus 2 and the call for older, more mature women to mentor and disciple younger women. Honestly, I feel like what we do in MC’s and DNA groups actually makes this happen more than most women’s ministries do. For one, MC’s and DNA groups are filled with men and women of all ages and life stages.
On top of that, Titus 2 is not a call to form a women’s ministry, it is a call for women to disciple other women. Can that happen in a women’s ministry? Sure. Is that the best way for it to happen? I don’t think so.
When a woman brings up Titus 2 to me as a reason to have a women’s ministry, my first question to them is who they are discipling. The answer is usually no one. Instead of looking for a church to create a program so that you can be involved in discipling someone, disciple someone. Find someone you are further ahead than and reach out to them. Find someone who is further ahead than you are and reach out to them.
What if I really want a women’s bible study?
After talking through this with couples, some women are skeptical and ask, “What if I really want a women’s bible study?” My answer, “Go to one.” We have women who go to other churches for MOPS, meet with women on the air force base for this.
As a church, we just don’t do it.
One thing I always tell people about this topic or anything associated with our vision and values. You may disagree with it, but you can’t tell me it doesn’t work. What we’ve seen are men (single or married) step up and lead well. Learn to have integrity, shepherd their wives well, disciple their kids. We’ve seen single women get discipled in their MC through the couple leading their MC or another woman in their MC. In short, we’ve seen Revolution strive to live out the commands of a church in the New Testament. Not always in the way a normal American church has done it, but that isn’t the goal.
While it is different than many churches, our desire for life-on-life discipleship, the benefits and the results have been incredible.