Right from creation, God placed women in a strategic position that cannot be over looked in the home and in the ministry.Abigail O. Akintayo
Right from creation, God placed women in a strategic position that cannot be over looked in the home and in the ministry (Gen 1:27-28, 3:15). Both men and women are saved to save others, since missions is all efforts directed towards reaching the unreached, so all efforts of women, directly and indirectly towards the unreached is missions. There are Constraints and Challenges we need to understand to prepare and make us ready for the work.
- To know that there are constraints created by religion and cultural norms towards the full participation of women in God’s Mission that we need to overcome by determination.
- To know that women like us have gone through them, yet they fulfilled their part in missions.
- To know that we are part of the original plan of God in Genesis 1:26-28, and He still expects us to do missions. This is why Jesus did not push us aside in his ministry.
Many women contributed their resources to support Jesus and his disciples in fulfilling their ministry, Luke 8:1-3, Mark 16:9-11. Likewise women worked with Paul in the preaching of the gospel (Phil 4:3, Rom 16:1-3). And it’s a mandate that must be fulfilled.
What are the Constraints and Challenges?
1) Lack of understanding of the purpose of women
Lack of understanding of the purpose of women has resulted in a poor perception of them as ‘secondary’ creations of God who are subject and inferior to men. Because of this, many women have low self-esteem and do not realise the strategic role they are called to play in God’s redemptive plan. Genesis 1:26-28 clearly tells us that God created male and female equal, not to complete but to complement each other, and together fulfill His mandate.
2) Poor or limited access to financial resources
Poor or limited access to financial resources is another challenge many women face. In many African cultures, women do not own or inherit property, so they are also unable to access credits and loans to build their businesses. A large number of them remain in the informal sector so they labour hard to get little. The cultural norms do not support (accord) women the dignity and respect that God bestowed on all mankind in the beginning. The Church is best positioned to lead the way in this as salt and light to the world.
3) Lack of recognition of women’s contribution and under-utilisation of their skills and giftings
Lack of recognition of women’s contribution and under-utilisation of their skills and giftings by the Church leaders is a challenge that has led to frustration on the part of many women and in others low drive and under-achievement. The Church can address this by delegating responsibility according to ability, skills and gifting, and not based on gender.
4) Pressure in and out
The cultural beliefs that a female must get married and have children at a particular age creates pressure from parents and herself. So parents don’t want females to be involved in going (cross-cultural missions). At times, if the man is not forthcoming they feel lonely and overwhelmed, more so if they don’t have right and trustworthy people to open up to. Also the treatment from men around them brings discouragement. Women need prayer, encouragement, and to trust the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6).
5) Marital Demands
The demand to raise Godly children in a strange land, with different culture, language and worldview post a challenge. The demand to be a responsible wife and a minister of the gospel; sending children to school when there is no school where she works or no enough money. But in all of these, we should depend on God and obey His leading.
Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamp burning (Luke 12:35). You will never be disappointed.
In conclusion, no woman is left out of the work of missions. You are called to do one thing or the other, either to go, to pray or to give. Women were the first Evangelists that proclaimed that Jesus is risen. Jesus, Paul and others were able to fulfill their ministries because some women helped them.