Monday, October 11, 2010

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Chapter 5 Discussion

written by Carrie

Ah ha. I have the fun chapter to discuss this week.



As I mentioned in the introduction, Hunt and Duncan favor a complimentarian view of women and men, striving towards upholding a Biblical view of the roles that each sex plays. Women are not subservient to men, but they do have different skills and talents which they can use to compliment the men. Chapter 5's discussion is more of the same.

Hunt makes two particular points that I'd like to focus on, and I'd like to bring this back to what this means when it comes to offering hospitality in our own homes, in a partnership with our husbands.

#1 - "A woman's ministry should be a quiet-spirited ministry that causes no disturbance in the male leadership." (page 72)

#2 - ". . . [S]ubmission in marriage and submission in the church cannot be separated. If a woman does not submit in her marriage, she will bring that rebellious attitude into the church. A leader of women, including single women, must have respect for and commitment to God's kingdom order in the home and church." (page 75)

To this I would merely add, (without arguing over the definition of submission, as I think I'd just refer back to the Danvers statement as I pointed out in the Introduction), that in order for the woman to practice the ministry of hospitality in the home, she needs to be in agreement and under the care of her husband in doing so.

Think about it. Women like to talk more. They like to get together and gab. They are more relational than men tend to be. Yet, men also crave good fellowship and the woman is sometimes in the best position to create an environment to foster healthy, spiritual fellowship with others in the home. But in order to practice hospitality successfully, it would behoove her to seek the opinions, advice and personal preferences of her husband in doing so. Stephanie wrote a great post on this recently, about the differences between her and her husband's extrovert/introvert tendencies. By finding out what kind of gatherings and events her husband most appreciated, she can serve both him and their family well when she plans to offer hospitality to others.

Husbands and spiritual authorities can offer a great deal of protection in helping the woman to gauge herself and her own energy levels well when deciding how much to take on. The man's role of overseer and protector of the home can be a great boon to her as she makes plans and sets schedules. This isn't something to balk over. Rather, it is something to be embraced as each sex helps its help meet!

I think that's the point I would draw away from Hunt's book. In order to engage in ministry inside or outside of the home effectively, it is beneficial for a woman to understand the life giving gifts and the role that God has given to her. Exercised effectively, and the ministry blossoms exponentially because she has submitted herself to her God, and to her husband and has accepted and embraced the role that she has been given to fulfill.

Women really have great deal of power to either destroy fellowship with others or to bring and birth life into relationships and situations. Understanding that role is imperative - especially as we are focusing on how to reach out to others and properly share Christ and His word to one another.

I continue to think Women's Ministry in the Local Church is extremely relevant for the topic of hospitality. If you have avoided this discussion so far, I hope you'll reconsider and think about what you might bring or add to our discussions here as we seek to be God-honoring women in all that we think, say and do.


  1. I’m so far behind in getting to read this book! At least I can log on to read your posts whenever I get a free moment. It is such a touchy subject at times as women struggle to find their place and sense of self.

  2. As an introverted woman with an extroverted husband, I want to mention that there are definitely exceptions to the generalization that "women like to talk more" and "men are less relational." I find the whole issue of hospitality/submission to be a difficult one because of these differences. It's not always the woman who wants to have people over and the husband who sets limits. Thinking in terms of submission, is it appropriate for the wife to ask for limits on hospitality (especially when the burden of hospitality tends to fall more on the wife)?

  3. Well, I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer Anon's question here. I'm more introverted (and wipe out more easily!) than my husband. It feels like he'd be happy as a clam to have people over every single night of the week whereas I just need a break!

    But he's aware of my limitations and we've come to happy compromises on it. I'm not opposed to having people over. I just like to plan more, space the events, and give myself time to prepare and recover on the same day.

    I can't think of one good reason why it's not appropriate to ask for limitations on hospitality. You're a TEAM! Designed to work together and compliment one another. I think that talking over the differences and working on compromises that best suit the couple and the goals that they have together is the best thing to do. (And what is that ultimate goal - scripturally speaking? To represent Christ and His Bride, the Church, to the world.)

    I'd take a good look at Eph. 5 and say that wives are to support and respect their husbands and husbands are to love their wives. How each couple does that varies, I think, but ultimately the goal is the same. It doesn't mean that the husband gets to insist on events and the wife gets to consistently refuse. Rather they work together with a little (lot?) love and a little respect to find their happy medium.

  4. I just want to second what Carrie said about being a team with your spouse. Also, it takes time to find your "groove" as a couple and family. My realization about my family's difference came after 13 years of marriage and 7 years as a parent. I think it took that long for because I'm a little slow at times but also because my husband didn't know how to articulate what he needed/wanted when it came to opening our home. Once I saw what was happening we were able to dialog about it (because I am seldom at a loss for words.) :)

    Don't think of planning ahead as setting limits. Think of it as acting intentionally and compromising. Maybe your husband is like Carrie's and wants people over ever night. How can you compromise so that you both are fulfilled? Maybe you agree to host a meal for one family once a month and a gathering for a larger group once a month. (BTW, a gathering could just be dessert and coffee). Once you agree how often, then schedule it on your calendars.

    Also, discuss expectations for the event. What will you need help with? Do you need him to take care of the kids while you do hostess duties? Do you expect him to refill drink glasses. The more you talk about beforehand the smoother things will go.

  5. I thought I had this book and was going to catch up before commenting on these posts -- but I just looked on my shelf, and what I had instead was a different book by Susan Hunt! So I am just now reading through the posts.

    I mentioned recently our church's "dinner for six" program, and while at the first home just enjoyed the fellowship so much, and thought, wow, you know, there is just nothing like fellowshipping in small groups in someone's home. We had gotten away from that partly because my husband was traveling, and when he was home on weekends either there was stuff to do or we just wanted to crash and spend time together as a family.

    But once we get settled in, I am thinking I really need to pick up the ball in the area of hospitality.

    My husband enjoyed the time we had at this latest dinner, too, and he has suggested having a few people over. But as a general rule I've noticed he doesn't tend to get together with friends. He has lifelong friends that he rarely communicates with, but they seem to pick up right where they left off. But at our last church he said he felt he didn't really have any personal friends. I think that was partly due to his traveling and partly to a falling away in having people over.

    So, as a team and under his leadership, I am thinking I may need to take the initiative in getting back into hospitality, at least suggesting it. I think he is open to it but I don't think he'd initiate it.

    Just thinking out loud here...