By Judy Douglass

Each of us wants to believe that we matter. That we have something to offer. That our contributions to building God’s kingdom are needed and valuable.

But as I travel the world speaking to women in ministry, I have found a substantial obstacle to seeing that happen. One might think the biggest barrier would be convincing men that women are needed for this assignment, but that’s not the most difficult challenge.

Convincing women

A greater challenge seems to be opening the eyes of women to see that we are mission critical.  That the task of Kingdom building will not happen unless every daughter of God is prepared and equipped and given opportunity to make her best contribution to the mission at each season of her life.

That certainly fits with God’s view of us. Ephesians 2:10 assures us that we are God’s workmanship and we are created for specific good works. He made each of us uniquely who we are, to be equipped to make the unique contribution that He has prepared for us. I am the only one created for the works God has for me. You are the only one formed for the purposes God has for you. Each of us is truly critical to God’s mission in this world.  What a hopeful vision!

Unique contributions

Key to that contribution is the growing discovery of who we are—the workmanship God has wrought in us. We work and serve and find out there are some things we are good at—and others we are not so good at. We take faith risks and grow and develop in our gifts and abilities. Hopefully, then, we increasingly serve our Lord with those gifts, accomplishing the good works He has prepared for us.

Because the task is so vast and needs are so great, we often seem to just fill in and get the job done. And that is sometimes necessary. But each entity/body/church within the Body of Christ will be far more effective and fruitful, and people will be far more assured of their value, when each person is consistently operating out of giftedness and strength. This is especially needful and challenging for women because of the great variation in cultural expectations, seasons of life and developmental opportunities.

It won’t happen without women

A second need, if we are to see God’s mission on earth accomplished, is for God’s sons and His daughters to understand that the job will not get done without the contribution of women.    We readily acknowledge that they are the primary ones who will win and disciple children and other women.  If God’s daughters are not empowered to live out their faith, millions of women and children will not be reached.

But there is more.  Throughout Scripture we see that our God practices good stewardship.  He tells us there is accountability for our use of what is entrusted to us.  Jesus even gathered the leftovers after feeding the 5,000.  So surely that same accountability applies to all the resources God has given us for fulfilling His great commission.  He has given us finances, tools, training—and most importantly, people—human resources.

More than half of followers of Jesus are female.  Half of our human resources are women.  Surely our Lord has no intention of allowing us to waste that important resource!  He has given us—together–all we need to do the job.  But every time we do not equip and empower a woman to make her vital contribution, we are wasting what God has provided.  We are settling for less than could be.  Fewer men and women will be in the Kingdom because part of the work did not get done.

Women are mission critical—You are critical to God’s mission!  We will never accomplish what God assigned to us as His children unless all his children—sons and daughters—are making the contributions for which He created them.

JudyDouglass_011912_35_aJudy Douglass is a writer, editor, speaker, missionary. Most of all she is an encourager, urging everyone she encounters to know God and to entrust their lives to him for all He wants them to be and all He has prepared for them to do. She gets to go all around the world to do this loving and encouraging–what an incredible “job.” You can find her at her blog Kindling, on Facebook, and on Twitter @jeedoo417