I hardly write about my “job” in here (I use quotes because the lines of job/lifestyle/role are pretty blurry), mostly because I want to protect myself from only thinking about, writing about, talking about, and being about youth ministry. Not because I don’t love it, I love and cherish what I get to do on a daily basis. My role breathes life into me as I give of myself on a weekly basis, and I am continually grateful for the chance to do what I love.
There is a little thing though that I’d like to dedicate this to–to any other woman out there that is in ministry (or any profession largely populated by men, for that matter). It’s a fun/awkward challenge walking into rooms overly-populated by men. My first few “area youth ministry meetings” went something like this: men stare and I can only imagine what they’re thinking, “Is she… an assistant? Is she… lost? Is she… the wife of someone here? Is she… one of… us?” You doubt me, but this past time I asked Nick (the other youth pastor at CRCC) to watch and observe and he couldn’t believe it. Nailed it.
With all that said, there’s also another avenue in which this is a tough road to walk–and to any woman on this road I want to encourage you to let yourself be a woman. I have seen many women become intimidated by the role and feel as if they need to lead like the men they’re observing. That is simply not the case. I am a woman for a reason. That does not mean I am automatically meek, humble, gentle, patient… it means that I lead differently. I lead as a woman. I teach as a woman. I interact with leaders, as a woman. I cry at the drop of a hat, I prefer drinking coffee with students before nailing a kid with a dodgeball, I tell stories about show choir instead of high school football glory days. I’m a woman. And there is nothing shameful about that.
So here’s to you, woman in a man’s world. You must master the art of wearing the skin of a rhino and the heart of a saint. That’s a tall order.