by Savannah Cottrell
A few months ago, I talked about the question of women’s leadership in the church. Women’s leadership roles have been a topic of great discussion recently, especially when it comes to a woman’s roles in worship and which ones some women have decided to take. However, some women may go to the total opposite extreme: not serving in the church at all. How do we as women—especially my fellow younger women—serve in a congregation while still being submissive as we are called?
Let’s talk about that.
In this article, I want to share with you three ways that young women can serve in the church. I can say from experience that we’re in a unique position to follow His calling by truly being at His bidding when it comes to how we serve our congregations. Please use these ways as ideas, and let the Lord and His Word lead you where you need to use your talents.
Mentor younger members of your congregation by teaching Bible classes or just talking to them. I can think of at least two young members of my church who I talk to and hug regularly whenever I come to services on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I can also remember at least two women who were once my age who did the same for me back when I was younger. Mentorship and encouragement to younger ones in your church helps them far more than you know. Being a part of their lives—whether that’s saying hi or being present for the day they choose to become members of the Body of Christ through baptism—will influence and encourage them to do the same once they are your age.
Want to help kids learn the Bible? It’s easy to volunteer to teach or help teach a Bible class for kids or young ladies in your youth group—just ask! Helping children grow in the faith is aligned to what Christ taught us. He told His disciples, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it” (Luke 18:16b-17).
Be on the lookout to serve the older members and families of your congregation. Everyone could use a helping hand in some way—all you have to do is think outward and make yourself aware of those in need. It all starts with getting to know your fellow church family members. Establishing close relationships within your congregation is crucial, especially in your mid-twenties, because you’re establishing the habit of fellowship that you can later pass down to your own children, and that in turn can help encourage and be an example for others around you. Follow the example Paul set in his letter to the Philippians: “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:1-4).
If a family with young children seems a little stressed out, offer to babysit. If there’s an elderly member in your congregation sitting by themselves, go sit with them and hug them. Service can come in any form, whether it’s physical help, companionship, a listening ear, prayer, or anything else you can think of. And speaking of prayer …
When in doubt, pray about how you can serve your congregation and seek counsel in the Word and with fellow women in your church. Prayer is definitely one of the first—if not the first—things you should consider if you’re between a rock and a hard place when it comes to how you can serve. From there, you can talk to others, whether that’s your own parents, friends, or someone else you’re close to in church. They can give you ideas.
Other ways you can seek counsel include looking through His Word, and also by actively seeking ways to serve in the meantime. Try sending cards to members, joining in on a ladies’ retreat, or joining a food service group put together by the ladies of your congregation. These ideas are some based on my experience and what’s available at my own congregation, but if you take a look around, you’re bound to find a place to serve in the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5).
In conclusion, young women in Christ have plenty of opportunities to serve God and within their congregation. All you have to do is seek those opportunities out, and you’ll be able to find them by His provision.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Think Magazine. Print or download this article here.