Unconventional (Book Review)

A practical resource for starting or reviewing a robust women’s ministry that teaches, equips, and cares for women in the church.

Complementarianism and women’s ministry are much talked about within our churches at the present time - and rightly so.

It is important, in a world with very different views, that we understand what the Bible teaches about men and women, as well as how we work together in ministry. We also want to see women flourishing and contributing to every area of church life.

To help us navigate this issue there is an abundance of books which explore the biblical principles behind complementarianism. However, finding books which help churches think through and implement healthy discipleship amongst their women are few and far between.

Unconventional fills that gap as Sharon Dickens uses her wealth of experience and wisdom to write a much-needed book for the realm of women's ministry. Through sharing the highs and lows of her time at Niddrie Community Church in Edinburgh, Sharon lays out a plan that others can follow to see ministry amongst women flourish in their churches.

Teach, equip, and care for women

The book begins with a brief Biblical theology of complementarianism but, as Sharon explains, this is not the purpose of the book. Instead, her aim is to give examples of how to “create good and robust women’s ministry that teaches, equips and cares for the women in the congregation whilst remaining in submission to the elders.”

She does this by sharing how she started the ministry at Niddrie and the tools she uses currently with the women. She particularly looks at how to establish a care team and the importance of discipleship and accountability within women’s ministry.

I found it especially helpful how Sharon highlighted the need to know the gifts of the women in your church to ensure they are all being given an opportunity to use what God has given them in the best way. We often fall into the trap of using those who do everything. Unconventional challenged me to be careful not to overlook less obvious women. We want to be looking for ways to help women test their gifts and enable others to step out of their comfort zone.

Principles for starting and reviewing women’s ministry

Sharon is clear that the pattern she lays out isn’t necessarily a carbon copy for every woman in ministry to apply to their own church. Niddrie’s context isn’t the same as every other church in the country. However, we can look at the principles Sharon unpacks and see how they might apply in our context.

Sharon includes various appendices which can be used to look at how to get ministry amongst the women in your church off the ground or to evaluate where women can use their gifts in service of your church family.

As well as being an invaluable resource for those beginning to think about women's ministry, Unconventional is an excellent tool for a well-established ministry that would benefit from a review.

I would have loved a book like this when I started out in ministry and I am excited to use some of the principles in my current role.

You can order a copy from 10ofThose for £8.99.

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