Despite their crucial role in congregational life, 83 percent of women’s ministry leaders remain unpaid.
I want to tell you about a church leader I know. He heads up a ministry at his local church that provides spiritual formation for more than half its adult population—imagine him leading a Korean American ministry in a majority Korean American church, or a Deaf ministry in a majority Deaf church.
He plans and executes a full calendar of events and tailored discipleship opportunities, leading teams of volunteers to keep the ministry running. Those he serves love and value him as a leader. They feel seen and understood by him, and he has their trust.
While full-time staff at the church oversee smaller, specialized ministries with ample budgets, this leader has remained in a volunteer role for years with a shoestring budget.
His church covers seminary tuition for the staff ministry leaders, but he serves with no formal training, practical or theological.
The group he serves and belongs to notices the minimal support from the church, and so does he.
Except he’s not a he—but a she.
What I have described is the typical relationship of the women’s ministry leader to her local church. Even as women continue to outnumber men in evangelical congregations, the leaders who serve this majority demographic do so with high influence in the pews and low investment from the pastor.
A survey of women’s ministry leaders released in October from Lifeway Research revealed that 83 percent of them were unpaid, and 86 percent lacked formal theological training of any kind. For churches with more than 500 in attendance, only 29 percent of women’s ministry leaders were in paid, full-time positions and another 24 percent were paid part-time. Almost half (46%) received no pay.
The findings track with …