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.
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!
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 and 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.
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 we 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.