August 22, 2012
Column # 1,617
Today’s Christian Women
By Mike McManus
Three-quarters of Christian women in America, the backbone of
most churches, say they are mature in their faith, feel they are
making the most of their gifts and potential and believe they
are doing meaningful ministry according to Barna Group polls.
Six out of
10 say they have substantial influence in their church and
two-thirds feel supported by the men in their lives – husbands
That’s a lot
of satisfied women – much higher than I would have expected.
a third of women feel a lack of opportunity at church, feel
misunderstood or undervalued by their leaders and resigned to
million churched adult women who are unhappy in their church
contrary to a widely shared perception, Christian women are as
likely as Christian men to consider themselves to be leaders,
Barna reports. About a third of both genders see themselves as
leaders. Further, most women (52%) believe the church is
receptive to their leadership, while only about 30% serve as
leaders at work, at home or in their community.
concrete evidence America’s churches are living up to the ideal
Paul outlined in Galatians (4:28), “Gone is the distinction
between Jew and Greek, slave and free men, male and female – you
are all one in Christ Jesus,” as the Phillips translation puts
this genuine equality of the genders and openness to female
leadership among Christians with the utter male domination of
women in the Muslim world. Muslim females are much less likely
to be able to go to school, to work outside the home, or even to
be able to drive in some countries such as Saudi Arabia.
It is no
accident that countries influenced by Christianity are far more
developed economically and politically because women are deemed
to be as important as men. America and Europe have prospered in
part because we invest in developing the whole human race.
Interestingly, Barna found women more likely to identify
themselves as a servant than as a leader, “a label embraced by
half of today’s Christian women.” How do they serve? By
praying for others, encouraging others, helping the needy,
sharing the Gospel and volunteering.
Christian women want to do more with their life. Three-quarters
of women say they “can and should be doing more to serve God.”
Christians are genuinely humble.
source of this commitment of Christian women?
of ten feel spiritually nurtured by their faith. “The vast
majority of women claim to have an `extremely close’ or a
`pretty close’ relationship with God,” Barna reports. Half of
women surveyed say they take time every day to evaluate the
quality of their relationship with God.
three out of four women say their faith is characterized by joy
and equal numbers experience a lot of spiritual freedom in their
faith. Two-thirds feel fulfilled by their spiritual lives.
their spiritual lives are rarely “their most important source of
identity. That role is taken up by the strong priority Christian
women place on family.”
Fully 53% of
women say their highest priority is family, vs. only 16% who
rate their faith as their top priority.
believe their most important role in life is as a mother or
parent. Jesus came next, with 13% believing their most
important role is as a follower of Christ. In third place is
their role as a wife (11%). Only 3% say their work as an
employee or executive is their highest priority.
important goal? Raising their children well. However, Barna
deduced “their marriages may be suffering from a lack of
intentionality, with only 2% saying their most important goal in
life is to enhance their relationship with their partner.
One reason few women cite marriage-related goals is that they
are “quite satisfied in their marriages.” Six of ten women are
pleased with their marriages v. half who are pleased with their
they most struggle with, women cited “disorganization” and
“inefficiency” most often. Anger and selfishness ranked third
and fourth, with excessive arguing next in line. Only 13% said
they struggled with envy and 8% with lust.
been their “biggest disappointment in life?” Three in ten cited
the death of a loved one as their biggest concern, 20% cited
family or children, while 9% said a divorce or bad marriage was
their biggest disappointment.
three-fourths of women are happy in their faith and in using
their gifts to serve others.