My late husband was a keen observer of life, and he loved to watch the church. In his early years of faith in the United States, he visited numerous American churches in multiple states. By the time I was married to him and he was preparing to work on his doctorate, he knew his topic. It focused on training Christian Arab women to disciple Muslim women coming to faith in Christ.
What did that have to do with observing the church? He saw the reality — there are more women in church than men. Though men may serve as pastors, women are doing the work on the ground. Who better to reach Muslim women than Christian women. It wasn’t for the men to do anyway, so he wrote his doctorate on this topic and used it in practice.
As we continued to the Middle East and lived in five countries within the region over the next twenty years, Raouf’s theory continued to prove true. Women, in general, are more sensitive to the leading of the Spirit than men, thus tend to be drawn to the Lord earlier and in larger numbers. This never put Raouf off. He worked with what he had, the person in front of him who wanted to hear, wanted to know about Jesus, felt the weight of sin and need for salvation.
Raouf also knew another secret — women are the true force for God in the home. While a believing father is a blessing and brings needed leadership to the family, it is the mother who pours into them 24/7, having the lasing influence in the lives of her children.
You may struggle on the mission field with having many women and only a few good men with whom to work. Do not get discouraged. Work with what you have. Go deep with the few good men, and the Lord will do great things. Though more came to the Lord in Tunisia, Raouf only went deep in discipleship and training with five men. God brought the multiplication, as they took what they learned and impacted the country for Christ.
The women? Yes, they were discipled too, by me, a woman like them. Then, what did they do? Changed the lives of their children, their sisters, their neighbors and nations. Only God knows the impact of their lives on this world today.
Am I putting one above the other in ministry and discipleship? No. My hope, as I trust is yours, is that all come to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. Male and female alike. In the end, it’s not the number of either within a particular town or village that makes the difference, it’s the one who lives out the changed life that only Christ can bring.
Work with what you have and watch God do the rest.
Grace and Peace