Women in Worship: Women of the Word
By Vicky Beeching
We all have a deep desire and need to communicate our thoughts and feelings with others. So words are a big part of our lives. With that in mind, I’d like to look at three different ways that we as women involved in worship ministry can handle our words with wisdom.
Hundreds of women have chatted with me over the last decade about feeling alone in their church worship team. The story is almost always the same. Most say that they feel outnumbered. Most drummers, bass players, electric guitarist and sound crew are male. Most senior pastors are male. Not all, but most. So often, women involved in worship struggle with isolation, loneliness, and feeling like they don’t get enough support. If this isn’t true at your Church, fantastic! But for many, it is. The words I hear during these conversations are usually bottled up inside and desperate to get out—things that they’ve been unable to tell anyone on the leadership of their home church. Things that gain in sadness daily and frustration that grows with every passing week.
Tip 1: Be Brave and Always Speak Up
Let it be done graciously, gently, and at the right time. But speak up. Tell the leaders in your church what you are struggling with and what’s not working in the current structure. Ask them for more support. Explain how lonely it feels in a team full of guys. Ask them if some changes might be made in order to create a more inclusive atmosphere.
I’ll probably get some flack for saying that! So let me emphasize how much I believe in the local church and respecting authority. But I believe it’s crucial for people to be in churches where they are pastored, supported, and loved. If you can’t secure an opportunity to respectfully share how you’re feeling with your worship overseer or lead pastor, or if those words are just ignored, then you’re probably not in a healthy church.
Most of the advice I was given as a young girl on this topic was the total opposite. People said, “Keep silent, just grit your teeth and pray for it all to change. Don’t speak up, as that’s rude and makes women look pushy.”
The great news is that a simple conversation could fix it all. You may find your worship overseer and lead pastors had no idea how alone and sidelined you and other women were feeling. Things that are kept locked away in the dark only get stronger and more destructive. Pick up the phone, call your pastors, and make a coffee appointment to chat.
Tip 2: Become a Woman of the Word
Knowing what the Bible says is crucial for anyone in worship ministry. If you don’t know where to start, begin reading through the Psalms—the worship lyrics of the Old Testament. Or read about the life of David—the blueprint of a worshiper with “a heart after God’s own heart.” Get a commentary from a Christian bookstore to help you understand the passages with more depth.
I’d also encourage you, if at all possible, to study some theology. It might sound heavy and dull, but it’s actually really life giving. Is there a local college that offers evening classes? Or do you know someone well-studied in Scripture? Perhaps they could recommend a few theology books and discuss them with you.
Tip 3: Remember, Lyrics Matter
The words we sing about God, not only reflect people’s perspective of him, they actually form people’s understanding of him.Choose songs that are accurate in their portrayal of God, and try and get a good balance of lyrics talking about the different aspects of who he is and what he does. Sometimes we can get stuck in ruts, and all our song choices are about his majesty and greatness or all about his closeness and intimacy. Balance is key to communicating who God truly is. There seems to be a lack of songs with words about lament or the Trinity or the Cross, so they’d be great choices too.
Let’s be women who speak up in honesty, clarity, and graciousness. Let’s be women of the Word, studying the Bible and grappling with theology. Let’s be women who choose words in worship with care and wisdom. That’s definitely the kind of woman I want to be. How about you?
For more on Vicky Beeching, visit vickybeeching.com.