When it comes to dealing with the women we serve in women’s ministry, there are 4 spirits to be aware of, and carefully deal with.
Detect and Defuse:
A Jonah spirit
An Absolam spirit
A Martha spirit
A Jezebel spirit
Welcome to Women’s Ministry Wednesday!
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Let’s review the story of Jonah for which this attitude is named.
If you recall Jonah’s story, you most likely learned it as a child—Jonah was chosen by God to go preach in Nineveh, a very sinful city. Jonah did not want to go because he preferred to see God’s judgment come against it, so he took the first fish, I mean boat, that he saw. A storm came, and Jonah ended up in the belly of a fish (not a whale!). After 3 days, he was puked out. A now wiser Jonah, presented himself for preaching to the Ninevites shortly after.
(Is this not the most fascinating story? You just can’t make this kind of stuff up!!!)
In response to Jonah’s coerced obedience, all were saved (Hallelujah!!!). After completing his assignment, Jonah left Nineveh and found rest and refuge under a large plant that the Lord provided him. When the Lord caused the plant to die, Jonah became very upset. The Lord admonished Jonah for caring more for the plant than he did the people of Nineveh.
The spirit of Jonah is present when we care more about our personal preferences than God’s agenda.
Can you relate?
I know I can. I’ve been Jonah.
I pretty much attended the same church all of my life until I was about 33 years old. Both of my mama’s and daddy’s families grew up there.
It was a small country church, and it had two large oak trees on the front lawn. The elderly men always stood under them and talked, while we kids would run around them and hide from one another after church. I loved those trees! By the time I was twenty-something, only one still remained.
One Saturday morning, I arrived early at the church to prepare the church bulletin for the next day’s services. To my dismay, the remaining oak tree was gone, and I mean GONE. There was not even a stump left; I was in shock.
As I stomped through the church to the office, I huffed and puffed under my breath…Why didn’t they at least discuss this in a church business meeting? Didn’t they realize that some people may be upset over them cutting that tree down? Who made that decision?
All of a sudden, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “That’s the spirit of Jonah!” I immediately knew what He meant. I was much more concerned about that tree that had been cut down than I was about friends and family who no longer attended church there or anywhere! Where were they? Why hadn’t I missed them? Why hadn’t I reached out to them? Why wasn’t I as upset over them as I was the large oak?
This realization shamed me, and I no longer felt indignant about it. Come to find out, that the Wednesday night before (after I had left church), a huge limb from that tree had fell where kids were playing. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Our trustees who took care of church business had it looked at. The tree service highly recommended that it be removed for safety reasons, and my church complied.
Sometimes, we can’t always know what led to a decision at church, and that is okay– especially when those things are not relative to kingdom-building. We as the body should spend our time focused on making disciples, and less on making trouble for those entrusted with making decisions. Amen?
So, what do you do when you run into this spirit in women’s ministry? How do you deal with people who are more concerned about matters over missions?
- Be transparent. If possible and appropriate, explain what led up to certain decisions and changes.
- Be communicative. You can NEVER over communicate when dealing with a large group of people when changes are made.
- Be understanding. Use these moments to redirect your women back to missional living.
- Be proactive. Anticipate those who may become upset and give them so “couch time” to share the thoughts, feelings and frustrations.
- Be prayerful.
But the Lord said, “You ‘pitied’ the shrub, for which you didn’t work and which you didn’t raise; it grew in a night and perished in a night. Yet for my part, can’t I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than one hundred twenty thousand people who can’t tell their right hand from their left, and also many animals?” Jonah 4:10-11
” And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” Hebrews 10:24
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