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Review: Word-Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church

Word-Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church (eds. Gloria Furman & Kathleen B Nelson)

Review by Alison Napier

I initially read through this book with a friend, meeting every couple of months to pray together and encourage each other in our ministry roles. It came highly recommended and we were underwhelmed. I confess that we were a bit sporadic in our chapter choices – impatient with the theory and keen for the practical advice. However upon a second reading, this time with the chapters in order, I appreciated the book much more fully. Its three sections are arranged in a careful progression of thought and what had originally been an irritating practice of self-referencing among the chapters became a well-worked integration of ideas.

There are so many things to appreciate about this book: the total commitment to the authority of the word of God demonstrated in practice and not just ascribed to in theory; the incisive critiques of many views and practices that so often derail biblical ministry; and the deep commitment to the importance of the church (as flagged in the subtitle), to name just three.

Its broad range of subject matter was also impressive, for example, the call to minister to women properly in the area of sexuality was both helpful and challenging. Some chapters didn’t grab me entirely, I suspect due to our different cultural contexts, but that only demonstrates more clearly the universality of God’s word, as seen in the first section, which is the foundation of the different applications to the varied situations we serve in.

Word-Filled Women’s Ministry is the most comprehensive, practical and positive work on the topic of women’s ministry that I’ve read yet. How helpful I would have found it 20 years ago when I first started out with so many questions!