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Women's Ministry in the Local Church: A Complementarian Approach

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Susan Hunt and Ligon Duncan walk through the Scriptures to help readers better understand what it means to have an effective, biblical women's ministry in the church. The benefits of women's ministries are great: training and discipling, evangelizing, and reaching out to the poor and needy. This book, written by seasoned ministry leaders, provides many proven tools to help Susan Hunt and Ligon Duncan walk through the Scriptures to help readers better understand what it means to have an effective, biblical women's ministry in the church. The benefits of women's ministries are great: training and discipling, evangelizing, and reaching out to the poor and needy. This book, written by seasoned ministry leaders, provides many proven tools to help start a women's ministry in your church.


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Susan Hunt and Ligon Duncan walk through the Scriptures to help readers better understand what it means to have an effective, biblical women's ministry in the church. The benefits of women's ministries are great: training and discipling, evangelizing, and reaching out to the poor and needy. This book, written by seasoned ministry leaders, provides many proven tools to help Susan Hunt and Ligon Duncan walk through the Scriptures to help readers better understand what it means to have an effective, biblical women's ministry in the church. The benefits of women's ministries are great: training and discipling, evangelizing, and reaching out to the poor and needy. This book, written by seasoned ministry leaders, provides many proven tools to help start a women's ministry in your church.

30 review for Women's Ministry in the Local Church: A Complementarian Approach

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrzej Stelmasiak

    Excellent book, gives you the biblical foundation for this particular ministry, explains the principles, and highlights the needs and benefits of it. 'The tools' in each chapter in part 2 are not relevant to us here, but they will certainly stimulate the discussion. Excellent book, gives you the biblical foundation for this particular ministry, explains the principles, and highlights the needs and benefits of it. 'The tools' in each chapter in part 2 are not relevant to us here, but they will certainly stimulate the discussion.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Binsy

    This is an excellent practical book on why women’s ministry is so vital to the church. With all the recent controversies the church has been embroiled in, it will do all of us a world of good to seriously consider women’s ministry in the local church. Ligon Duncan writes “The complementarian position acknowledges that God created men and women equal in being but assigned different but equally valuable functions in His kingdom and that this gender distinctiveness complements, or harmonises to ful This is an excellent practical book on why women’s ministry is so vital to the church. With all the recent controversies the church has been embroiled in, it will do all of us a world of good to seriously consider women’s ministry in the local church. Ligon Duncan writes “The complementarian position acknowledges that God created men and women equal in being but assigned different but equally valuable functions in His kingdom and that this gender distinctiveness complements, or harmonises to fulfill His purpose”. Tim Challies has written a brilliant review on this book https://www.challies.com/book-reviews... I have worn out my highlighter with this book. It’s rich with practical wisdom. Will sum up with these words from the book itself “God pronounced gender-aloneness ‘not good’ in the Garden, and the same is true in the church . He did not give His benediction of ‘it is very good’ until man and woman stood side by side, equal but different”. My prayer is that most churches including mine will encourage a women’s ministry where the glory of God will be on full display.

  3. 5 out of 5

    J.E. Jr.

    As church ministry goes, my experience has been that women’s ministry tends to be one of the more difficult areas of church life to approach in a healthy, biblical, and dignified manner. I’m sure that is why Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt set out to write this book together. They clearly want to lay out something of a philosophy of ministry for women’s ministry in the local church, and overall they haven’t done too poorly at it (though there are differences that I might highlight). As I read it, I As church ministry goes, my experience has been that women’s ministry tends to be one of the more difficult areas of church life to approach in a healthy, biblical, and dignified manner. I’m sure that is why Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt set out to write this book together. They clearly want to lay out something of a philosophy of ministry for women’s ministry in the local church, and overall they haven’t done too poorly at it (though there are differences that I might highlight). As I read it, I was struck by several observations, some of which the book addresses better than others. They include: Why “women’s” ministry? A lot of the sentences in the earliest chapters of book, which begin with something like, “healthy women’s ministry is…” or “good women’s ministry must include…”, could just as well have been written without the “women’s” in there. So why is it needed? If good MINISTRY can be described in exactly the same way, why qualify it as women’s ministry at all? This brings up a parallel point… Why not “men’s” ministry? So many of the reasons given for women’s ministry in this book stand just as strongly as a rationale for a good men’s ministry, too. Where is the emphasis on that? The same people who are going to say, “we must have a strong women’s ministry” should then argue just as emphatically for a strong men’s ministry as well. But we never hear that — not even in this book, not even mentioned. The importance of womanhood The real strength of this book is its thorough development of a rationale for women’s ministry based on the need for dealing with womanhood in healthy, godly ways. This is a real truth that I think is overlooked (as is the counterpart of biblical manhood, since the best it seems to get is the Mark Driscoll testosterone-fest) too often in the church. But this also raises an earnest question: if the main and best reason for women’s ministry is so that we can have a context for women to discuss, learn about, and deal with issues related to womanhood, are we consistently employing that? Are our women’s Bible studies, for example, focused on one or more of these issues? Or are they simply gender-segregated studies that have no justification for the segregation (except perhaps to give a woman an opportunity to teach, but we’re skittish about letting her teach when men might actually be present)? There is very little acknowledgement of this in the book, even in the appendix on evaluating Bible study materials. Big churches only? A lot of the practical implications of this book suggest a structure that works very well for big churches, while the mileage may vary, as they say, for smaller ones. Because most of the book is a philosophy of ministry statement, this isn’t as much the case as I feared it might be when starting into it (since both Dr. Duncan and Mrs. Hunt are in larger congregations). Still, there’s not much help for “scaling” this down to a small congregation’s purposes, and that would be of great benefit — especially since more than 90% of the churches in the country are less than 100 in membership! Overall, I don’t have any great problems with what is presented in this book. It doesn’t read easily, and at times feels a bit forced (usually in trying to accommodate both Dr. Duncan’s and Mrs. Hunt’s views at the same time). But the content is solid, and their ideas are good ones overall. Local churches will still have a lot of work to do, in trying to determine HOW to take this philosophy of ministry and apply it in their context.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alison Brown

    I give it a four on content that was solid and thought-provoking about what is the fundamental purpose of women's ministry. As a book, I felt like it lacked cohesive flow, partially due to the dual author structure. Several long passages were repeated. If you haven't already, I would recommend reading some of the Foundations for Biblical Womanhood materials before picking this book up - I have not, but the theological groundwork is apparently covered more thoroughly there and the first portion o I give it a four on content that was solid and thought-provoking about what is the fundamental purpose of women's ministry. As a book, I felt like it lacked cohesive flow, partially due to the dual author structure. Several long passages were repeated. If you haven't already, I would recommend reading some of the Foundations for Biblical Womanhood materials before picking this book up - I have not, but the theological groundwork is apparently covered more thoroughly there and the first portion of this book kept referring to them.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    This is an excellent guide on setting up a women's ministry in your church and the benefits of it. It also gives direction on women to women ministry - discipleship and mentoring. I would recommend this book to any women who has a desire to minister to the women of their church. This is an excellent guide on setting up a women's ministry in your church and the benefits of it. It also gives direction on women to women ministry - discipleship and mentoring. I would recommend this book to any women who has a desire to minister to the women of their church.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Branch

    I’m still not totally sure what to think about this book mostly because I expected it to be something completely different from what it was. I was given this book and told that it was a sort of guide for setting up a women’s ministry. Even many of the reviews here present it as a guide... but it’s not, not really. Don’t read this book if you want an explicit outline of what women’s ministry should look like. After all, there’s not an explicit example of women’s ministry in the Bible. I do wish i I’m still not totally sure what to think about this book mostly because I expected it to be something completely different from what it was. I was given this book and told that it was a sort of guide for setting up a women’s ministry. Even many of the reviews here present it as a guide... but it’s not, not really. Don’t read this book if you want an explicit outline of what women’s ministry should look like. After all, there’s not an explicit example of women’s ministry in the Bible. I do wish it had more instruction from a practical standpoint. Rather, this book is a defense of women’s ministry, why women’s ministry should even exist and why leadership in the church should thoughtfully foster it. Frankly, I’ve been a little disillusioned with women’s ministry. I’ve found that a lot of the work going on in women’s ministry does not have to be gendered, but it is. I have seen gendered ministries segregate the overall ministry of the church. Reading this book has helped me to see past that disillusionment because it explains how a biblical women’s ministry can truly strengthen a church community. Women have a huge role to play in shaping the culture of the church with grace and compassion.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Sanchez

    Great content, but it takes a bit of effort to get through. The dual authorship is interesting, but they both bring wisdom to the table, so it’s worth the whiplash. My biggest frustration was it felt like there was so much repetition! Entire paragraphs would be nearly word for word (if they weren’t in fact exactly the same) from introductory chapters to later chapters. Nevertheless, the insight found within these pages is humbling and life-giving to anyone who partakes in, leads, or prays for a Great content, but it takes a bit of effort to get through. The dual authorship is interesting, but they both bring wisdom to the table, so it’s worth the whiplash. My biggest frustration was it felt like there was so much repetition! Entire paragraphs would be nearly word for word (if they weren’t in fact exactly the same) from introductory chapters to later chapters. Nevertheless, the insight found within these pages is humbling and life-giving to anyone who partakes in, leads, or prays for a women’s ministry. But be warned, there may some tough love if you lean towards an egalitarian view on gender roles.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Our church women’s group read this together. I didn’t disagree with anything in particular, but found it poorly written- it had a circular way of explaining things that seemed to be on repeat, probably an attribute of having two authors who are trying to give each other identical air time to talk about the same topics due to the sensitive nature and distinct qualifications of said authors. Anyway. It was interesting to think over, but hard to get through.

  9. 5 out of 5

    JR Snow

    Read this for “Introduction to Pastoral and Theological Ministry” at RTS Charlotte. This book felt like a half-baked project from the get-go. The authors awkwardly share space in the book, there is some repetition in the quotes and main points, and the content sits halfway between philosophical and practical, doing neither well. While not unbiblical, I would look for other complementarian guides to women’s ministry.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    This is an excellent book to guide a women's ministry to their purpose in serving and caring for the congregation. The book begins by placing a firm Biblical foundation under the structure of the women's ministry. I highly recommend this book for all women interested in serving in their church's women's ministry. This is an excellent book to guide a women's ministry to their purpose in serving and caring for the congregation. The book begins by placing a firm Biblical foundation under the structure of the women's ministry. I highly recommend this book for all women interested in serving in their church's women's ministry.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amy Ward

    I took my time reading this rich book and will find it a continued invaluable resource for ministering to women in the Church. Highly recommend if you are involved in leading, teaching, and helping your pastors equip women in your own local body of believers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paul Kurtz

    I really enjoyed this book. It helped me to better understand what women's ministry ought to look like and how it should function. It also helped me to better appreciate how blessed I am with the wife God has given me. I really enjoyed this book. It helped me to better understand what women's ministry ought to look like and how it should function. It also helped me to better appreciate how blessed I am with the wife God has given me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    This is a solid foundation of what a church's women's ministry can look like, based on the Bible and mostly Presbyterian/Covenantal principles. It wasn't super practical, more theological and theoretical, but the examples and anecodtal tidbits I found helpful. This is a solid foundation of what a church's women's ministry can look like, based on the Bible and mostly Presbyterian/Covenantal principles. It wasn't super practical, more theological and theoretical, but the examples and anecodtal tidbits I found helpful.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    Wavering between a 3 and 4. Some helpful concepts regarding a biblical apologetic for a women's ministry. Wavering between a 3 and 4. Some helpful concepts regarding a biblical apologetic for a women's ministry.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Nordquist

    This book gives good reasons and purpose for having a womens ministry. They talk about pitfalls to look out for and practical ways to implement a ministry in a church.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karan

    Garnered some great info and thoughts.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I just finished reading this book as a participant in a committee at our church to think through the philosophy of women's ministry. Five years ago I thought women's ministry was dumb. I'd had some really not-great experiences with women's ministries. However, four great years with some really fabulous women at my church and a very godly, scripture-seeking culture there has overhauled my thinking. This book was wonderful, and incredibly instructive as we have been thinking through our philosophy I just finished reading this book as a participant in a committee at our church to think through the philosophy of women's ministry. Five years ago I thought women's ministry was dumb. I'd had some really not-great experiences with women's ministries. However, four great years with some really fabulous women at my church and a very godly, scripture-seeking culture there has overhauled my thinking. This book was wonderful, and incredibly instructive as we have been thinking through our philosophy and purpose for women's ministry. It was very sound, thoughtful, scriptural and thorough, and was a much more enjoyable read than I expected. Very delighted to have found such a great resource.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Gillespie

    While Women’s Ministry in the Local Churchmakes some good points, it falls short in specificity. In some cases, a lack of specificity makes the book more broadly applicable, but in this instance the vagueness made its theology questionable. While the book contained some helpful tips for running a women's ministry, it really suffered from not defining terms like "feminism" and "biblical womanhood" and "spiritual mothers." Because they didn't take the time to define their meaning regarding these h While Women’s Ministry in the Local Churchmakes some good points, it falls short in specificity. In some cases, a lack of specificity makes the book more broadly applicable, but in this instance the vagueness made its theology questionable. While the book contained some helpful tips for running a women's ministry, it really suffered from not defining terms like "feminism" and "biblical womanhood" and "spiritual mothers." Because they didn't take the time to define their meaning regarding these hot-button terms, the authors got into some tricky theological waters that could otherwise have been avoided, or at the very least defused with a little more clarity. {Read my full review here}

  19. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Awesome! This is perhaps the definitive work on women's ministry in the local church. Duncan brings his gentle, persuasive theological expertise, and Hunt her delicate exposition of various texts like 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus 2. They both charge women to be complimentary helper-leaders in their local churches. This book as rounded out my understanding of the theological position of complimentarianism (vs. egalitarianism) in both the church and the home. I'll likely read this one again and referen Awesome! This is perhaps the definitive work on women's ministry in the local church. Duncan brings his gentle, persuasive theological expertise, and Hunt her delicate exposition of various texts like 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus 2. They both charge women to be complimentary helper-leaders in their local churches. This book as rounded out my understanding of the theological position of complimentarianism (vs. egalitarianism) in both the church and the home. I'll likely read this one again and reference it often.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bryan McWhite

    I got this book for free at a half-day conference put on by CBMW. What a refreshing and insightful take on women's ministry and on Christian discipleship in general! I was able to take away quite a few principles for men's discipleship as well. I'll be commending this to anyone who is interested in leading and shaping women's ministry in the local church. I got this book for free at a half-day conference put on by CBMW. What a refreshing and insightful take on women's ministry and on Christian discipleship in general! I was able to take away quite a few principles for men's discipleship as well. I'll be commending this to anyone who is interested in leading and shaping women's ministry in the local church.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Will Pareja

    Full of wisdom and reverence for God and his Word. Not flashy, but the surprising elements of this book are in how tightly biblical they are. It's a solid apologetic for a joyful and delightful fresh complementarianism. Young people would benefit from the sage instruction. This can be used as a reliable point of reference for breaking ice in churches where evangelical feminism is assumed. Full of wisdom and reverence for God and his Word. Not flashy, but the surprising elements of this book are in how tightly biblical they are. It's a solid apologetic for a joyful and delightful fresh complementarianism. Young people would benefit from the sage instruction. This can be used as a reliable point of reference for breaking ice in churches where evangelical feminism is assumed.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Natalia

    This book gives you a great understanding of biblical womanhood, how God designed woman and man to have different roles and how they complement each other. It's a great book and I'd recommend it to anyone starting a Women's Ministry or just to have a better understanding of what the Bible says about woman. This book gives you a great understanding of biblical womanhood, how God designed woman and man to have different roles and how they complement each other. It's a great book and I'd recommend it to anyone starting a Women's Ministry or just to have a better understanding of what the Bible says about woman.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Creecy

    This is an incredible book about women's ministry written by both a man and a woman. I learned about Biblical headship/authority, covenantal living, and mostly how God wants a women's ministry to glorify Him by setting definite parameters. This is an incredible book about women's ministry written by both a man and a woman. I learned about Biblical headship/authority, covenantal living, and mostly how God wants a women's ministry to glorify Him by setting definite parameters.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Women's Ministry in the Local Church by J. Ligon Duncan (2006) Women's Ministry in the Local Church by J. Ligon Duncan (2006)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Francine

    A solid overview of the biblical basis for women's ministry in the church and it's role in a covenantal community. A solid overview of the biblical basis for women's ministry in the church and it's role in a covenantal community.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Julee

    This was an excellent apologetic for Women's Ministry. It was also very practical. I will keep this one on my shelf and refer to it often. This was an excellent apologetic for Women's Ministry. It was also very practical. I will keep this one on my shelf and refer to it often.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This was an insightful book that really helped us elders wives visualize what Women's Ministry is and it's purpose. This was an insightful book that really helped us elders wives visualize what Women's Ministry is and it's purpose.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    Very helpful. Kindled a Biblical zeal for a pastoral emphasis and oversight of women's ministry in the local church. Very helpful. Kindled a Biblical zeal for a pastoral emphasis and oversight of women's ministry in the local church.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    Good overall, but not as directly applicable for a smaller church setting.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pete Williamson

    This is a very helpful little book that lays out a clear, biblical foundation for women's ministry. Highly recommended! This is a very helpful little book that lays out a clear, biblical foundation for women's ministry. Highly recommended!

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