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« 'So easy, even a man can do it' | Main | Review: Mixed Ministry by Sue Edwards, Kelley Matthews and Henry J Rogers, Kregel »

May 26, 2009


Ali Campbell

A challenge I have particularly encountered is the gender imbalance in work with different generations. The very old, predominantly women - the very young (up to about 10), predomiantly women . . . as I work with children, and support the church across a wide area in my role, I am wondering where the modelling of the genders working together with children is. It is ironic that here, as in other areas of ministry, that those with a national / strategic lead on children's ministry are men (despite the fact that in the local church they are under represented), Ishmael, Jim Bailey, Doug Horley . . . all great, but the question is where are the men in the local church - and where are the women when it comes to leadership and speaking nationally about children's ministry?

Jenny Baker

Thanks Ali - good observations. The gender imbalance is a problem in primary schools, childcare and early years education as well with relatively few men involved in spite of parents asking for them. http://blog.sophianetwork.org.uk/2009/01/a-job-for-the-boys.html One problem is that men who want to work with that age group can face suspicions about their motivation; another is the gender stereotype that it's women's work and not appropriate for 'real' men. How sad that either of those have currency. I actually think this could be a huge service and mission opportunity for the church if we had the vision to take it.

Sharon Prior

I totally agree with you, Ali. I have tried to challenge this several times with people who are running conferences for Children's Workers. So many times the ones up front talking about vision and strategy for children's work are men, as if women have nothing to say about this and yet the majority of workers on the ground are women. So I think we have a problem in both situations.

It is encouraging though, I am Course leader on the Children's Evangelism and Nurture Diploma at Cliff College and this year we have the most men on the course since it started 10 years ago. Still not a big percentage (9 men and 25 women = 26%), but they are there. We are praying that more men come forward for this kind of training.

We need to work hard to get women represented at a national level in children's work, it is hard to see what we can do, but we mustn't give up!

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