NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--No matter how godly a male student minister is, he will never be able to teach a teenage girl how to be a godly woman. She needs a godly woman to do that.
Given that truth, churches need to have ministry devoted specifically to teenage girls led by godly women of several generations, girls' ministry leaders say.
"Most churches have student ministries that are run by a man," said Pam Gibbs, director of girls' ministry at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. "Most of the programming is more masculine than feminine -- camps, active events, loud things. That's not a criticism in any way. It's almost impossible to incorporate masculine and feminine activities in one group."
Gibbs wasn't saying that girls won't enjoy camp and the crazy activities that student groups sometimes do. But girls need more, she said. They need to form relationships with godly women, older than themselves, and learn from them.
That is where girls' ministry comes in.
To prepare women and girls for ministry, LifeWay offered its second Girls' Ministry Forum in February. About 300 women and girls attended, a 25 percent increase over last year's forum.
Jimmie Davis, considered a pioneer in girls' ministry, has been involved in girls' ministry for more than 25 years. Davis is from First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C.
"We, as women, have a responsibility to be involved in ministry to girls," she said. "It's unreasonable to expect men, no matter how well meaning, to do that."
She said that while she knows it is not her job as girls' ministry leader to be with every girl, it is her responsibility to see that every girl has a godly woman with whom she can have a relationship.
"Girls need the relationship with an older, godly woman," Davis said. "They need to see women who have stood the test of time in their marriages, as mothers and as women of God. They need to see that it is possible to succeed in these areas."
When ministering to girls, there will always be some drama, Davis said, but leaders can't let themselves be sucked into that.
"It's important that we put away our childish ways and put on the armor of God," she said. "Girls and drama will always go together, but as women leading them in our churches, we have to help them learn to channel that emotional power in positive ways."
Dealing with drama before it ever starts is the best way to keep issues from escalating, she said.
Gibbs said she was encouraged to see ministries specifically targeted for teenage girls as a growing trend in churches.
"I see girls' ministry at a place now where women's ministry was 15 years ago. It's growing."
Other speakers and conference leaders included Sissy Goff and Melissa Trevathan from Daystar Counseling Ministries in Nashville, Tenn.; Emily Cole, Cindy Lumpkin and Gibbs from LifeWay; Amy Pierson from Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas; and Leslie Hudson from First Baptist Church in Dickson, Tenn. The Sonflowerz, sisters Elissa and Becca Leander from Colorado Springs, Colo., led the music and worship times.
The next forum will be Feb. 24-25, 2012, at LifeWay in Nashville.
Polly House writes for LifeWay Christian Resources.
Visit www.lifeway.com/girlsministry for more information.