While I haven’t yet formulated all my thoughts on this subject, it feels like something God is stirring in me during this new baby church plant. And I’m thankful for it because I think it really matters.
The subject I’m referring to is Church Girl Culture.
It’s a real thang!
And I believe every woman leader/pastor in the church should periodically assess the health of this particular and oftentimes subtle subculture.
Whether we’ve really taken time to think about it or not, I believe every church has a girl culture.
When I was in Jr. High, I was not popular in my Sunday school class. All the girls in the class were from the same school but I went to another school. There was one girl who didn’t like me and she was the ringleader. Needless to say, I went home from church crying every Sunday.
I couldn’t wait to be in the high school youth group where kids from all different schools came together to love God and bring their friends to church! That did eventually happen for me and seriously, THANK GOD FOR HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH GROUP! Those were some of my most formable spiritual moments as a young person, where I not only felt accepted and loved, but I became a ringleader who tried my best to be inclusive.
As an adult, I have been apart of 4 different churches where I have not only attended regularly, but I have had opportunities to serve and lead. And every church had its church culture and every church had what I call “church girl culture.” Some were awesome! And some reminded me of Jr. High.
What I’ve realized about us women is that there’s often much more going on in the atmosphere between us than what’s being verbalized. Ever thought you were picking up on another girls vibe, internalized it, made a conclusion and later realized all of it was bogus? It was all in your head and how you interpreted what that girl did or sometimes didn’t do mattered so much that it affected you more than it probably should have?
While I know this doesn’t just happen in church, the church can be one of the most brutal environments for us women. A place where our comparison game is confronted hardcore. Where our insecurities feel so raw and tender AND our greatest enemy……pride, makes sure no-one sees it, hears it or smells it…..leaving places in our heart, isolated, confused and hurt.
Don’t get me wrong, we lift our hands in worship and we bow our knees in prayer surrendering to Jesus all these insecurities and feelings we fight…..but the truth is, Jesus is asking for more.
While he loves that we’re bringing him into our wrestling, I sense over and over again in my life, Jesus wants me to invite other girls into these vulnerable and sometimes shameful places inside me. (James 5:16 is on point here!) I often beg God…”Can’t I just work this out with YOU and the WORD and the power of the Holy Spirit? Do I have to bring others into the secret immature embarrassing thoughts and struggles inside me? I’ll read another book about my identity in Christ and then I won’t have these problems anymore.”
Last week a new girl came to our small group. One of her friends, who regularly attends brought her because she felt in her heart that her friend could really benefit from Godly community. This new girl came unsure of what to expect; judgy Christian girls, open minded girls who wouldn’t be offended by her swear words or hopefully, possibly, girls who would just be kind and caring.
As the new girl told us about how she became friends with the friend that brought her, she said this, “Molly (fake name), is my soul click chick.”
“We met a while ago and while I have friends all around me who don’t love God, Molly does and it felt like we were soul sisters who just clicked!”
And I had an ah-ha moment!
SOUL CLICK CHICK
The language stood out to me so significantly as she shared her story.
I realized that among all her friends, it was the girl in her life who loved Jesus that she felt a SOUL connection with. The kind of connection I believe God breathes on so he can reveal himself through the bonds of a friend who will accept you for you are. Ever had one of those?
Click. Not to be confused with clique, which we all know can be an unhealthy reality of church girl culture. No, she said, click. Click like when I click the remote control and the tv turns on. Instant. Quick. Happens easily. Don’t you love meeting other girls you just click with?!
Chick. My favorite part; Women, Girlfriends!, Sisters.
Girls in church have been some of the most incredible friends, leaders and powerful relationships in my life. But they’ve also been some of the most painful. Sometimes it was what girls/women/leaders did and sometimes it was what they didn’t do that I remember so vividly and still need Jesus healing touch for. And sometimes it was just me. Thinking I needed to make sure the girl beside me knew I was more spiritual than her, or thinking the girl beside me was more spiritual than me and feeling inferior. (Read that sentence a couple more times) Are you guilty of these thoughts or behavior?
As a Pastor, who never imagined I’d be a pastor back in those Jr. High days, a deep prayer in my heart is to lead our church girl culture to be beautiful. To be an atmosphere where there’s always room for one more. No matter her look, her weight, her sexual identity, her style, her vibe or her potty mouth. 🙂
There’s something God can do in us ONLY when we open up to another girl. Another valued and cherished daughter of the King, who whether she knows it or not, has the ability to love and accept the girl beside her as she presses through her own real struggles.
And there’s a mission in the world God has that only women who come together can fulfill. I believe this with all my heart, especially this past week as I watched via social media the message and passion of a girls conference called, Colour. Their mission? To be a gathering of women that remain, at her core, about those less fortunate.
We don’t always see each other as sisters very quickly. I have a sister and she is my best friend. No one will have the place in my heart she does. The bond of sisterhood is so precious and not easily come by. But friendship. Friendship is sweet and deep and powerful and rich in love and care. That we can do! Until we become……..sisters.
Practically, how do we create healthy girl culture in our churches? A smile goes a long way, even to the girl who never smiles back. A seat saved for a friend, more like 5 seats saved, so a couple new girls can join in. Conversations with the girl who never seems that interested but one day you realize, your attempt made all the difference Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. Prayerfully and carefully interpret the vibes you think you’re picking up. And finally…..Invitations! Invitations! Invitations! Girls want to be INCLUDED. If I’ve learned anything, it’s this. For many of us to understand the inclusion and love of Jesus, sometimes it takes a genuine girlfriend to share his love first. If we’re honest, each of us has a girl or two that is hard to be around, really hard, often exhausting that we just don’t want to spend with……those girls especially, need us not to give up on them.
May we be aware of church girl culture. May we be intentional about its reality in our midst. And may girls experience the beauty of Jesus as we encounter one another. There are soul click chicks among us! May we truly see each other and may our bond be so strong, it impacts the world.
Me and Obsi on a Sunday morning at Kalos!