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I remember reading Phylicia Masonheimer’s now-viral post “Dear Women’s Ministry, Stop Telling I’m Beautiful” back in 2017.
As a women’s ministry leader, it was convicting. Had I been guilty of offering events that offer an easy message? Absolutely.
When I heard Phylicia was writing an entire book on this topic, I couldn’t wait to read it!
A self-proclaimed theologian, Phylicia continuously pushes women to go deeper. To know the Word of God for themselves. To know who God is. Her goal is “to teach you how to discern truth, discuss the deep stuff, and be driven to accomplish the will of God.”
The book, Stop Calling Me Beautiful: Finding Soul-Deep Strength in a Skin-Deep World, addresses common issues and practices of many Christian women, women’s ministry teams, and Christian authors.
Written with a boldness and honesty most of us will wrestle with, Phylicia states, “We need more than ‘pink fluff’ theology of out-of-context Bible verses, compliments to our personalities that never challenge us to grow, and topical messages about womanhood and identity. We are tired of the Bible being watered down and made palatable. We need and want truth, because only truth will set us free.”
As I said, she doesn’t sugar-coat it.
Stop Calling Me Beautiful highlights three primary problems with the messages of many female Christian influencers.
Think about the books you’ve read and conferences you’ve attended and see if you can relate.
1. The message is theologically deficient.
“Modern women’s ministry’s framework for presenting and understanding God contains pieces of truth, but these pieces do not present an accurate picture of God and the gospel. Women walk away with a Christianity that is all verses and flowery feelings and has no power for daily life.”
2. The message is self-focused.
“The messages preached to us almost inevitably focus on…us. While it might seem logical that if we focus on ourselves more, we’ll change ourselves for the better, that’s not how discipleship works. Turning our eyes to Jesus is how we’re transformed.”
3. The message is superficial.
“Modern American expressions of Christianity, especially among women, are focused on emotional, rather than intellectual, aspects of faith. With their limited knowledge of Scripture, Christian women are left ill-equipped to defend what they believe in the public sphere and are even less equipped to face testing.”
While I hope and pray these things can’t be said of your women’s ministry, I know these issues are ones that cause many leaders to struggle.
We think our women don’t want depth because they are drawn to the pink and fluffy. In reality, the Holy Spirit is calling them to go deeper.
Phylicia isn’t one to just point out the problems; she also offers up solutions including deep Bible study (check out my resource for teaching women how to read the Word) and community. Women’s ministry can be part of the solution!
Stop Calling Me Beautiful goes on to tackle many issues women struggle with today – brokenness, shame, guilt, fear, legalism, anxiety, grief, and lust.
Phylicia weaves scripture passages with personal stories and points women to the one place hope and freedom can be found.
Each chapter concludes with discussion questions, perfect for personal reflection and to guide a group discussion.
If you want to push your women toward a deeper faith, this is the book you’ll want to add to your Summer Book Club reading list.
If you want to move your women’s ministry team members beyond self-focused, light teachings, this is the book you need to read as a team.
I have no doubt there are women in your church who are on fire for the Lord. You likely are one of them! What if we could fan the flames by offering richer, deeper, theologically sound events, messages, and activities? Can you imagine what God would do through the women in your church for His glory?!
Disclosure: I served as a member of the launch team for Stop Calling Me Beautiful and received an advanced reader copy to review. I received no monetary compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.
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