What do you think the responses would be if you asked the average Christian; what is ministry? I think people would say Pastor, elder, they may say student pastor, youth pastor, children’s and families worker, but it generally stops there. Sadly, one of the things that is lacking in so many churches is someone who is intentionally doing ministry for women. But in many cases, even if there is an employed women’s worker, people think that it must look like crafts events, afternoon tea and formal stuff. That is so wrong!

Unexceptional is an exceptional book (see what I did there?). Seriously, if you do not have this book then you need to buy it! I picked it up thinking “Yeah, it’ll be interesting, but I’m not really the intended audience for it” Oh how wrong I was! I started the book and literally couldn’t put it down until I’d read it all. This book is written for women, for the wives of pastors, for women thinking about ministry, for pastors thinking about taking on a women’s worker.

In this book you find stories of women who are serving the Lord faithfully in many different contexts, each different from each other. You’ll hear stories of how they were converted, how they use their past experiences (as hard as they may be) for the glory of God and the upbuilding of His church. In this book you’ll find a philosophy of ministry that will equip women to be wonderfully gifted disciples who go and make more disciples.

“As Christians we have a bad habit of complicating and structuring what is such a simple and natural thing: mentoring and discipleship – doing life together” 

I love Sharon’s honesty here and I find myself shouting AMEN! discipleship does not fit into a mould, discipleship is not a ‘one size fits all’ model that every Christian must be squeezed into. Discipleship is one sinful broken but redeemed person showing another sinful broken redeemed person how to live out faith in a broken world. That is what this book shows you!

Discipleship doesn’t happen if you throw a book at someone or if you stick them on the newest most trendy course. Discipleship happens when two people live life together, go through the ups and downs together and spur each other on to holiness and to live out the Great Commission.

In this book you’ll find the stories of 8 different women and how they faithfully serve the Lord in different contexts. One minute you’ll be in Niddrie Community Church (Edinburgh), the next you’ll be in Brazil, then Baltimore, Virginia and Middlesbrough. In each chapter you’ll be swept into different kinds of ministries, you’ll see how God is so gracious and kind and you’ll see the wonderful things that He has done and continues to do with and through these women.

Not only that, but at the end of each chapter the women explain practical principles that they’ve learned over the years. These insights are golden and are the result of ups and down, they are the practical wisdom of women who have served the Lord and have the scars to prove it. In these stories you’ll be able to learn from the mistakes of others, develop ministry in a healthy, organic and Biblical way and you’ll be encouraged to praise God that He gives strength to weak humans to do work for His Kingdom.

At the end of each chapter you’ll find discussion questions and helpful resources that helped that person develop ministry, grow in their understanding of God and helped them think about how they can best serve Him.

One of the things that I love about this book is that it is so helpful and it shows the importance of living-life-discipleship. Discipleship can take many different forms, but too often we forget that just rubbing shoulders with each other can be really helpful. Living life together means that you won’t always see the polished ‘Sunday best Christian’ but you’ll see the reality of faith lived out, the reality of what it means to be a Christian day in and day out.

20Schemes do a wonderful job of equipping women to serve the local church, they train and disciple people to serve the Lord in their own context, with their own gifts and all for His Glory. If you don’t know the ministry yet, check it out here. This is a new website that they have created to equip the local churches.

I seriously recommend that you buy this book, you can pick it up for just £5.99, it will be money well spent! Be inspired by what God has done, be challenged to be a disciple that makes disciples, be encouraged to see more women discipled in the local church and be pointed to the wonderful work of the Lord being done by faithful women across the globe.

Rating 5/5 (If I could, I’d give it a 10, seriously buy the book!)

Sharon Dickens is the Director of Women’s Ministry at 20schemes, a ministry of Niddrie Community Church.