A few months back, at a Women’s Ministry Council meeting, one of the speakers shared something that I can’t stop thinking about. I’ve mentioned it before… but it is on my mind today. So, I’m guessing either I need to be reminded about it or someone needs to hear it.
As a member of the leadership team for our Women’s Ministry, I have spent a lot of time researching the subject. We want to make sure that we offer activities that interest the women of our church. We want to account for the various ages, stages of life, marital statuses, and availability of the women who make up our body. At the same time, we must find balance with the church schedule and other ministries. A ministry should not overwhelm the calendar, but meet the needs of those whom the ministry is intended to serve.
We can not please all the people… all of the time. We can, however, please some of the people some of the time.
What is interesting to me, as I researched the subject of Women’s Ministry over the years, is that there are a LOT of opinions on what IS and ISN’T an effective Women’s Ministry. There are open letters, on blogs, about what we don’t need. Things like fancy brunches, with hired in speakers. We don’t want fluff, we want substance. Deeper studies, testimonies, formal education, accountability, prayer groups, etc.
On the other hand, you will find women who are happy with their Sunday services and small groups, who are looking for social connections. They want to fellowship, build long lasting friendships and create community. If you try and research Women’s Ministry on the internet, I promise you…
You will be more confused than you started.
So, what DOES an effective Women’s Ministry look like? How do we really know what Women’s Ministry looks like, for our church?
1) Ask Your Church – This may seem like a no-brainer, but really it is the easiest and most over looked starting place. You don’t have to sit down with a team of women, and decide what you think the women want out of the women’s ministry. A simple or complex survey is always a great starting place. It also gives you are great way to find out what women from your church want to help. Not everyone is called to a leadership position, but many are willing to be the hands and feet when needed.
Also, be sure to ask your Church Leadership. It is important to know from the staff, what the vision the Church has for the ministry. What is their “measure of success” and also what would their concerns & boundaries for the ministry look like. Nothing can hamper a ministry like the lack of communication between the team and the church leaders
2) Reference, but Don’t Imitate Other Churches – A great starting point for building a ministry is to look at what other churches in your area, denomination or similar size to your church are doing. However, I would caution you to not make your Women’s Ministry identical to their ministry. The women of your church, they may want something entirely different. However, knowing what other churches are doing will give you a launching point.
3) Start with Variety – In the beginning have a calendar that offers some variety. You may have events on weekdays, weeknights, weekends, one day retreats, or weekend long get away. Your activities may include brunches, ladies night out, dinners, movies, bible studies, community service, church service, etc. Have events where baby sitting is provided (for free or a small fee), and have events where there is no baby sitting provided. Variety helps you reach the whole body of women, but over the course of time with different events.
4) Review Every Event You Hold – Establish a guideline for your ministry, something that you measure every event against. It might be guideline the church leadership suggested, a verse, a mission statement, or even establish a scoring system with the ministry team. When each event is over, run it by this guideline & determine if it was a success. If it was a success and meets the criteria your ministry established, repeat it again. If there was low attendance or the outcome wasn’t what you expected, you know to let it go (at least for the immediate future).
It’s easy to write an open letter about what YOU want in a Women’s Ministry. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, what YOU need, and what the woman sitting a few pews away from you needs… may be entirely different.
The best way to impact your Women’s Ministry doesn’t begin in open letters on the internet, but instead starts when you join the team.