Women’s ministry is often one of the toughest ministry groups to start and keep thriving in the church. Women in the church span across generations, with different backgrounds, lifestyles, schedules, and church experiences. This can make having an effective women’s ministry a challenge.
Women’s ministry should be a place that women of all ages and backgrounds can find friendship, support and encouragement, as well as spiritual growth and accountability. Women have a desire to be ministered to and long for a sense of belonging, as well as a place they can grow in their faith. So why is it so hard to get women involved in women’s ministry?
One of the biggest challenges is overcoming the stereotype of women’s ministry in the church. Unfortunately, most younger women in the church do not get involved. Some may think it’s a ministry for their moms or grandmothers, but that shouldn’t be the case!
Women are hungry for relationships and spiritual growth as well as authenticity in other women. As women, we need to step outside of the box in how we look at women’s ministry and overcome the stereotypes that discourage others from getting involved! The twenty-something generation wants a different women’s ministry then what their mothers and grandmother’s have been a part of for years. It’s time to make a change. But don’t get me wrong, their mothers and grandmothers still need to be included as well. It’s time we reach across the generations and start ministering and connecting with all women!
Younger women are searching for Godly wisdom and relational connection with those older than them, especially in the faith. However, making that connection with the older generation can sometimes feel uncomfortable or intimidating. However, the older generations would probably love to make the connection and be able to pour into those younger than them. This relationship has the potential to be mutually beneficial! The younger generation can learn from the wisdom of those older then them, and the older generation will be left feeling like they are making a difference.
How can we, as women’s ministry leaders, bridge the gap between the generations? Here are some tips to consider when thinking about how to reach everyone in your women’s ministry:
Offer options to get connected with everyone through a variety of activities like Bible study small groups, and in a variety of settings (homes, coffee shops, etc.) Be intentional about making all of the women in your church feel connected to the ministry. Encourage visitors and remind the women to invite one or two friends to join them at the next event or Bible study. Sometimes it just takes someone making an effort to invite that makes others feel valued and included.
Consider doing something out of the box with a new Bible study small group. Women want more than just a prepackaged Bible study on video or a book to go through and discuss set questions written by the author. Those are great and oftentimes will work for those just starting a new women’s ministry, but why not take it deeper? If you, or another leader in your women’s ministry, are ready to take the next step in ministering women, consider putting together your own study, or expanding upon an existing study to make it your own.
How you can tailor your study to reach the women of your church and community? Think about the stage of life they may be in. Consider the day-to-day life of the twenty-somethings, moms, grandmothers, etc. and how you can reach each of them. Be intentional in what you choose to focus your study on and the direction you choose to take. You will want to have a plan that will not only initially encourage and make the women want to join in, but also stay connected and engaged throughout the entire study.
Incorporate real life stories and testimonials from different women in your church and group. Yes, stories found in a book or on the Internet can be impactful but how much more impactful can a story be that’s shared by one of your own? This is a great way to help the women in your group relate to each other, as well as support and encourage one another. Consider having this person record a video testimonial or type something out that could be read to the group, if they are unable to join in. Regardless of the medium of delivery, the personal touch will still make an impact on the women in your ministry!
If you aren’t ready to start from scratch and completely write your own Bible study, that’s ok. There are other resources out there available to help get you started. Are some of the ladies in your church eager to do the new Beth Moore or Priscilla Shirer study that just came out? Go ahead, start a group based on that study that peaked their interest, but be challenged to go further and make it your own! As you facilitate the group and prepare for each week, look for ways you can make it more impactful to the women you are ministering to. Come up with your own discussion questions that will meet them where they are. Do additional studying on the scriptures or topic of the week and bring your own thoughts that you feel God is directing you.
Are you ready to take that extra step and start a new Bible study but need a place to start? Check out WomensMinistryTools.com for some inspiration. WomensMinistryTools.com has some great resources to help you put together your own teachings or Bible study as well as other tips and resources for women’s ministry.
Don’t end there! In addition to Bible studies and small groups, scheduling occasional fellowship or social activities for the women in your church and community is a great way to reach out and get more women engaged. When planning events be conscious of the ages and lifestyles of the women. Think about how you can incorporate certain activities or interests that will attract women of all ages. Be careful not to just throw an event together for fun with no real meaning or purpose though. Always try to tie in some type of ministry and/or true relationship building. Women want to have a good time and spend time together but you will also want to fill the spiritual need for more of God every time you get together.