I don’t have the patience for crafting, my baking skills leave a lot to be desired, and I prefer jeans over dresses. If pink, floral prints and lace are prerequisites to being involved in woman’s ministry, then I’m not even qualified to write this article. The key to effectively serve the women in your church is to realize that they are not all the same. Each woman’s story is as unique as the individuals they represent. Broaden your vision of what a women’s ministry should be rather than cater to a small segment of the population. There are many things to consider when setting out to establish an effective woman’s ministry.
How to Start a Women’s Ministry in Your Church
First let’s define Ministry
Ministry is from a Greek word meaning “to serve”. It’s not a self-fulfilling kind of service, but specifically serving for the benefit of another. Scripture teaches us that all the law and the prophets can be summed up in two things: 1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and 2. Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22: 36-40). We miss the mark on any ministry effort if we fail to acknowledge these important precepts. Essentially a women’s ministry is a place to practice loving God and loving others, within the context of our unique roles as women.
Are you qualified to lead?
What I am not saying here is “have you arrived?” The fact is, learning and changing is a never-ending process. God calls people to serve Him at all levels of their walk with Him. What I am saying is that there are spiritual and practical considerations to make:
Have you put significant time into studying and are you a student of God’s Word? It is difficult to lead according to the scripture if you are ignorant about what it says. If you read and study, are you obedient to it? Are you teachable? On the more practical side of things, do you have the time to follow through with the commitment of leading? Can you build a team and delegate? Do you have leadership ability? Are you willing to speak publically? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, this is not a call to throw in the towel, roll up your sleeves and work out the deficiencies. Like I said before, change is a continuing process.
Present to the leadership in your church
Draw up an outline of why you think a woman’s ministry would be important to the woman in your church and in your community. Talk about the burden that God has put on your heart to minister and serve. Share general knowledge of how it will look in the beginning and how it will grow from there. Always include logistics. Keep in mind this is an initial meeting where you present an outline, not a detailed plan.
Surround yourself with wise council
“Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel will stand.” (Proverbs 19:20-21, NKJV). So you want success? Surround yourself with Godly influences and the council of God’s Word. It is heart-wrenching to put so much effort into a desire only to see it swallowed up in failure. Delight first in the wisdom of God and he will give you the desires of your heart. Seek Him in all your efforts and He will bring it to pass.
Present your ideas to the other women
You are seeking to minister to women; it would probably be a good idea to connect with your target group. Meet with the women in your church and get to know them. Your group will most likely include daughters, wives, mothers, students, professionals and everything in between, but with all this diversity comes many similarities too. Most of us desire a sense of community, a place to pray together, to share our life stories and discover that we are not alone. We want to find relief from having to focus on appearance and current style trends to really focus on the identity we have in God. Some of us would like to discuss politics, wrestle with doctrine, and exchange book reviews. We would like to serve and be empowered to serve. Really, the list could go on and on. Give women a platform and an opportunity to speak for themselves.
Choose purpose driven study tools
It can be intimidating looking for the resources and tools to start any ministry and in particular, women’s groups. When you Google “study material for woman” you get more than a handful of recommendations. There are a couple of principles that will help in selecting meaningful study aids.
- Consider your audience, prayerfully and relationally: Meet with God, meet with the women in your church.
- Understand your objective: Encourage woman to grow closer to God and each other.
Work out the logistics
Logistical biggies include setup, seating, hospitality, childcare, refreshments and tear-down. If you utilize church property, make sure you reserve space ahead of time and coordinate with the church administrator. Homes work really well for smaller groups but also require advance planning. Regardless of the size of your group and event, consider childcare or make your event/meeting child-friendly so that moms can come too.
Let the planning begin
You’ve got a good foundation, now it time to pull it all together – recruiting reliable team leaders, establishing care groups, implementing invite strategies, and applying the discipline of constant preparation.
Women’s Ministry should encourage women to grow in their faith and walk with the Lord. We should create an environment where we can reflect God’s character in all areas of life no matter what stage. The aim is to strengthen friendships and relationships with other women, and provide opportunities to serve and impact our church, our community and our world.