The availability and variety of ministries to women that exist today are exponentially more than what I found when I was a new believer and getting more involved in church. Our church hosted women’s Bible studies, women’s luncheons, and the majority of us worked together in the nursery. I was a stay-at-home mom and these ministries provided value to me during that particular phase of my life.
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Today, many women work in and out of the home, which makes their lives busier than ever. The ways women impact the world–both in their home and in the workplace–amazes me. I recently read a series of articles in a secular business magazine that spoke about high achievers who are making a difference in their world. And half were women.
Churches today offer an array of ministries, events, and opportunities for those who visit and attend. Women’s ministries have always been part of that; however, the expectations are higher than ever for pastors and staff to address the needs and ideas of women. The social and emotional needs of women are rapidly changing as well. How can we ensure that women are being met where they are at in their phase of life?
1. Offer various ministries for various life phases
The needs and life phases of the women in your church are vast and widespread. Don’t put certain aged women into one narrow box. Evaluate the different life phases of the females in your congregation and ensure there is a place for all women to feel comfortable and grow. Allow women to take part in various ministries that cater to the challenges and trials they are experiencing. Have an open ear for the needs of women that need extra TLC or that are not being reached. Check in with your ministry leaders frequently to see how the church serve those in need.
2. Provide areas for spiritual growth, as well as emotional support
The spiritual development of women should be of utmost importance when looking at ministries; however, make sure not to neglect the emotional encouragement of women as well. Organizations such as Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) provide an encouraging environment for moms to interact and grow together. While there is a spiritual element, the program is not centered around an expositional Bible study during their meetings. Don’t overlook opportunities for fellowship for women; however, don’t allow opportunities for fellowship come at the expense of spiritual growth.
3. Create a culture of mentorship
When we first moved to Dallas to attend Dallas Seminary, I was contacted by the wife of one of the professors to see if she could come to meet me and my family. She also invited me to attend a meeting just for women each Thursday. Sometimes it was a theological discussion, but many times it was about how to balance wife, mother, employee, children, lack of funds, illness, exhaustion, etc. Things we needed to hear, but we were encouraged by those who had already gone through these things.
Women talk to women naturally, but how refreshing it would be to have a regular funnel of encouragement and help from someone who has walked in your shoes and can give you wisdom. A ministry where the older women mentor the younger women is priceless. Consider how to integrate a mentorship ministry for the women (and men!) in your church body.
With the increasingly busy lives we all live, make sure you are communicating to the women of your church. And not just in the Sunday bulletin. Share about the different ministries from the pulpit, through Twitter, through Facebook, in church emails and mailings. Don’t assuming that one avenue of communication is reaching the women of your church. Look for opportunities to share about what’s going on in the ministries to women and invite the women to join you.
5. Eliminate Schedule Barriers
When creating a ministry schedule or calendar, make sure your scheduling isn’t isolating a group of women. Make sure working women can get involved by having activities in the evening or weekends. Offer childcare during meeting times, so women without alternate childcare options can attend. If men or youth events are going on, try to coordinate the women’s event so spouses and/or families can participate in events at the same time. Looking at scheduling ahead of time will give you more opportunities to include a larger amount of women, while eliminating scheduling barriers that might otherwise keep them from getting involved.
The structure and set-up of your activities can assist you in making an impact through ministries to women. Foster an environment of growth, encouragement and support, as you seek to empower women to become more active and instrumental for the growth of the body of Christ.
Susan Malphurs is the Executive Vice President of the Malphurs Group, an HR, Outreach, and Leadership consultant, blogger at malphursgroup.com/blog, wife, mother, and grandmother. | @susanmalphurs
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