When I sit and ponder what my life has looked like, I remember all the crazy and hard times I have walked through. When I was three, I saw my two-year-old brother fall off a three-story fire escape head first. He is still alive today. My father struggled with drugs and alcohol but was saved by the Lord and to this day is a man of faith. Giving birth to our firstborn son should have been joyful, but it was filled with fears and tears as he struggled to survive. He is 12 now! I could have miscarried our second child but she is nine now. I miscarried during my third pregnancy. While it was painful for me, it was also purposeful. My fourth pregnancy was a difficult one because I had cholestasis during pregnancy, and my little girl could have been stillborn. She is now four. There have been times when I was not liked much by others.
Through these difficult and uncomfortable times, I’ve grown to stay faithful to God, tighten my prayer life and continue developing that personal relationship with Him. My relationship with our Father helps me lead His people better. All this to say that God is faithful! Prayer has been a critical component in my life in all that I do for His Glory. Times will get difficult in your personal life and your ministry work, but staying faithful to what God’s word says and His promises keep us grounded in the calling He has placed in our lives.
When we think about ministering to women, I think about all of these experiences and challenges I have walked through and how blessed we are to come alongside women who are walking through their own challenging circumstances. How can we rethink women’s ministry, allowing us to develop deep relationships and discipleship opportunities with and for the women in our church?
Three Simple Questions To Consider
We all would love to see a women’s ministry full of women who reach other women, where the women in our churches are building relationships with each other, doing life together, and learning how to find a healthy biblical balance in life.
When you’re looking to build a women’s ministry in your church that looks like that, here are three simple questions to ask yourself.
- What should it look like?
- What should be its purpose?
- How do you get there?
PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17
When beginning a ministry, you need to start with the basics: 1. your relationship with Christ and 2. prayer. If the desire is placed deep in your heart and you feel the nudge to develop a ministry to the women in your church, you will need to practice dependence on God for help.You want to make sure that God is calling you to take this step and the best way to know this is from Him is to seek Him in prayer.
Pray and ask our Father about starting a ministry at your church. Ask Him, “Lord, is my heart ready? Show me where I stand before you and grow me so that I may help other women and see them grow in their faith.” Ask the Lord for the strength to continue leading the women’s ministry for as long as He needs you. Ask that God would enable you to stand firm in the faith even when the storms come. Share your ministry vision with your church leadership so that they can be praying with you and for you. When you’re leading a women’s ministry, you deal with women with different attitudes, social backgrounds, and cultures. There has to be a level of understanding, peace, and wisdom that you can only receive from our Lord, who understands us more than anyone else.
“Day by day, continuing with one mind in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47
Building relationships should be one of the primary purposes of a women’s ministry, and it has to start within the leadership of that ministry. If you are doing this alone, ask the Lord to show you who can come alongside you to help in the ministry. Build a team and then invest time building relationships within your team. Pray together. Spend time talking about whom you are trying to reach. Are you trying to reach young moms, working women, young singles, or older women? Then start intentionally doing life with the women of your church.
If you’re cooking for your family, invite a sister over and cook together. Have the families come together and enjoy the meal together. Are you going shopping? Invite a sister to come along and shop together. Are you dropping off the children at school? Maybe leave a little earlier and drop them all off together. Get to know each other – the good, bad, and the ugly—all of it. The best ministry and discipleship you will experience will happen in the context of these relationships. Don’t rush past building relationships just because you are interested in having a new program. Elevate, value, and invest in relationships.
HOW CAN WE REACH THOSE INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH?
“But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.” Jeremiah 1:7
Ask the question and then look at it with fresh eyes. Sometimes we can miss new ideas in the busyness of ministry or because we are overcommitted to propping up old methods that seem to have lost their impact. It is important to continue searching for fresh and creative ways to engage the women of your church. I would encourage you to make it a practice of asking our Father for innovative ideas to reach your community. Try new things. Ask other churches what they have found to be effective. Experiment.
Here are some examples we found to be effective:
- One-on-one discipleship: We have developed a one-on-one discipleship training program where women can pour into each other’s lives. We love this program because it ensures that each woman in our church has the opportunity to grow in grace through the assistance of another sister, therefore keeping us accountable to God and aligned with the Scriptures as it relates to “making disciples.” (We also use this method for men’s discipleship in our church.)
- Prayer Videos on Social Media: Creating a 7-10 minute video sharing a bible verse and praying for what God has placed in your heart and encouraging the women to pray together and for one another.
- Devotionals (Print or Social Media): Have your women who are already established in the faith write a devotional to encourage and uplift each other.
- Unity Building Activities: These are fun and straightforward ways to build relationships and enjoy life together through learning and laughter. (retreats, conferences, luncheons, fun nights, etc.)
Note: We also make sure to have opportunities throughout the year for women to participate in Bible studies, applying academic discipline to the study of the Bible, as well as topical studies that allow women the opportunity to dive deeper into a specific topic. While most churches have these opportunities available, I didn’t want to pass them by.
Women’s ministry doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, keeping it simple is the best strategy. Focus on the basics of discipleship, prayer and Bible study. And start the whole process by intentionally building relationships with the women in your community.