January 9, 2013

Starting a Women's Ministry (Practicals)

In my last post, I shared the philosophy behind our church’s women’s ministry: process rather than events. We want women to enter the process through women’s events or through Sunday mornings but quickly move into one-on-one or small group discipleship relationships. This is not a perfect or easy process but we believe that spiritual growth happens best in these relationships, not in large group events. (You can find out more about this process here.)
 Once I nailed down my philosophy for women’s ministry, I had to flesh it out in very practical ways.

The first thing I did was gather a team of women around me who were already investing in the women in our church. At first there were just three of us but now we’ve added three more to our team. We talked about the whys of what we wanted to do, our areas of passion and spiritual gifts, as well as the needs we saw in our church. How could we create something that would meet these needs but also meet the needs women might not even know they had?

We prayed, talked, thought, and brainstormed. As a team, we formulated a basic structure for our women’s ministry that we have since built upon: we would provide one or two relationally-heavy events throughout the year so that women could come together and cultivate friendships, we would share the vision for our women’s ministry, we would meet tangible needs for the many new moms in our church, we would constantly encourage discipleship relationships, and we would provide discipleship training opportunities.

We currently have a six-member women’s ministry team, each of us with an area of focus. These areas fit the needs and makeup of our church but also the philosophy of our ministry: discipleship, events, meals for new moms, Bible study, college women, and Side by Side (a ministry to medical wives).

We’ve fallen into a routine for our calendar year, which includes a women’s community group, a fall day retreat, a bi-annual discipleship training, opportunities to get into formalized discipleship relationships twice a year, a spring brunch, an overnight retreat, and summer swim days. Our Bible study is a new offering, which evolved from a bi-monthly get together and discussion at my house for new moms.

In all these things, we try to create an environment of warmth, honest conversation, and relationship. We also encourage women to pursue other women through these natural relationships for discipleship. Our women’s ministry is not perfect, but we continue to evolve. Who knows where our ministry will evolve next!

I hope this is helpful in some way. Perhaps you could share with us and help us? What are practical things you’re doing to reach women in your church? Please share in the comments below.

The countdown continues. Just 22 days until the book’s release!