One question we had recently at one of our YOULead training events was: How can we welcome women into the community of the church? One of the benefits of having a ministry with women is making sure not one falls through the cracks. If a woman does not find her “niche” in the church, she may be uninvolved in anything except worship, or she may leave and find a place where she does find her “niche”. So, what can we do to ensure that each new woman becomes fully involved in the body of believers she attends?
Many churches have some sort of assimilation program for new members or attendees. If you can connect with those who oversee that ministry, you can include any women’s information in whatever is provided. Perhaps, you can even ask to attend those meetings and personally get to know and invite them to be a part of what is happening for women at your church. If there is not an already established ministry done by the church as a whole, consider a New Member Shepherding type of ministry for women. Pray for a team of women who are very relational. In teams of two, they can commit to a specific month or quarter for this ministry. Whoever joins during that time frame would become their “sheep”. They would have 5-7 touches with them to make sure they have had opportunity to get to know the church, the women and the ways she can be involved in growing and serving.
Ideas for those touches include: visiting her at home, taking information about the church and answering any questions she might have; inviting her and taking her to the next women’s activity with a complimentary ticket if necessary; calling to check on her a few weeks after she joined; helping her find a place for ministry if she is in a crisis; meeting her for coffee at her place of business; and asking her to sit with you in worship or Bible study. Be creative in finding ways to help her not only have her needs met, but also showing her groups where she can grow spiritually and use her gifts to serve in ministry.
Another way to make new women feel a part of the body is to host a special dinner just for those who have joined in the previous quarter. This could include relational activities as well as provide information to them about the church and especially what is available for her as a woman. Be sure to include a question and answer time as well so you can hear what their needs are. This is a great way for them to see they are not the only new faces at your church. An in-home coffee is also a way to welcome these new ladies to your fellowship. This can be very low key as you provide friendship and information over refreshments of beverages and cookies. What other ways have you welcomed new women into your community of believers? Share those in the comment section of this blog post.
For more information on the new member, see The New Member chapter in Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level