Recently at a YOU Lead women’s leadership training, we had a panel of leaders answering questions submitted by attendees. Several past and upcoming posts address those and try to help answer them.
Today’s question: In my church there is a big resistance to new classes and programs, and to an untried approach to serving women. This group of older women is threatened by the enthusiasm of the younger women. They have also created an attitude among the men of being domineering and bossy. As I strive to build a women’s ministry, they are my biggest “problem.” How do I handle this?
There may be several reasons these older women are resistant:
- Fear of not being needed
- Lack of understanding of the other generations
- Ownership regarding ministry threatened
- “We’ve never done it that way before!”
- Fear of losing depth and truth
Now, these may all be false assumptions but real to these older women none the less. So what can you do?
- Ask these older women to pray with you about reaching the younger women.
- Ask for their input on how to reach them.
- Have them discuss what will happen if they are not reached.
- Teach them about the differences in each generation. (See chapter in Women Reaching Women entitled “Reaching the Postmodern Woman”)
- Offer an event that allows for various generations of women to share stories so they see how much they have in common. (see Top Tens for the Generations for ideas)
- Pray for God to break down the barriers and to help you present a new perspective of women in the church that is cooperative rather than domineering.
- If all else fails, you may have to just invest in the younger women and move on, all the while utilizing older women who will be willing to invest with you and find ways to help those other women to find places of service as well. That’s not easy, but definitely worth it!
Model unity above all. Pray that spirit of unity will penetrate throughout all the women in the church.