Once again I was inspired by a post on Dr. Thom Rainer’s blog to consider how it might apply to women’s ministry. Any time I see the word busy, I identify! And I believe our churches do as well. Dr. Rainer gives us seven reasons to consider puttng a women’s ministry on a diet. Read his post first, then let’s look at each of his seven reasons.
- Excessive activities can actually preclude members from growing spiritually. What are you offering in excess that takes away from women doing the most important things to grow as a disciple? We need to be involved in ministry and leading others to join us as well. But do we expect our women to be involved in everything at the expense of time spent one on one with the Lord in prayer and Bible study?
- A church that is too busy rarely evaluates the effectiveness of its activities. Do you ever stop long enough to evaluate if what you are doing is really reaching women for Christ, and/or developing women as disciples? Are they becoming more like Christ through your activities? If not, maybe you need to consider stopping some of these opportunities so you can develop something that will be effective.
- Activity-focused churches are often inwardly focused. Take a look at your ministry opportunities for women and list what is directed toward those inside the church and toward those outside the church. Which list is longer? Helping women look outside the walls of the church will re-direct self-focus to other-focus.
- A busy church can hurt families. How many activities do you offer that actually involve women’s family members? What about mission projects that children can be involved in? What about ministry that would include husbands or brothers due to the physical nature? Find ways to include family members in your plans occasionally.
- Activity-focused churches can cause member burnout. Are you overwhelming women with choices and expecting them to be involved in most activities to the point of exhaustion? If so, pare it down to what is healthy. Or remind women they need to choose one or two things that God is calling them to give their time and attention to. Give them permission NOT to do everything.
- It is difficult for a church to do a few things well when it does too many things. What are you doing that is just barely getting done? Where do you really need to devote more time to do it well because of the possible reach it will have? Once you are able to do each plan well and with excellence, DO NOT add another!
- Busy churches often lack vision clarity. Keep driving women back to why you do ministry as opposed to chaos that doesn’t connect under a unified purpose. Always help women see how this particular opportunity supports why the ministry exists in the first time (which of course, directly supports the mission of the church as a whole!).
Try this exercise: List every ministry, program, or class that your church offers in a year. If the list is exceedingly long, see if just a few can be eliminated without much pain. Then, before you add anything else to the activities of your church, make a commitment to eliminate two existing activities.