Churches used to reflect their neighborhoods, but now women of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds may attend the same church. People are willing to travel great distances to meet their spiritual needs. Now that diversity is the norm, women may feel polarized in various church ministries according to whether they feel acceptance and status.
Women who do not feel welcome and included may find it difficult to join or commit to women’s ministries and have a tendency to shy away. We must cultivate methods to attract all types of women to participate in women’s ministry. Spiritual growth is enhanced and inevitable within a carefully strategized women’s ministry. For some women to feel alienated from such a positive experience is indeed offensive to the cause of Christ.
1. Evaluate current group structures in your ministry.
Consider whether you are only organized according to traditional groupings. Often, women don’t reach out because the person they want to invite doesn’t fit the profile. If she is in a mom’s group and her friend has no children, she probably won’t offer an invitation. A younger woman may hesitate to invite a lonely neighbor because she is older.
2. Change up groups to provide more opportunities for all women to feel included.
Group according to non-traditional as well as traditional patterns such as life experiences. Effective ministry must delve deeper to discover and nurture women’s most personal needs. Today a woman in her 40s may be a first-time mother, a mother of teenagers, or a grandmother. Age no longer is a predictor of lifestyle.
Although many women profit from such groups, grouping only by marital status may be perceived as an artificial barrier to the women of the church getting to know all their sisters in Christ. Another artificial barrier may be work status—whether in the home or in the workplace. Stay-at-home moms often enjoy hearing about the workplace and vice versa. We build bonds of love as we seek to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. We may have a perspective to share simply because we are emotionally distanced from that environment.
How are the groups in your women’s ministry structured? What ideas have you incorporated to help women feel welcome? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
This article is an excerpt from Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level compiled by Chris Adams.