Pastors often ask me about the importance of an organized and directed ministry to women within their local church. In each church this ministry will be unique, but the common reality is more than half of your congregation are women—from the smallest infants to the oldest senior adult class. Another reality check is to consider how your church would function next Sunday if women decided to boycott. What jobs would go unfulfilled? What diapers might not get changed? Most pastors shudder at the thought of going one Sunday without the support and work of women in the local church.
So the question isn’t should you have a ministry to women; it’s that you already do. Providing leadership and structure to what is already taking place in your congregation is the bigger issue. I’d like to encourage you to consider how you can support ministry to women in your church. The benefits are not just another program to manage, but a ministry that helps fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Here are five things you should consider when contemplating having an organized ministry to women.
1. Women understand women.
I recently observed a group of middle school students during a youth service at church. They naturally divided themselves between boys and girls. Most of the time, this still happens with adults! Men find themselves in conversations with other men and women find themselves in conversations and groups of other women. Of course there are exceptions, but there is a natural tendency for women to gather and build relationships. Because women are generally relational in nature, an organized ministry to women helps create places for biblical community to develop.
2. Ministry to women opens the doors for spiritual conversations and study of God’s word.
For the past five years, I’ve been part of a few co-ed groups that meet on Sunday mornings. I enjoy the discussion, studying of God’s word, and sharing prayer requests. Even so, in every class I’ve attended, women are more hesitant to share in mixed settings. When women’s Bible studies are formed and small groups of women-only groups are fostered, spiritual conversations, prayer requests and transparency between women happen more rapidly. They are more open about sharing personal needs as well as their struggles.
3. Ministry to women builds healthy boundaries.
As a pastor, I pray you have boundaries of how you counsel women, how you meet with women, and how you pray with women. There are important ethical boundaries every pastor should adhere to. When you have an organized women’s ministry leader, they can be available for certain aspects of ministry that call for one-on-one appointments or they can be present when you meet with another woman. It’s not only a safeguard for your reputation, but also the reputation of the woman and your church.
4. Women interact with other women that pastors might never meet.
Their involvement in the community, in the workplace, and in schools, gives them places of service you might not go. A good ministry to women equips women to have confidence to begin gospel conversations.
5. Finally, organized ministry to women can help your church grow.
When I moved to a new city 18 months ago, my husband stayed in our former state to tie up the move and sell our house. For the first time in 29 years, I visited new churches by myself. I quickly observed the number of women I saw who were also sitting by themselves. It was a good reminder that women may show up alone, but they are looking for a place to connect. When you have an intentional ministry to women that looks for ways to connect women to the larger opportunities in your church, you will see God bring more women into your congregation. Whether they are single women, single-again, widowed, or single moms, a church with a healthy ministry to women will offer ways women can grow in their relationship with the Lord and with each other.
If you’re praying about being more intentional in developing a ministry for women, let me encourage you to seek out women who have a calling and desire for this kind of ministry. Pay for her or a team of women to attend a Lifeway You Lead event in a city near you so she will be equipped for ministry. Better yet, send them to the Lifeway Women’s Leadership Forum November 8-10 in Nashville. It’s an investment with an eternal reward.
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources.