|Establishing (How to Start) a Women's MinistryJulia Bettencourt
Has the Lord touched your heart with the idea of establishing a women's ministry in your local church? Here are a few helps to encourage you as you begin the process of bringing that ministry to fruition.
Over the years, I've seen and heard several ideas of how to start a women's ministry and they normally all state "prayer" as number one. I do think prayer is important and even essential to starting a women's ministry, but I really think that having a burden for it and for the needs of other women in the church is where to start. Without that burden you are going to lack desire, and yes, you may start or be influential in developing a women's ministry for your church, but it may turn into a program instead of a ministry.
Burdens are made up of a compassion and desire to do something. In this case, a compassion and desire to teach, encourage, and build up other women in Christ. What a great and wonderful outreach in which to be involved. Ministering to other women is a fantastic ministry to focus on for Christ. We are all admonished to teach other women, but to want to make it part of an organized ministry for your church is a wonderful passion to have.
When the Lord lays a burden on you to do anything, it makes you unsettled until you get busy and active about it. When the Lord lays the burden and desire for you to start or be instrumental in establishing a women's ministry in your church, it's then that you start seeking answers as to how to go about the task.
Next I think you have to surrender to the Lord to do this thing that He has set upon your heart. Let Him know that you are available to accomplish the task. Let the Holy Spirit work in you and use you. Remember what Isaiah said? Here am I Lord. Send me.
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." Isaiah 6:8
One thing to remember about being available. It doesn't mean that God is going to send you to do the job. He may just want you to be available and dedicated. Remember when Abraham had his son Isaac on the altar? He was willing to give up his son, but God didn't allow Abraham to do that. God sure knew Abraham was available and willing to obey Him though. (Genesis 22)
Even though the Lord may give you the burden to do something about establishing a women's ministry in your church, you have to be settled with the idea that the Lord may not want you to lead that ministry. God may have someone else in mind. There may be someone else more qualified and able to do the task, or they may not even be more qualified than you. It may just be that's where the Lord wants them to serve. God may have other plans for you too, but you might be the very person that the Lord wants to get the ball rolling for an organized women's ministry in your church. You might very well be the instrument that God wants to use to make this thing happen.
Okay, it's time for that prayer now, not that you shouldn't always be in continual prayer, but I think when you just start praying for something without that attitude that you will do whatever the Lord wants, instead of yourself, you get your prayer direction off focus. You might start praying about what you want to accomplish for the Women's ministry instead of what God wants to accomplish through you.
Alright, so now what do you pray for? First, I think the leading of the Holy Spirit. Of course that doesn't just involve prayer but a willingness and availability on your part to let the Holy Spirit work. Pray for direction on how to go about doing this task. Pray for your pastor and church leadership that the Lord would burden them for an organized Women's Ministry as well. Pray for your congregation, not just ladies, but that all of your church, men and women, would see the need for women's ministry to be a vital part of your church. Pray for future leaders and helpers for the women's ministry as well.
Plan and prepare yourself for a meeting with your pastor (leadership) concerning your burden for women's ministry. Go over in your mind, the why of the matter. Write that all out and go over it so that you will be ready to articulate that at your meeting with your pastor and leadership. Write out an outline of why women's ministry should be an important part of your church and how it will impact your ladies and community, and above all your church.
Make an appointment to meet with your pastor about your burden and desire to establish a women's ministry in your church. When you make the appointment, you may be dealing directly with your pastor or in most cases a secretary, but be sure to say that you want to talk to the pastor about the "burden the Lord has given you for the women in the church", or something along those lines. Don't state right off the bat that you "want to start a women
s ministry", although in reality, they might be the same thing. Tread carefully.
At your meeting, be articulate and share your burden first. Don't start off with what you want to "do". Talk about the needs of the
women and how the Lord has impressed that on your heart. Talk about your own desire for more fellowship, encouragement, and bible study with other ladies of your church.
Share a general knowledge of how you envision a women's ministry would be run in your church, such as when you'd meet to start with, where you'd meet, and the general direction you'd like to see it head. You don't want your pastor to think you haven't thought through the logistics at all, even though you won't need specifics for everything. Don't overwhelm him with programs or events that you want to hold, unless you are asked specifically about that. You are there basically to share your burden, not give a detailed plan on your first contact meeting.
Be sure to include in your conversation how important this is to build up and encourage the ladies within your church. Let your pastor and leadership know if you get approval, you'd like to go ahead and put a women's ministry meeting on the church calendar and have a small meeting and bible study with the women to get started. I've always found that most pastors I've worked with are more at ease with starting "small". i love all those pastors out there, but face it, some do get concerned that you are going to come in and change the dynamics of the church. As I mentioned before you have to -- tread carefully.
Don't forget before you leave to thank your pastor for his time. It's also a great opportunity to say thank you to him for all he does and how much you appreciate him and his family. Treat this as you would a professional business meeting. Not that I'm implying to lessen the emphasis on ministry, but just be professional, articulate, and courteous. It all comes back to doing things "decently and in order". When you leave your pastor's office, he will be thinking about what you said, praying about it, and considering the possibility of a women's ministry in your church. You want to leave a good impression.
You may have to wait for approval to proceed with a women's ministry from your pastor or church leadership. Bear in mind that the church leadership may want to go ahead with an organized women's ministry but want to put someone else in the leadership role, so you may have to hand it over to them. If that happens, don't just go away mad. If you have a burden for the women in your church, the leader is going to need your help. Volunteer. Be available to help.
You may be in a church that runs things with committees and a little red tape that must be crossed over first, so if that's the case, be patient. After all of that is taken care of, and if you've been okayed as the leader, you are ready to proceed.
Before you proceed with planning, I'd start with some research. There are lots of things you can do for Bible study, activities, and meetings, but I suggest doing a little digging first. See what's out there and gather all the tools and helps you can find. There are lots of articles and helps on the website to help you.
Be sure to check out the Building a Women's Ministry Notebook Page. You can use the label categories as a guide of things to look out for and collect for your Women's Ministry planning.
In your pre-planning stage, organize a general meeting. It could be held in your church or in a home. Make it a relaxed one to begin with. You are there to find out about what the women of your church want and need.
Give a survey out at this meeting but make sure every lady in the church receives it even if they are not in attendance. Allow a few ideas from everyone to be bounced off during this meeting (no specifics but general ideas). This will give you a feeling for what your ladies want and it will also let you know what you are up against when it comes to proceeding.
Starting first with a survey is great, but doing it along with a first meeting is better because you hear things verbalized so when you go through those surveys, you'll be able to read between the lines. Don't forget to be sure to give out the survey to those ladies who missed the meeting, even if they say they will not be coming or involved. Let them know you respect their opinions and you'd like to hear their input too.
Start planning out your meetings, activities, building leadership teams, and putting all the details into you women's ministry. Use the surveys you've collected as a guide but even more important, get to know your ladies on a one to one level. That will speak volumes more than any survey can. When you get to know people, you get to know what and how they think. I've grown to learn that is one of the most valuable tools in women's ministry over the years---just knowing the women I'm working with and how they think and what's important to them as individuals.
I know there's always lots said about mission statements when it comes to starting a women's ministry, and I even have a helps page for it on the website, but I think it sometimes becomes too narrow when you first establish a women's ministry in your church. You want everyone to be involved. Also down the road, directions sometimes change because of how your church is made up (ladies grow older, move away, new ones come into the church, go back to work or lose their job, have children, become empty nesters, health changes, etc.).
Those dynamics will have a big impact on your women's ministry and it may push over your mission statement, so I don't think it's one of those big important things you need to worry about. I think that the Lord gave us a great mission statement or motto to use that never changes no matter how the dynamics of the church change, and that is to teach other women (Titus 2).
You may want to plan a get together to serve as a Kick-Off as you get going with your women's ministry. There's lots of information for Kick-Off Planning Page so please be sure to use that as a resource to help you get your planning in gear. There's also Promotional Ideas on the website to help you as you get started.
- Move Forward.
Once you've got things off the ground, get moving! There are just wonderful blessings just waiting out there for you as you become involved in women's ministry in your church.
Be sure to read through the Women's Ministry Helps and Articles on the website. They are written from my own experiences over the years in women's ministry and I trust they'll be an encoruagement to you.
: Read through the "Women's Ministry: Is It Really Dead"
article before you begin establishing an organized Women's Ministry.
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Setting Goals for Women's Ministry
Womens' Ministry Helps