I love women’s ministry. Chris Adams once defined women’s ministry as “to serve or be a servant. Ministry simply refers to the act of ministering to or the act of performing service for another.”(1) I think we all agree that women’s ministry is not confined to the church building. We should be reaching out to women in all of life’s contexts including school, work, family, and community activities.
However, the question posed is how do you intentionally minister to women in your church when the church doesn’t support a women’s ministry?
Prayer is Foundational
Before you begin to search for answers pray for the situation, your church, and pastor. Be sure to pray for them and not about them! By that I mean, you are asking the Lord to open your eyes to see things from others perspectives. You should want to understand your pastor’s heart and why he does not support a formal women’s program. Ask the Lord to help you examine your own heart. What has motivated you to want to serve women in your church?
A church may elect to not have a formal women’s ministry for many reasons. Individual ministries, or silo ministries, use to be the main stay of church programs, but that is no longer the case. Many churches are looking to blend activities across ages rather than separate into affinity groups.
Sometimes it’s as simple as resources. If the pastor has limited staff he may not elect to bring on new ministries that he does not have time to personally encourage. Also, a women’s ministry may not best serve the vision for the church during a particular season. Many church plants or urban churches choose to not have specific women’s programs.
Would a women’s ministry move the church vision forward?
Options Outside of Women’s Ministry
If your church does not have a formal women’s ministry program you still have many opportunities to reach women. Look at the women sitting around you in worship service and develop relationships. Start a women’s small group for Bible study or other activities. You might start a book club or do crafts together, always keeping the Good News central to why you are gathering.
Titus 2:3-5 is foundational to most women’s ministries, but organic mentoring can take many forms and has been shown to be more effective with the millennial generation (2). Invite one or two women to lunch or to share a mid-morning coffee and begin to do life together. Is there a young mother in your church that could use some help? Offer to come watch the kids while she is catching up on laundry, go grocery shopping together, or teach her to make your signature dish!
Look in your church for the Proverbs 31 woman that is trying to do it all. Is there a woman striving to serve her family, work outside the home, be active in her community, and still participate in the church? How might you show God’s mercy and grace to her? What if she is single and working to support herself, maintain her home and yard, and manage a social calendar so she is not alone? What might you do to illustrate God’s love to her?
Women’s ministry has been evolving over the past few years (3,4) and I think we will continue to see changes in how it is expressed in our churches. Women will always seek out other women so in it’s purest form women’s ministry will occur. However, if your church elects to not support a formal ministry to women you can still find many ways to encourage and equip women for kingdom service.
- Adams, C. (2009). Women’s enrichment ministry. Nashville, TN: LifeWay Christian Resources, p. 7.
- Edwards, S., & Neumann, B. (2014). Organic mentoring: A mentor’s guide to relationships with next generation women. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.
- Taylor, M. (2009). Brave new women: The transformation of women’s ministry in 21st century culture. Retrieved from http://leadnet.org/brave_new_ women_transformation_of_womens_ministry_21st_century_culture/
- Parker, B. (2017). An investigation of millennial and older generations expectations of women’s ministry: A Delphi study (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertation and Theses database. (UMI No. 10619995).