New Background

Can You Hear Me Now?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I Have This Friend...

Every time I hear that phrase… “I have this friend”, I figure the information which follows will actually be about the person in front of me.

So let me rephrase…

A woman I work with, who attends a Mega-Church here in OKC, is helping to revamp the women’s ministry. She asked my input and I told her I’d put it out here for all the blogdom to scour and sprinkle with wisdom.

1. What makes a strong women’s ministry?

2. What are the core elements that must be present to have effective women’s ministry?

3. If you are involved in a women’s ministry what works/what doesn’t work?

4. What do you personally seek from women’s ministry?

5. If you could add one thing to your current women’s ministry, what would it be?

Pick one or all…but give me feedback! (Please and thank you!) And YES I know, I know its Tuesday tossup over at Gibee’s place and I think Heather does a Tuesday ‘quiz’-like-thing too, sometimes… give me feedback whenever you can. You can put it in comments…write as much as you like…or email me.

Thank you in advance for your input.


Joy M. said...

In a mega church, it is vital to have some outgoing women in the women's ministry whose sole job is to meet the new women who come in and keep the rest of the ministry abreast on who they are ministering to. The second thing to do is to have some way of finding their interests so you can plug them in. You HAVE to plug them in to their interest and show that you are interested in what they are gifted in or have an interest in. I firmly believe that you can have an effective women's ministry if you aren't trying to plug in everyone who wants to be plugged in. You have to ask. Most women won't get involved until you ask and will be flattered for you asking, especially if it is in their area of interest. If they aren't, then they don't care to be involved anyway. The more involved you get people, the more wanted and needed they feel. The more people you have involved, the less stressful it will be for those in leadership (lots of workers=less work for the leaders), and the less resentment you have from those who aren't in leadership. They don't have the time or the need to be resentful if they have a niche.

Our church has always had a VIBRANT women's ministry and these are the reasons I believe it has worked so well. Some of our leaders have been better at drawing in the shy or more emotionally needy women than others, but some of the things the better ones did are:

A group of women who purposefully seek out new women and introduce themselves, make MENTAL note of certain initial information about the woman (name, husband, children, job, area where they live). We had about 3 on this job in a church of about 600.

We had on-going, once-a-month get-togethers, with at least 2 from the women's ministry board, up to five of the new ladies, and enough other established women in the church who weren't on the WMB to make it even. If there were more than 5 new ladies we would have 2 of these meetings on the same night. It was always like on the "2nd Tuesday" or something and we had several willing hostesses always on call. It was in the hostesses home, with light finger foods or hor d'ouvres and we had several planned, get-to-know-you activities that WE also participated in so they could get to know us as well. And we kept it short (about 45 minutes to an hour)so it wouldn't cut into anyone's busy schedule. This was a great way to find out their giftings/interests and immediately get them involved.

The women who met the ladies the first time, would introduce someone else from the church to them the second or third time and extend an invitation to the above get together. Never the first time. Don't want to overwhelm them.

For a while we also had a basket ministry to recognize newcomers who seemed to be making our church their home, birthdays, anniversaries, or for thanking someone for helping out. This was very popular and loved, but when our church split, we had to let it go for the cost and to help keep some of our bigger things funded.

These things were used at a church that did not have a regular "membership" and were quite effective for meeting the new women and making them feel wanted. So often in a church like that, you don't even notice when someone comes in or stops coming in. Well, we were good at noticing when they came in, but not so good at noticing when they stopped. Usually once they connected with their own group of people and helped out a few times, unless they kept themselves involved, it became difficult to keep track of everybody. Maybe someone else has some suggestions for that.

I do have to say, that my church's women's ministry has always been very good at welcoming women to the church. And it continued to thrive even after all the splits and near closure due to a consignment sale we have twice a year to raise money. First of all it funded some VERY big events that a church our size (after all the problems)would never have been able to pull off. Subsidized our annual women's retreat making it so no one paid more that $70 for the entire weekend. Gave scholarships to those that needed it (another thing that is good to learn about a new woman in your church if you can do so without prying) for "whatever" event. Allowed us to make one BIG purchase for the church each year, and allowed us to give money when there were health problems or injuries in a family, a little financial help to those who needed it, and generally help the women in our church. We encouraged ALL the women to participate in the sale cause it gave us a chance to get to know each other better and was fun. We opened the participation to the community and that gave us an opportunity to pray for and minister to other women in the community. Quite often we would get new women in our church through that sale.

Okay, so that's my take on what worked for us. My opinion is that the key is involving as many as you can and as quickly as you can. Sorry to be SO long with this. I took over your blog, didn't I? Sorry, KP! I am just so in awe of our WM. I think it is our church's MAIN strength along with our totally awesome youth group. Our men need to get on the ball though. LOL

"Grandi" said...

I loved Joy's suggestions - in a mega church there are so many more people, so the small percent that end up in charge of things increases dramatically! Our WM has struggled for years - when we have a "driven" leader we thrive, when we don't we sort of fade! One thing that I would add to her suggestions is to not always have WM functions on the same night. It seems like everything ours does is on a Monday night - "good" you say, "the guys will watch football and the kids". Well, I go to school on Monday nights and have for several years, and I am not alone! Change those nights up ladies! Pick a different night sometimes and you may pick up some folks who otherwise could not participate!

Sally said...

Kim, as usual I bring another slant, minister as a woman in all that that means , bearing the image of the femaleness of God- not only to women but also to men, I counselled a man this evening 9 it is 9:30pm here ) not to become overburdened with church life and so frustrate his wife, I would counsell women in the same way...
I try to stay away from conventional womens ministries and I guess I am a bit of a femminist, though not the bra burning kind ( haven't got the figure for it!!!).

One of the churches in our town hold princess nighhts for girls, I find these sickening becaue they instill the submissive into intelligent young women...

I personally stay away from womens ministries, though not from ministry from women (hope that makes sense)

But I know my views prove unpopular- for they are unconventional!

Sally said...

sorry about the spelling and grammar in the comment above!

GiBee said...

My parents go to a mega church, and one of the things one of the Pastor's wives does (she works w/ my mom in this ministry) is she keeps track of all the new women, and then invites them to a monthly tea along with a hand full of regular women so they can get to know each other. She keeps it short -- no longer than 90 minutes. They give each woman a gift (a tea cup from the dollar store, 4 thank you notes tied with a ribbon, and a few other dollar store things like a nice candle or a nice soap). I think that's a nice idea.

But, frankly, I think the most important element that MUST be present to have an effective women's ministry is a covenant of trust. A written covenant that is understood by all.

If I could add one thing to my current women's ministry, it would be child care.

Hope that helps!

GiBee said...

Ooops! I didn't do Tuesday Toss Up today! I totally was off schedule and didn't realize it was Tuesday! How absolutely embarassing!

And there! I've used up my allotted (notice the spelling on that) comments! LOL!

Huh. I wonder if alzheimers is starting to set in...

What was I talking about? Who are you? Where am I?

Chaos-Jamie said...

4. I wish the women's ministry had a more formal mentorship program. I know you can't make people bond and trust just because they are assigned, but I can't help but wish there was a way to connect women who wish to mentor or mentee. Something....somehow.

tam said...

Hmmm, this is my second time back today because I thought I had something, but I ...don't.

Not yet.

I will though.

Spookie the Warrior said...

This is something so close to my heart!! I long to start a women's ministry and I found this place they have so much advice and books and all on how to start and any question you could ever want to answere. Copy and past it into the search space.

Now, what I seek from a WM would be somethng to connect directly with the young women of today. Teenagers and twenty somethings. I have such a heart for these young women and I know that so many of them are seeking purpose in their lives in all the wrong places. I also want WM to reach out to women OUTSIDE of the church, not become to "CLICKY" with the ladies within the church family.

Gotta run Kim! Thankd for your input on my blog, I really appreciate you, it, you for it...