Women’s Ministries is Unique
Women’s Ministries operates with a multi-faceted purpose:
✔ to encourage and support women as they fill their various roles,
✔ to reach out to the community,
✔ to minister to those in the church, and
✔ to offer opportunities for spiritual and relational growth.
Each Women’s Ministries program is unique. Women’s Ministries in your church will look different than any other Women’s Ministries. Women’s Ministries sometimes vary because of locations. If you are in a metropolitan church, you’ll have different needs and interests than a suburban church. Likewise, small town and rural churches have different needs and interests.
The composition of women in each church also varies. Your church may have more older women or more mothers with children at home. You may have primarily married women, or a significant number of single women. The women may tend to work full-time outside of the home, or perhaps they work part-time, are retired, or are stay-at-home mothers. In different churches, the commitments and interests that women find in common may vary. Because of these factors, Women’s Ministries will be unique. Expect that and celebrate your unique qualities.
To minister effectively, we need to look seriously at today’s woman:
1. She is in her early to mid-20s beginning to establish herself in a career and finding her role in life.
2. She is over 65 and retired. She is adjusting to a different lifestyle, perhaps having her husband around all day, no structure to the day, or adjusting to fixed or limited income.
3. She is 40 to 50 and coping with the empty nest syndrome. She may be redefining her marriage, especially if children have been the focal point.
4. She is over 40 and childless. She is listening to her biological clock running down. No one seems to understand her pain as she watches others have children. She is tired of answering well-meaning but personal questions.
5. She is middle-aged and sees the end of her parenting days. She dreams about having more discretionary time and wonders how life will be different as the youngest leaves home. Suddenly she is forced on the daughter track as one of her parents, in-laws, or another person requires extensive care. Her time on the daughter track may last longer than her parenting track.
6. She is a single adult in any of the previously described situations. If she is younger, she may feel pressure from family and church to marry. If she is older, she has established herself, but often feels as if she is not accepted as a peer.
7. She is a senior adult over 60, sometimes caring for a husband incapacitated by a serious illness.
8. She is a middle-age woman who is rearing her grandchildren. She wonders if she has the stamina to keep up with them.
9. She is struggling with the conflicting information she receives about her roles. She is searching for the answer to the question, “Is one role better than another? Is one more valued than another? How can I effectively fulfill all these roles?”
10. Women no longer attend a function just because it is there. They have many demands competing for their attention.
11. Women today are highly educated and hold responsible positions. Their expectations are higher while their needs increase.
12. Some churches may include single mothers struggling to adjust to a new lifestyle following a divorce or the death of a spouse. These mothers represent an increasing number of homes. Some face the task of rearing their children without daily contact with fathers. Be aware of the unique needs and concerns of the single parent family.
The Difference between a Program and Ministry
Programs focus on resources available. Ministries are based on needs.
Programs focus on techniques. Ministries focus on people.
Programs look for numbers. Ministries see changed lives.
Programs need quick answers. Ministries understand grace in uncertainty.
Programs see the goal. Ministries see the heart.
Women’s Ministries needs both program and ministry. Notice that ministry is long-term while program is short-term. You will develop programs within your ministry. The focus, however, must be on ministry rather than programs. When you begin a new venture, identify it as a ministry or program. This helps you determine the length, goals, purpose, and objectives.
Women’s Ministries overlaps with other ministries in the church, like Prime Time Ministries, Single Adult Ministries, and Nazarene Missions International. How can Women’s Ministries complement rather than compete with these ministries? Working together helps each ministry to meet the diversity of needs reflected by women. Coordinating calendars and supporting other programs and ministries allows women to choose the activities that best meet their needs.
The above article, “Women’s Ministries is Unique” was written by Linda Hardin. The article was excerpted from www.nazarine/womensministry.com website November 2017.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”