Women’s Ministry Handbook
In accepting the position as Women’s Ministries director for your church, you’ve embarked on an exciting adventure. At times, traveling this road may be a challenge-or it may be easier than you expect. In the long run, this is a fulfilling, rewarding ministry as you invest in the lives of the women in your church.
Women’s Ministries…Its Reason for Being
Women’s Ministries has a multi-faceted purpose. It is designed:
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.
Women have ministered in the Church since its beginning. Perhaps this involvement reflects the nature of women to readily sense others’ needs. Nurturing and compassion as intuitive parts of women make this ministry productive.
To Support Women as They Fill Their Various Roles
Women are relational beings. Their lives tend to revolve around relationships. When women enter new life stages, they look for role models. They want to see how other women have met, or are meeting and succeeding in, the challenges of life. As roles change with time, women look to those who have traveled a similar path for advice and encouragement.
This is especially important since women fill so many different roles during their lives- wife, mother, new Christian, growing Christian, and caregivers to name a few of the roles filled. The way they live out these roles at home, work, and church are as varied as the women are. Yet commonalities unite and bind these women together as they go through various life stages.
Women’s Ministries is a place where women may find role models and other women at the same stage of life. Through Women’s Ministries in your church, women find friendships, support, and encouragement. Women’s Ministries may even provide practical encouragement, help and support required to face specific situations.
To Reach out to the Community
Women’s Ministries provides a point of entry for those new to the community and church. Because of the less formal structure, some women choose to attend a function of Women’s Ministries even though they may not be willing to attend a scheduled church service. Therefore, Bible studies, seminars, and mothers’ groups are a necessary part of Women’s Ministries and the total ministry of the church.
To Minister to Those in the Church
The needs and interests of the women in your church will direct the scope of Women’s Ministries. While ideas, concepts, and programs are shared among different churches, the ministries usually need to adjust the concepts to fit the specific interests and needs of the women of the church family.
If Women’s Ministries is newly formed entity, begin with one program or ministry. It is not possible nor is it advisable to begin more programs or ministries than those the women of the church have an expressed interest or need and can be supported by the church. For example, a Bible study group may be the beginning ministry for one church. Another church may begin by preparing the Sunday bulletin, maintaining bulletin boards, assisting with church decorations, or other similar projects.
As Women’s Ministries grows and develops, programs and ministries will fail. Don’t be afraid of failure. It’s a great teacher. A child learning to walk falls in the process, but gets up again and again-until walking becomes natural. One failure doesn’t mean all of Women’s Ministries has failed. Sometimes what is viewed as a failure is simply a program ending because it has outlived its usefulness. Move on to the next program or ministry the Lord is leading you to begin. The congregational survey at the end of this chapter is a useful tool to help identify appropriate, new ministries.
You may also purposefully end a program or ministry when its goals and objectives have been achieved. The life span of a program or ministry is determined by need and interest. As needs are met and interests change, end a program or ministry to provide time, energy, and talent to begin new ones.
To Offer Opportunities for Spiritual and Relational Growth
Women’s Ministries is the arm of the church that allows women to meet the needs of other women. It provides a place where love is offered under every circumstance, where acceptance is granted without reservation, and where forgiveness is freely given. As these three key elements thrive, Women’s Ministries will grow-and the women involved in it will grow personally and spiritually.
In addition to offering the opportunity to grow in their relationships with each other, Women’s Ministries also gives women the opportunity to grow in their relationships with God. The women will not only find insights from each other, but as they are pointed to the Creator of relationships, they will find His wisdom for each challenge they face. They will grow in their individual relationship with God, and the women will grow as a community.
Philosophy, Purpose, Mission Statement
Philosophy We believe all women are important in God’s eyes and are vital in His kingdom. We believe in unity within diversity and cooperation and caring through the inspiration and power of the Holy Spirit.
The purpose of Women’s Ministries is to glorify God by challenging women
To know God personally,
To grow in Christlikeness,
To discover and use spiritual gifts,
To love and serve others, and
In all we do to reflect the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The mission of Women’s Ministries is GROWTH. Gathering women Resourcing opportunities Offering acceptance Winning women to Christ Teaching biblical truths Honoring the Spirit-filled life.
Colossians 2:6-7 supports these statements: As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude (NASB).
Applying the Purpose and Mission Statements to Your Women’s Ministries
How do you apply the purpose statement to your Women’s Ministries at your church? Why does Women’s Ministries exist? How does Women’s Ministries fit into the mission statement of your church? How does your Women’s Ministries work with the total church program to reach its goals and objectives?
Consider the questions asked in the above paragraph and adapt them to reflect the needs, interest, and location of your church. Determine measurable goals and objectives for Women’s Ministries. Make them realistic and attainable. Be confident each ministry and program is manageable.
Women’s Ministries in the Local Church
You are encouraged to read various books and articles for information and ideas, adapting and changing them to meet the unique situation of your church. No matter the size of your church, all programs and ministries you begin demand careful planning and creative presentation. God commands our best efforts, regardless of the size of the church or the assigned task. Even though we have a God-given and holy purpose, shabbily presented programs and ministries are still shabby. As an arm of the local church, Women’s Ministries should be part of your church’s organization. As you work with Women’s Ministries, remember two critical goals are to educate the congregation about the diversity among women and to strengthen the church’s ministry. Since the breadth of the Women’s Ministries reaches beyond being a single entity in the church and embraces the entire church community; the Women’s Ministries director must strive to achieve the following goals.
1. The Women’s Ministries director should meet with the pastor and Sunday School superintendent regarding the mission, vision, and goals of the church.
2. The Women’s Ministries Council should study the mission, vision, and goals and develop a plan of action that complements and helps to reach them. Jesus refers to his earthly life and ministry and recognizes him as God incarnate. Christ involves a confession of faith and acknowledges him as risen indeed. Women’s Ministries Handbook for Leaders
3. Women’s Ministries must always be regarded as a complementary part of the church; it is never to be seen as a separate entity.
4. The graying of society requires Women’s Ministries to inform the congregation about the needs, interests, and concerns of senior adults. What role can Women’s Ministries fill to assist aging parents whose children live out of the community?
5. The increasing demands of women who find themselves in the sandwich generation-raising children and caring for an ill parent or relative-call for our attention. What role does Women’s Ministries play in providing respite care for the caregivers?
Structure of Women’s Ministries in a Local Church
The director of Adult Ministries nominates the director of Women’s Ministries with the approval of the pastor and the Sunday School superintendent. You are then elected by the Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries Board and serve on the Adult Council. You serve as liaison between the Women’s Ministries Council and the Adult Council. It is your responsibility to keep current of policies and procedures as well as to obtain input and approval for speakers and events. (In churches where there is not a Sunday School and Discipleships Ministries Board, the official Church Board fills this role.)
Women’s Ministries is not an entity to itself. One of the aims of Women’s Ministries is to work within and support the total church program. The specific goals and objectives of a local Women’s Ministries should be compatible with those of the total church program. Before adapting the purpose, goals, and objectives of Women’s Ministries to fit your local church, the Women’s Ministries director is encouraged to discuss with the pastor the mission statement for the local church and the role of Women’s Ministries in fulfilling that statement.
The Women’s Ministries director appoints the members of the Women’s Ministries Council. These names must have the approval of the Adult Ministries director, Sunday School superintendent, and pastor. In ministries where council members are elected, the ballot must receive approval by the above-mentioned individuals. While it is not necessary that every name submitted be a member of the local church, the individuals should be Christians and regular attendees with leadership potential. It is also recommended that the treasurer be a member of the local church.
Women’s Ministries reaches the adult women of the congregation. Adult Ministries typically begins with age 24. Due to the church size and other factors, some Women’s Ministries will include women 6 Notes Women’s Ministries Handbook for Leaders younger than 24. The Women’s Ministries Council should reflect the make-up of the congregation, including women from various age groups, marital status, employment, and interests. Women’s Ministries should be part of the annual church budget. These monies should be used for communications, newsletters, leadership development, and training. Programs and ministries of Women’s Ministries such as retreats and banquets, should be self-supporting. Women’s Ministries is required by God and the church to be a good steward of its financial resources.
The Local Women’s Ministries Director
As you begin your responsibilities as Women’s Ministries director, identify the motivating factors in your decision to accept this position. You will be investing much time and energy into the ministry; therefore, it is vitally important for you to consider the impact on you and your family. If this has not been a topic of conversations with your family, set aside an evening or block of time for this discussion. It is assumed that accepting this position has been a matter of prayer.
Involve your family as you lead Women’s Ministries. Some tasks young children can take responsibility for and assist with. Folding and stuffing envelopes may also allow you some individual time with your children. Holding some council meetings in your home allows the children of council members to play together and eliminates the need for babysitting. Older children may take responsibility for babysitting the children of council members. Take your children to some of the functions with you. This allows them to see the results of your work.
If Women’s Ministries in your church does not have a working council, one of your first duties is to form a council. Depending on the size of your church, invite 5 to 20 women to participate in a brainstorming session. These women on the council should reflect the various age groups of women (those under 25, 26-35, 36-50, 51-65, and over 65), married and single women, various employment groups (full-time, part-time, self-employed, retired, stay-at-home mothers, etc.), church members, non-church members, church leaders, and spiritually mature.
Conduct a survey of the women in your congregation using one of the surveys found at the end of this chapter. These surveys are generically designed and most will require some adaptation to fit your local church. You may wish to select items from various surveys and create a survey tailor-made for your ministry. After the survey, tabulate the survey results prior to the next council meeting. Part of the brainstorming session will be a review of the survey results.
The above article, “Women’s Ministry Handbook” was written by Linda Hardin. The article was excerpted from Women’s Ministry Handbook for Leaders. www.usacanadaregion.org web site. 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.”