A women's ministry is important in any church. It builds community, it helps women feel connected and supported and, through Bible studies, it can be an effective way to teach women more about God and their faith. In a small church, however, running a women's ministry can be difficult due to lack of resources and leaders. But with some ingenuity and dedication, even a small church can support women in their faith and relationships with one another.
Rethink what "effective" means
It's easy to think that small churches can't do effective ministry because they often don't have the resources or budgets to pull off big events. However, redefining what "effective ministry" means to your church can be helpful. What are your priorities? If the most important things are impressive catered affairs and retreats, you will probably be disappointed. But if you want to build relationships and women's faith, you can accomplish these with strong leadership and committed volunteers. Create a mission statement for your ministry, then ensure that you directly influence every event, Bible study and retreat by that particular goal.
Care for your leaders
Even if your church doesn't have a large staff for women's ministry, you can empower and care for the leaders you do have. This will make them more effective in the long run. Burnout easily happens when a ministry is run by volunteers instead of staff. Cycle leaders in and out of the ministry so your leaders don't get burned out. Put one person in charge, but build a team around her so she feels supported and can delegate to others.
Benefit from larger churches
Large churches, such as Willow Creek Church near Chicago, Saddleback Church in California and even large churches in your area can be great resources for your own women's ministry. Don't be discouraged that you can't accomplish exactly what these big churches can, but use these resources to be inspired and get creative for your church. LifeWay Publishing recommends signing up for church's newsletters (e-newsletters as well). Also, take advantage of training opportunities by attending conferences and events put on by large churches. Lastly, LifeWay also recommends partnering with other churches with more resources for larger events or retreats.
Focus on community
Rather than focusing efforts on imitating what other churches are doing, focus on women's relationships with God and with one another. This should be the ultimate goal of any women's ministry. Women can often feel isolated, even at church. Start with a few small groups or Bible studies with competent leaders. Include women in different life stages: stay-at-home moms, single women, working moms, empty-nesters and widows. We can learn a lot from being with one another.
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images