When I think about starting a women’s ministry, I’m inspired by church planters. One of my favorite aspects of church planting is that things are ground-up; theology is becoming reality, philosophy is becoming practice. In other words, if you have ideas of how church can be, you can make them happen. Doors are wide open, obstacles are few.
And in church planting, you’re starting something new almost all the time, whether it’s a children’s ministry, a small group, an elder team, a prayer ministry or an outreach strategy.
It must also be said that seeing an idea come to fruition can be one of the greatest challenges in church planting, and because church planters are seeing multiple ideas come to fruition at the same time, it is quite the juggling act. This greenhouse-like atmosphere requires diligence, patience and back-breaking hard work. Most of all, it requires thinking through the “whys” of church. These “whys” lead to “hows”; a philosophy of ministry leads to practice and structure.
My husband and the other elders at our church do most of this philosophizing, but when our church reached a point when we needed to move into starting a women’s ministry that was more structured, the idea generating fell to me. With an empty drawing board before me, I felt the weight of my decisions.
Just how do you go about starting a women’s ministry?
I realized quickly that the philosophy — the “whys” — behind the women’s ministry would be the most important decision I ever made. The “whys” would inform everything we did for and with women in our church. Why would this ministry exist?
From our ministry experience, I’ve seen that there are two main “whys” for women’s ministry: To gather women together around an activity for fellowship, and to introduce women to a process of spiritual growth. One is event-based, the other is relationship-based. I knew that we could do a series of unrelated events that brought women together, or we could develop a process of connecting that would lead to one-on-one or small group discipleship.
In the latter, events would serve as an entry into relationships. There would need to be a “What next?” after every event, whether it was a small group Bible study or a discipleship relationship or a way to invest in other women.
Honestly, this is still a work in process. We are two years in, and still constantly trying to adjust how this philosophy plays out practically. The philosophy of our women’s ministry is that we would constantly drill down to discipleship. We invite women into Bible study, needs-based ministries or occasional events so that women can connect in spiritually sharpening relationships.