The number one question I receive is “How do we get the younger (or in some cases older) women in our church to participate?”
Women’s ministry teams everywhere struggle with how to engage multiple generations.
It’s a struggle I’ve faced myself in ministry.
The church we attended while we were in Kentucky had a solid women’s ministry. There was a core group of older women (60 years+) that had been faithfully serving on the team and attending women’s ministry events for many years.
Unfortunately our women’s ministry had the reputation of being for “older women”.
Thankfully there was a desire to expand their reach to younger women. (Side note: If that desire isn’t there in your church pray, pray, and pray for hearts to change.)
We did several things that started a shift in the age of the women in attendance.
1.We added younger women to our women’s ministry team. Those girls were intentional about inviting other women in their age group to our events. They’d send them a text, post an invite on Facebook, and mention it in their Sunday school class.
2. We had icebreakers at almost every event. We chose icebreakers that would get our women up, talking, and connecting with one another. Women’s Ministry Bingo, Summer Reflections, High School Memories, and Four Corners are just a few of the icebreakers I have shared that require your women to interact.
3. We sought out younger speakers that would draw in our younger women.
If your women’s ministry is already viewed as the “old ladies club” you’re going to have to work hard to change that perception.
Other ideas that work to engage multiple generations:
1. Assigned seating at events.
I know, you’ll probably get a lot of push-back on this one but it works. Have everyone sit down at the table that corresponds with their birthday month. For your retreat discussion group times assign women to groups (we prefer to pray and pull names asking God to place each one in the group He desires). The rest of the retreat time, let them sit with their friends.
2. Update your activities.
Survey your women and find out what needs the younger women have that you could meet. Perhaps they need a “mommy group” with some mentor moms. Maybe they’d like a weekly exercise group like Shazzy Fitness or Body and Soul.
3. Update your decorations.
Purposefully select trendy decor and colors – Pinterest is full of ideas.
4. Freshen up your publicity.
Publicize your events in ways that reach those younger generations – Twitter and texting specifically. Facebook will hit some of your 30 somethings, but not many and not many younger ones. Update your logo if it hasn’t been recently updated.
5. Remove divisions and dividers in your ministry.
Phase out any activities or structure in place that divides women by their age. If you currently offer breakouts during Bible study by age start mixing them up. Advertise events as open to women of all ages.
6. Gear your topics toward younger women.
Choose topics that appeal to younger women knowing that they’ll also appeal to your older women. For example, bring in a Christian Image Consultant to talk about fashion and faith. Younger women are looking for real conversations – talk about those taboo topics like abortion, divorce, porn, depression, anxiety, etc.
7. Review your schedule of events.
Are you scheduling events when younger women women are available? You’ll be leaving out a large group of working women if most of your events are offered during the daytime. That may mean adding an evening Bible study or an evening moms group. Not sure, ask them on a survey.
8. Offer childcare.
Childcare is an obstacle for many moms, and not just the single moms. If you live in a large homeschool community you may need to offer childcare for older children during the daytime. It’s another great question to put on a survey!
9. Reel your older women back in.
Encourage and remind your older women that your younger women NEED them. They need older women to love on and encourage them as they wipe snotty noses and struggle to find time to pee much less study their Bible. Remind them of Titus 2 and Mary and Elizabeth.
Keep in mind that it will take time – often years – to expand the group of women that your ministry is reaching.
Be persistent. Keep trying and don’t give up!
What other ideas do you have for engaging women in multiple generations?
One year ago: 10 Tips for Surviving a Crazy Women’s Ministry Week
Two years ago: Is your ministry button stuck on repeat?
Three years ago: Icebreaker: Roll & Poll