I hope you’ve had a chance to check out the new Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast; if not, here’s your chance!
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Episode 2: Defining Your Target Audience
Welcome to the Women’s Ministry Toolbox podcast. I’m Cyndee Ownbey, your host and women’s ministry mentor. I’m the founder of Women’s Ministry Toolbox and the author of Rethinking Women’s Ministry. The Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast is a podcast for women’s ministry leaders and team members of all stages, from new to seasoned, serving in their local church community. If you’re looking for hope and inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. In addition to discussing the nuts and bolts of women’s ministry, I’ll be asking seasoned women’s ministry leaders to share their best tips and the lessons they’ve learned together. We’ll learn to build a flourishing Christ-focused women’s ministry.
Welcome to episode number two, defining your target audience. Today we’ll talk about exactly who it is we’re serving, their age, where they live, and much more.
What do you really know about the women that you long to serve?
How old are they? Where do they live? What do you know about them? So let’s first talk about what ages are invited. Do you have a minimum age requirement for women’s ministry event attendees? Well, I recently surveyed the women and the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Facebook group, and those leaders surprised me just a little bit with their answers.
I asked them to let me know what age they begin targeting the young women in their church for women’s ministry events and activities. By far, the majority of the leaders shared that they began inviting young ladies when they are high-school-age and up. Some do allow children of any age to attend, though sometimes it’s really more about a lack of childcare. Other leaders mentioned that they don’t compete with their high school youth program at their church.
There are definitely some pros and cons to inviting high school girls to women’s ministry events.
So let’s talk about that for just a second. The first pro is pretty obvious – it does ease the transition into women’s ministry events and activities. Young women already know a lot of the ladies that will be in attendance, and they feel comfortable. They know what to expect. It also allows for mentoring and discipleship opportunities.
So the cons. Women’s ministries might compete with youth activities. If you are targeting high school girls, you might have to be creative and do some serious calendar coordination, so that young girls don’t have to choose between youth activities and women’s ministry activities.
You also might want to consider that moms of teen girls might not want them in attendance. They may be looking forward to a night out where they can talk with their friends about things they want to talk about, and not be worried that other ears are listening and taking in the information that they’re hearing. It also tends to limit the discussion. Some women are going to be less open about sharing personal information, and some topics are going to feel completely off-limits if you’ve got high school girls and attendance.
This decision should not be made in isolation. Please talk to your youth pastor and the pastor who oversees your women’s ministry team. Have a discussion to decide who really is the target audience in your church. It may be that certain events are open to high school girls throughout the year to ease that transition into women’s ministry, or you may have different attendance rules for different types of events. Maybe there’s no teens at weekend retreats.
Every church situation is unique. So what I won’t tell you what the minimum age should be. Maturity should be a part of that conversation. It’s going to be harder to adjust the age upward if you start low now.
Let’s talk about the other end of the age spectrum. There should be no age limit on participation. We need the wisdom and experience of senior saints. And this may mean that you need to coordinate calendars with the leader of the senior adult ministry too. Your women shouldn’t have to choose between those activities.
So where do your women live?
There are two groups of women that I hope and pray that you are targeting: those include the women that already attend your church – this means women who come as guests, the regular attendees, and those that are church members. But the second group is one that sometimes I think we forget about, and that’s women in the community, those neighborhoods that surround your church building, or your meeting location, and the friends of your women.
While church transfer is very common, that’s not our goal.
We want to reach women who do not know Christ and those who do not have a church home. As we plan, we need to find ways to spread the word and offer invitations to women beyond our church walls. We’ll talk more about that in a future episode, but for right now, concentrate on location.
Location matters because we want to be able to physically interact with the women we serve and support.
We want to be able to take them a meal when they’re in crisis. We want to be able to sit down beside them and pray with them. We also want a level of accountability. When we don’t see women at Bible study or at church, we can check in on them. It’s really difficult to disciple someone when they’re at a physical distance.
As our weekly session drew to a close, the facilitator of our summer Bible study, simply asked: “Would someone like to close us in prayer?” You could have heard a pin drop out. Out of a group of over 20 women, no one dared to move or breathe. I was both shocked and saddened. Didn’t anyone have the confidence to pray out loud? At our very next women’s ministry team meeting, I suggested we offer a workshop on prayer. Our women needed help and chances are yours do too. The Prayer Warrior Boot Camp that we offered to stretch and strengthen our women’s prayer muscles is available for you to use in your church. The Prayer Warrior Boot Camp Kit includes everything you need to do and say. Visit prayerwarriorbootcamp.com to find out more.
It’s extremely helpful to know information about the women we seek to serve.
I want to tell you a quick story of how we saw this work in great detail in the church that we were in. So our team asked the church secretary to pull stats of all the women at our church. We wanted to figure out what age groups were most greatly represented.
We wanted to see how many were single, how many were widows, and how many were married? How many had young children, how many had older children? Y’all, what we discovered really was quite shocking to our team. We had no idea that we had so many widows in our church. And that greatly impacted what we offered, and it even impacted our discussion questions. Because we realized if we’re focusing our discussion questions on marriage or marriage and children, we were leaving out a large group of women. Not that they might not be able to add to that conversation, but we wanted to make sure that those questions were more inclusive and representative of the women that were at our events.
So how many college students do you have in your church? How many moms? How many are married without children? How many are single moms? How many are working outside the home? How many are working at home? How many are homeschooling? Try to find out if you possibly can.
Historically women’s ministries served stay-at-home moms, and meetings were only offered during the day. You may find that’s unlikely to work in your church, but you need to know the statistics.
So do some market research, take a survey, find out who your women are, what they do, and when they are available.
Today’s Toolbox Task has three parts.
- Determine who your target audience is. And that includes deciding at what age you’re going to invite young women to attend.
- Identify communities in your area that you’d like to reach.
- Record information about the women you currently serve. You might be able to use your church database, or you may need to do a survey.
We need to know who we are trying to reach so we can serve them well.
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast. Please make sure you hit the subscribe button, so you don’t miss any future episodes. May the grace of God carry you through difficult ministry seasons, may he direct your steps as you seek to make Him known, and may your love for the Lord be apparent to every woman you serve.
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