Slowly, but surely, restrictions are lifting across the United States and around the world, allowing people to begin to gather again.
The time we have now before resuming large group gatherings provides the opportunity for us to pray, prioritize, prune, and plan.
How do we resume “regular” women’s ministry activities?
Is a return to the way we’ve always done women’s ministry what’s best?
What should women’s ministry look like for the next six months or more?
How can we effectively encourage and equip our women to follow Christ and love one another with fewer women’s ministry events and activities?
Today I want to share four things for you and your team to do before you begin hosting women’s ministry meetings and events again.
Spend time together as a team (virtually, if not in person) and on your own praying and seeking the Lord’s will for your women’s ministry in this next season.
- What does God want your team to focus on for the next six months?
- What symptoms of shallow faith has God brought to light that you can address through future women’s ministry events and activities?
- How should your women’s ministry look different going forward?
- What online pieces of your ministry should continue for now?
God knows the needs of your women best. As you pray and spend time in God’s Word, jot down those Holy Spirit nudges.
As churches begin to re-open, it will be a slow, deliberate process. Let’s assume we’ll need to operate our in-person offerings at about 50% for at least the next six months. Your regular women’s ministry calendar is going to require an overhaul.
Which activities does your team deem as critical? What items on the calendar can be removed, at least for now? Revisit your women’s ministry mission statement and use it in addition to what God revealed during your time of prayer to help cull your list.
Prioritizing events also requires working through the tension between the Lord’s leading and your women’s comfort levels.
Rather than make assumptions, take the time to survey your women. There’s no sense in hosting anything in person until you know that they’ll be willing to show up!
Consider a survey where you women can rate their level of comfort (not comfortable, somewhat uncomfortable, comfortable, very comfortable) with a variety of situations and activities.
- Small group meetings (10 or less) inside a classroom at the church building
- Small group meetings (10 or less) outdoors
- Small group meetings (10 or less) inside a church members home
Add questions about medium and large size meetings (based on typical event attendance) too.
If you have the technology, ask if they would like a recorded, live, or video call option.
Ask about food preparation and availability. Your women might not want a coffee bar or breakfast buffet, but would be fine with boxed meals.
They may be unwilling to use childcare for some time yet.
Include a place where they can share other concerns and offer input.
While I’m a big fan of anonymous surveys, in this case, I suggest you require their name so you can address issues and ask follow-up questions. Reassure your women that you want them to be comfortable, and your team will do everything it can to make this as smooth a transition as possible.
It will mean a lot to your women that you’ve taken the time to ask how you can best serve them. While you may not be able to please everyone, that you are attempting to move forward in a considerate manner will communicate how much your team cares.
Let you women know, “While we may not be able to put into practice every suggestion, our team is committed to doing all we can to provide clean, safe, and comfortable women’s ministry events and activities.”
Pruning can be painful for your team and your women.
In this next season, it will be necessary to remove those things that fail to contribute to the spiritual growth of your women. If your women’s ministry has lost its focus, now is the time to get back on track.
Focus on what you will be offering, not on what has been postponed or canceled. You don’t have to make decisions about or communicate which activities and events your team has decided to remove from future women’s ministry calendars permanently.
My book, Rethinking Women’s Ministry (affiliate link), is a great resource to use as you and your team prayerfully assess your women’s ministry focus and structure.
Prune with purpose.
While it may be tempting to take a summer ministry sabbatical, now more than ever before, it’s critical that you provide opportunities for your women to gather and grow.
The next six months may need to be a hybrid of online and in-person options.
In addition to smaller events and activities, plan now for the first time you’ll have a big women’s ministry event. You may want to call it an open house, welcome home party, kick-off, or celebration. If your church is attendance is large, or your space is small, you may need to host the event twice so social distancing practices can be incorporated.
Your women will have many stories to share about how they saw God at work during the quarantine. Invite a few women to share their stories. See my post How to Share the Best Devotional Ever or chapter 7 in Rethinking Women’s Ministry (affiliate link) for tips.
Be prepared for women to be emotional. You may want to have a counselor on hand or at least a list of resources.
Pray. Prioritize. Prune. Plan.
Taking the time to complete each task will equip and enable your team to offer focused and valuable women’s ministry events when you’re able to meet together again.
One year ago: How to Host a Summer Book Club
Two years ago: 12 Ways Women’s Ministry Teams Can Warmly Welcome Guests
Three years ago: 8 Tips for Designing Your Ministry’s Logo
Four years ago: Icebreaker: A Day in the Life (Free Printable)
Five years ago: 30 Summer Fellowship Ideas
Six years ago: 6 Ways to Pray for Your Team