The actions and the words of our church leaders reveal the value they place on the women they shepherd.
In my over twenty years of ministering to women, I’ve witnessed some wonderful ways in which church leaders have shown their support for ministry to women.
Unfortunately, I’ve also witnessed a reluctance and even a refusal to provide a space for women to offer biblical support and encouragement for one another. (That’s a debate for another day).
How can pastors make certain the women in their church feel that:
- Women matter
- Women belong
No matter the level of support a church leader currently offers, there’s likely room for improvement.
As the number of women active in the church continues to decline, ministry support to women becomes more critical.
12 Ways Church Leaders Can Support Ministry to Women
1. Encourage participation in women’s ministry events and activities
Verbally from the stage, in words in emails and newsletters, whenever and wherever you can.
Encourage women of all ages to attend, but also spouses to support their wife’s attendance.
2. Ensure the stage mirrors your audience.
Take a count of the number of women that are viewed from the pews. If the balance is off, find creative ways to affirm the value of women in your church, regardless of your stance on women preaching from the pulpit.
Ask women to read the text for the sermon, pass the offering plate, distribute the communion elements, sing lead on the worship team, make the weekly announcements, or any other task that does not conflict with your church’s doctrinal beliefs.
3. Meet regularly with the leaders of the women’s ministry team.
Provide encouragement and accountability for a ministry that is focused on God’s Word and making disciples.
Offer prayer and financial support so they can reach more women in the church and community. Sadly more funds are often allocated for a week of Vacation Bible School than a year’s worth of programming for a women’s ministry.
4. Celebrate the gifts and service of both men and women in your church.
Publically acknowledge service milestones and the work of volunteers being mindful not to neglect the women that may have offered support without a formal title.
5. Read Christian books written by women.
Most church leaders cite male authors regularly, but rarely quote women. Consider Elisabeth Elliot and Corrie Ten Boom for starters.
Add some contemporary female Christian authors to your reading list, not just for quoting purposes, but to keep your finger on the pulse of what your women are reading – not all of it aligns with God’s Word.
6. Bridge the gap when challenges to participation arise.
A lack of childcare is often one of the biggest obstacles women face when attending a women’s ministry event – ensure necessary funds are available and serve in the nursery if needed.
Protect any event or activity that’s been placed on the calendar – make certain no competing events are scheduled.
7. Highlight women in the Bible.
While a sermon or teaching series on Ruth, Mary, or Esther is always appreciated, women appear throughout the Bible, but their roles are often skipped over.
8. Be sensitive to common triggers for women.
More than 4 in 10 women who have had an abortion were churchgoers when they ended a pregnancy. An estimated 1 in 5 women has been raped. About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.
The mention of any one of those topics without warning could send some of your women into an emotional crisis. Before preaching on any sensitive issue, seek out feedback from trusted women and make any suggested changes.
9. View ministry to women as a bridge to active attendance, participation, and membership.
Just as most first-time guests make their first visit virtually, women often come to a women’s event before attending a weekend worship service.
Women’s ministry events done with excellence encourage women to invite their unchurched friends and neighbors.
10. Provide paid training for all leaders – men and women.
Invite women leaders to attend the next association or denominational meeting. Ask what conference they’d like to attend next year and cover the costs.
Identify mature Christian women and assist them in finding places in which to serve using their spiritual gifts, including, but not limited to, the women’s ministry.
11. Select the best women’s ministry leader for the job.
Nepotism prevents gifted women (and men) from serving in their calling.
Children’s, youth, music, and other ministry leaders are often recruited, included, and compensated in ways women’s ministry leaders are not, but should be.
12. Encourage women (and men) to study God’s Word.
Biblical illiteracy in the church is a real problem, in part because many lack the skills and confidence to study the Bible on their own.
Provide training on sound Bible study practices and tools. Encourage anyone who seeks theological training.
Your flock is watching – show them with your words and action that you value ministry to women.
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