Below you’ll find the transcript for the bonus episode, How to Know if Your Women’s Ministry Needs a Makeover, from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
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How to Know if Your Women’s Ministry Needs a Makeover
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.
I am a big fan of home renovation shows. HGTV, admittedly, is one of my favorite and go-to channels when I’m looking for something to watch.
I’ve been thinking a lot the past several months about how home renovations and women’s ministry renovations are in a lot of ways quite similar.
During this COVID season, we have tackled several home renovation projects. We started by replacing those wooden spindles in our railing with the really nice metal ones. We added some wainscoting in a stairwell and down through a hallway in our basement. And most recently, I repainted our guest bath on the main floor and added some of that peel and stick wallpaper with a beautiful white and gray floral, plant-like pattern on it.
I have been so excited to see the transformation as we’ve made these small changes in our home.
Being in women’s ministry for over 20 years now, I’ve seen the power of small changes made to women’s ministry events and activities. There have been times when God has opened our eyes to see that our women’s ministry needed a bit of a refresh, that we were stuck in a rut. And there have been other times where God has made it really clear that we’ve either needed to reno or demo a women’s ministry event.
You may be wondering, how do you know if your women’s ministry needs a refresh?
If you’ve had any of the following thoughts or experiences, it may be time that you check in with the Lord to see what he wants you to renovate.
One sign that your ministry might need a refresh is that your team can no longer ignore that your attendance has been steadily dropping.
Another sign, your Bible study leaders and table leaders are discouraged by the lack of engagement or enthusiasm by the members of the group.
Maybe your women’s ministry team members are struggling to serve, and they fail to follow through when they’ve committed to a task.
Or perhaps your women’s ministry calendar has looked the same year after year after year.
At your last event, maybe you glanced around the room and discovered there’s very little diversity in the age or types of women in attendance.
You or your leader have had to beg multiple women to fill just one leadership position.
And a big red flag that your ministry might need a refresh is that you’re not seeing much spiritual growth in the women who attend women’s ministry events and activities.
While it may be tempting to brush off the signs as part of just doing women’s ministry, what if we took the time to really examine what it is that we offer?
One women’s ministry team I served on hosted an annual table event. It was a big deal. Women would plan their table decor months in advance. They would arrive 30 minutes early just to check out everyone’s tables.
I remember the first year I was a part of planning for that table event. As we worked through the schedule, I was surprised by the number of hours the team insisted that we set aside for women to set up their table decor. Well, the team was right! Women really did need a lot of time. Most of the decor was quite elaborate.
While I would personally be happy to eat off a paper plate without a centerpiece on the table, I understand that some women are gifted in this area, and others love and notice the smallest touches.
Our speaker that year had an incredibly moving story to share. Glancing around the room from time to time, I could see that not everyone was as engaged with her message as I expected. Afterward, one woman actually came up to me and complained that the speaker went on too long. But in reality, she only spoke for about 40 or 45 minutes, and she actually finished up early. No one opened their Bible to follow along as she referenced scripture. Even during our planning process, there was no focus on the spiritual part of our event. It was all about the decor.
Coming in as the new girl on the team I had a different perspective and different women’s ministry experiences to draw from. I knew this event needed to be redesigned. The next year we made several key changes in the schedule and content to bring the focus back to Christ and to minimize the focus on the table décor.
Does something seem to be missing from your women’s ministry program? Are you not seeing the interest or spiritual growth you and your team have prayed and planned for? The Women’s Ministry Health Assessment is a tool your team can use to zero in on the areas in your ministry that may need a little extra attention. Your team will examine seven areas spiritual growth, reputation, leadership, volunteers, turnout, mission, outreach. Targeted questions will help your team determine a health rating for each category. Added together, your overall ministry health score will shine a light on any areas of ministry that may need some extra attention and show where your team excels. This free PDF is available at womensministrytoolbox.com/freebies. Just enter your email address, and the file will be automatically and immediately be sent to your inbox. May God, as the Great Physician, help us to see the true health of our women’s ministry program.
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience… The focus of an annual event has gotten lost over the years, or you see the need for some small changes, but you’re not sure what to do other than just pray.
You know your women’s ministry is in need of a makeover, but you don’t know what steps to take next.
I’ll give you one hint. It’s not to resign. I know some of you are thinking that maybe what you need to do, but hang on, it’s not!
I’ve developed a four-phase process to help leaders accurately evaluate their women’s ministry and make changes where needed.
I can help you redesign your women’s ministry, so it’s more effective, engaging, and fruitful.
Today, I want to share that four-phase process with you.
1. Measure and Imagine
Just like on HDTV, where they would measure the space and create a design board, I help leaders accurately assess the status of their women’s ministry – what’s working and what might need some attention. We take time to prayerfully imagine what God wants your ministry to look like.
2. Plan and Prioritize
If we were working on a room in your home, we would decide what stays in the room and what goes. We’d look at our budget, and we’d select finishes. Well, in ministry, we identify gaps. We research resources, and we determine priorities. This is the phase in which we also decide the type of makeover our ministry needs. Does it need a major reno, minor remodel, or a simpler refresh?
3. Demo and Reno
In our home makeover, this is where we’d bring in the contractors and the big guns to start taking down walls and moving out cabinets. But no worries, we are not going to take a sledgehammer to demolish our women’s ministry program! It’s highly unlikely that your team needs to demo everything, but we will take action to demo or reno the areas of ministry that your team has prioritized.
Just as with any home makeover project, sometimes there are things that just need to be demoed.
Years ago, our women’s ministry offered a Craft and a Crop night. We had attended a similar event in a local church, and it was wildly popular. Once a month, we provided space for women to work on their scrapbooks and craft projects. There was some food, and we played Christian music in the background, and it was a lot of fun for those who love to scrapbook and more crafty. We always made sure that we shared a devotional with them, and sharing the gospel was of the utmost importance every time we met.
We started off strong, and we had a large number of women outside of our church attending. But over a couple of years, the attendance began to drop. I’d leave the house without knowing if I’d be the only person to show up.
Thankfully I had a couple of good friends that also scrapbooked, so usually, I wasn’t there all by myself. But the attendance was dismal. I pushed on longer than I probably should have. I wasn’t ready to give up, and I kept hoping things would turn around. But the time came when it was apparent that we needed to remove this activity from our women’s ministry calendar, it wasn’t a fun reno project, but it was the best for the health of our ministry.
4. Ready and Reveal
The best part about home reno shows is the dramatic reveal! I help leaders identify which renovations need a reveal and which don’t. I share my best tips for creating an exciting ministry reveal.
If you think your ministry is a need of a makeover, I’ve got several resources that will help smooth the renovation process.
Today’s Toolbox Task
Take at least one step to evaluate your women’s ministry.
One option is the free Women’s Ministry Health Assessment I mentioned earlier.
The second step you may want to consider is reading my book. Rethinking Women’s Ministry will help your team think about women’s ministry in some ways you might not have before.
And the third is the Women’s Ministry Makeover Method – those four phases I just walked through.
I will be offering a special eight-week group coaching program this summer, where we’re going to walk through those four phases in greater detail. but there is one catch – it’s only going to be offered to members of my email list.
To sign up for the Women’s Ministry Makeover wait list, click here.
(Make sure you add me to your address book and check those spam folders.)
Whether you’re sensing your women’s ministry needs a minor refresh or a large-scale renovation, I hope you’ll check out the resources I’ve mentioned and that you’ll ask the Lord to show you the next step you need to take to improve your women’s ministry program.
I want to leave you with this reminder from God’s word, Proverbs 3:6 says, “in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path.”
No matter what kind of renovation project you tackle when it comes to women’s ministry, if we put the Lord first, He’ll show us how and what we need to do.
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Women’s Ministry Toolbox podcast. Leading in women’s ministry can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be! You’ll find support and ideas you can use in the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Community Facebook Group. We’d love for you to join us! Search for us on Facebook or visit womensministrytoolbox.com/groups to access the link. 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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