Today I am excited to share a special guest post! Amy Gilmore is a women’s ministry leader in Oklahoma. I interviewed her in episode 12 of the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast. (If you haven’t listened to that episode yet, be sure you do!)
During the interview, Amy shared about Making Room Groups (which they lovingly call “mr. groups”). After I turned off the recording, I peppered her with questions about them. I know how challenging it can be to organize regular multi-generational, Christ-focused gatherings.
Amy has been gracious enough to share ALL of the details with us below. I pray it will stir up ideas for how you might do something similar in your church. – Cyndee
One of the toughest things in women’s ministry can be bridging the gap between generations. For some, it’s like a generational teeter-totter; one or the other generation pops up, just not both in conjunction.
That’s why I am beyond excited to share mr. groups with you!
You read that correctly, mr. groups.
I know. This is women’s ministry, and you’re thinking, “Excuse me. Shouldn’t it be ‘ms. groups’?” Well, hang on. Let me give a little background info.
A few years ago, my heart was craving deep, true, woman-to-woman fellowship. I wanted more than the every Sunday, smile and hug in the church hallway, act like we’re doin’ fine chats.
I wanted to get to know women better, and I wanted them to know me better too.
My first attempt was kind of comical. I knew the direction the Lord was leading me, but at this point in my journey, I was still driving in the fog. In my eagerness and definitely impatience, I went with the first thing that hit me… Bunco. While prepping a lunch in the church kitchen, I started asking ladies if they’d like to start a Bunco group. The group progressed quickly and beautifully, but then the Lord made me aware – Bunco wasn’t quite what He had in mind. Heeding divine intervention, I gracefully backtracked and departed from the Bunco group.
Side note: To all my sweet Bunco sisters – I come in peace. I still like Bunco. It just wasn’t where I was supposed to be.
After a little more prayer, patience, and listening, the Lord guided me to what our ministry now calls mr. groups; mr is an acronym for Making Room.
The formation of these groups falls under the familiar cliché, “Don’t reinvent the wheel;” please sit with me for a few more lines. I’d love to share some helpful specifics you can tailor to benefit your ministry.
After my Bunco blunder, I became more prayer-focused. I was sort of familiar with IF: Table (made popular by Jennie Allen). When I knew this was the direction to go, I prayed for five ladies whom I didn’t know too well. I asked each of them, one-on-one, about joining my new group (Sort of different than my Bunco method. Haha). They all said yes! Woohoo! We began meeting once a month in my home. The conversations and relationship growth were mind-blowing. This was what my heart craved – and theirs too, and it was without a doubt what the Lord had in mind.
Our group of six couldn’t wait for our monthly gatherings. We’d catch up over a simple meal, then onto the heart of the evening: Christ-centered questions.
No matter what had been going on in our lives, these questions unified us on a level playing field as humble image-bearers.
It was time for other women to know about this!
At a ladies retreat, my IF group shared about the life-giving fellowship taking place. We then divided the ladies at the retreat into small groups, served dinner, gave them Christ-centered questions, and did our best to nurture the small-group experience. The women loved it, and God graciously opened the door for more groups to begin and flourish.
As the wheels continued to roll, so did the need to make this ministry purposely fit our women. This is where our mr. groups began.
My friend and ministry team partner, Tracey, suggested the name “Making Room.” It was the perfect fit.
How many of you have ever thought or said anything like…
- I can’t do one more thing.
- I am so busy.
- My schedule is packed.
- How does she have time to do all that?
No matter the busyness, we should never find ourselves too busy for Christ or too busy for our neighbor. We must make room. As followers of Christ, we should always be Making Room for Him, and by doing so, we’ll always be Making Room for others.
Once we had the name, the next step was the Christ-centered questions. I was a tad apprehensive about this step; you see, the Lord had been telling me for a while to write the questions. I love to write, but sometimes it can be nerve-wracking to put yourself out there (anyone feel me on this one?). But I knew this could help create a better fit for the women of my church, plus obedience is always a good idea, right?!
Since I knew where the Lord was leading, I gathered monthly theme ideas from my “mr. group.” Rest, wisdom, friendship, serving, lamenting, Immanuel, loving our neighbors, control…
I took a theme, found an applicable verse or passage, and then wrote 3 – 5 questions to start and stir conversation.
The monthly question writing process looks like this:
- Select a relevant/timely theme.
- Select a verse/passage.
- Craft/compose 3 – 5 questions.
*I sometimes interchange 1 & 2
So, mr. groups have been a steady part of our ministry for several years now. The benefits are numerous. Besides bridging the gap between generations, the relationships between our women have strengthened and deepened. Our ladies regularly pray for one another, minister to each other’s needs, and trust one another like never before. Plus! These groups are wonderful grounds for mentoring!
I think my grade school teacher may be flipping the lights on and off because I’ve been blabbing too much! But y’all, if you heard the ladies’ testimonies, if you saw them praying together and caring for one another… When I get going, it brings out an uncontainable joy!
God does great things when we make room for Him and others.
If you’re interested in starting monthly groups in your ministry:
- Pray and be patient.
- Meet with your team.
- Discuss and decide a purpose for your groups.
- What’s our overall purpose?
- Who are you trying to reach?
- How does this align with your mission?
- Decide where your content will come from. Borrowed? Original?
- Create guidelines. Spend time here. You’ll be glad you did.
I have included a copy of our guidelines and our questions from June 2021 below.
I am happy to answer questions in the comments section.
Women’s Ministry Leader
I am the wife of a trooper & a momma of two, living in the Hay Capital of the World. I teach high school students and have a passion for women’s ministry (and coffee).