No doubt, 2020 was a challenging year for women’s ministry leaders.
While we look forward to 2021 with hopes of in-person gatherings resuming, it can be helpful to reflect on the things leaders learned in 2020.
I was blown away by the creativity and determination of leaders in this last year. Leaders fought hard to continue to serve women and point them to Christ.
Amid an ever-changing climate, leaders adapted quickly. They learned new skills and then taught others.
As I reflect on women’s ministry during a pandemic, several things stand out.
7 Things Women’s Ministry Leaders Learned in 2020
1. Personal connections are pivotal.
Even when they could not physically meet together, leaders found creative ways to serve and love their women. Handwritten notes were sent to every woman in the church. Front porch drop-offs of care packages were made. Leaders made phone calls and sent text messages.
The personal touches that may have been neglected in years past were front and center and women loved it!
2. Fellowship is foundational.
While online fellowship and connection were better than none, Zoom fatigue and inconsistent attendance highlighted our soul’s longing for in-person community.
Smaller group gatherings and backyard Bible studies allowed women in many places to continue to meet face-to-face.
Leaders continue to work to find ways to serve women who feel isolated and depressed.
3. Technology is a useful tool for ministry.
Leaders discovered new ways to use technology to connect with women between gatherings.
Leaders tried out new apps and experimented with tools to connect via video, text, and chat. Events that were initially scheduled to occur in-person were tweaked and available online.
While not every woman made the temporary transition online with us, most did, and many leaders noticed new women in attendance.
4. Unity in Christ trumps all.
Many might label 2020 as the year that divided Christians. From politics to masks to vaccines to whether or not we should meet in person, every church member had an opinion, and many took very public stands.
Leaders had to learn to navigate communications and social media in a way that honored Christ and every woman in the church.
Keeping the focus on God and His Word encouraged unity and spiritual growth.
5. Flexibility is key.
We learned to be flexible and pivot quickly.
Covid exposure forced cancelations and postponements. In-person events became online events. Events were streamed online for those who were unable to attend. Events were held twice, instead of once, to accommodate all who wanted to participate.
We may have be tempted, but we didn’t give up.
6. Smaller groups often make a greater impact.
The cancellation of most large group gatherings forced leaders to plan events for smaller groups. Women gathered in homes, driveways, and parking lots, often sitting 6-feet apart, with and without masks.
Women who may have gotten lost in a larger event were able to make connections in a smaller group. Needs that might have been overlooked were shared. Relationships were given the opportunity to go deeper.
We discovered even online events functioned better with small group components as women entered breakout rooms for discussion and icebreakers questions.
Smaller teams of women gathering to serve the community made big impacts through food drives and holiday collections.
7. Engagement and interaction trumped consumption-based events.
Leaders struggled with silence on Zoom gatherings and eagerly watched to see who would comment on social media postings.
Women quickly grew bored with online and in-person events that didn’t allow time for discussion and connection as stay-at-home orders and masks increased our desire to connect with people outside of our physical homes.
We learned the value of asking good questions and waiting patiently for women to process and respond. Leaders who may have abandoned icebreaker games found value in breaking the ice with non-threatening questions to provide points of connection and prime the pump to go more in-depth later.
Leaders even prepared material packets for online retreats, workshops, and crafting events so women could actively participate.
While there certainly was a learning curve, especially related to technology, these refined and new skills will continue to be valuable as we serve women.
I pray the lessons we’ve learned will not be forgotten when women’s ministry returns to “normal.”
I pray we won’t return to the way we did ministry before the pandemic, but that we’ll rethink our ministry methods, seek the Lord’s will, and continue to love our women well.
I’d love to hear what ministry lessons you learned in 2020 in the comment box below.
You may also want to check out:
Virtual Women’s Ministry Resources
How to Host a Virtual Bible Study
How to Host a Women’s Ministry Event Online
How to Use Facebook Groups for Women’s Ministry
The Best Social-Distancing Icebreaker Games
How to Host a Retreat in the Pandemic
Creative Ideas for Outdoor Social Distancing Fellowships