Brace yourself, today we’re talking statistics!
I recently surveyed 1140 women about their experiences and opinions on women’s ministry events and activities. This post is going to dig deep into their responses as we examine the women’s ministry survey statistics.
You may want to first read this post, that’s more of an anecdotal overview.
Responses were gathered from almost all 50 of the United States. The greatest number of responses came from the 40-69-year-old age group. If you’re interested, here’s a breakdown: 18-20 at 0.35%, 21-29 at 4.04%, 30-39 at 15.61%, 40-49 at 20.26%, 50-59 at 27.19% , 60-69 at 24.91%, 70-79 at 7.19% , and 80 or older at 0.44%.
Most are employed (55%) and 21% are retired.
The majority (83.7% are married, but a significant number are single (5.8%), widowed (4%), or divorced (5%).
Half (50%) do not have children living at home, but 12% have college-age children, and 10% have adult children living at home.
You can expect to see them at church every week (96%), if not more (47.8%). More than half (57%) participate in church activities once a week or more.
They live in a variety of communities, big city, small town, etc.
Few (3.7%) attend megachurches (attendance more than 2,000). The majority (53.5%) attend medium-sized (51-299) churches, with 14% attending small (50 or less) and 28% attending large (301 – 2,000) churches.
These women actively read the Bible with 79% reading the Bible at least several times a week, (25.7%) if not every day or almost every day (53.3%). Their top reason given for not reading the Bible regularly is they are too busy.
They have active prayer lives as 94% pray regularly.
Most (92%) know their spiritual gifts with 83% currently using those gifts in the church.
Women’s Ministry Participation
A strong majority (80%) have or are currently serving on a women’s ministry team (57% current, 23% former). Not surprisingly, 89% attend churches that offer activities and events specifically for women.
They prefer to hear about women’s ministry via social media followed closely by the church bulletin, email, and verbal announcements.
Their participation in women’s ministry events and activities varies widely. Nearly 17% seldom or never attend women’s ministry events, 20% attend at least weekly, 28.6% once or twice a month, 29% only a few times a year, and 4.8% attend a church that does not offer events and activities specifically for women.
Only 49% feel events and activities are offered for all ages of women. When asked which group(s) were not being served these answers were mentioned repeatedly: single women, college-age women, working women, young women 18-30. Some groups focus too much on young moms, while other ministries fail to provide childcare and don’t offer much for moms. Many groups are too focused on the seniors, while other groups neglect their seniors. It’s clear that women’s ministry teams struggle to meet all age groups.
They are most likely to attend a Women’s Bible study (84.36%), Women’s Fellowship/Social Event (83.09%), Women’s Conferences (64.26%), and Women’s Retreats (65.32%).
They are most interested in attending Women’s Bible study (80.29%), Women’s Fellowship/Social Event (70.91%), Women’s Retreat (69.97%), Women’s Conference (63.92%), Women’s Workshop – skill or topic-based (58.39%), Women’s Service Project (58.50%), Women’s Prayer Meeting (51.82%), and One-on-One Discipleship/Mentoring (50.36%).
Here’s a look at what motivates them to attend events: Opportunity to spend time with other Christian women (78.94%), Topic (75.60%), Desire to learn more about God/Bible (73.62%), speaker (62.57%), time of day (52.76%), day of the week (48.91%), cost (43.27%), location (41.61%), and if a friend asked me to attend (32.12%).
So what keeps women from attending? The cost is prohibitive (47.96%), not interested in the topic (40.18%), job/work hours (37.68%), the location is inconvenient (34.12%), not interested in the speaker (30.30%), they don’t want to attend by themselves (21.61%), children’s activities (17.13%), lack of childcare (15.02%), health issues (10.80%), spouse does not support my attendance (3.29%) and they don’t enjoy spending time with other Christian women (1.19%).
Most women (59.4%) have not had someone study the Bible one-on-one with them. And currently, only 33.5% are helping another woman study God’s Word.
Interestingly, most (75.9%) feel equipped to help another woman study God’s Word. (But when you take out those who have served on a women’s ministry team that number drops to 57.1%).
What do they need to be more equipped? More knowledge (28%), more study time themselves (15%), a plan or program (15%), training (15%), and confidence (10%).
Most (76.3%) currently participate in a Bible study or small group with most of those studies utilizing a Bible study book (63.2%) and video/DVD (54.6%).
Opinions on Women’s Ministry
Overwhelming (76.5%) women said “yes” the women’s ministry (current, past, or at a former church) played a significant role in their spiritual growth. But when we remove women who have served on a women’s ministry team that number drops to 48%.
When asked “How could a women’s ministry serve you better?” the number one thing they want is for you to offer Bible studies and offer deeper Bible studies. Also mentioned (listed in ranking order) they want you to focus on spiritual growth, address the needs of all women (not all are mothers, married, stay at home, etc.), allow time and opportunities to build relationships/more fellowship, offer more events, and discuss real-life issues. They also desire leadership training, service opportunities, a welcoming atmosphere, organized events, and the encouragement and implementation of the input of others. They are looking for events that are interesting and are less fluffy/feminine.
When asked “What’s important to you in a women’s ministry event?” responses were much more unified. Overwhelmingly women said they value accurate, Bible-based, deep teaching (32%). Also very high on the list is the desire to develop relationships (19%) and have fellowship (24.6%). 15.7% also mentioned that events should be Christ-centered and the Holy Spirit experienced. Those comments were followed by spiritual growth, welcoming/loving, fun, genuine/authentic, strong leaders/facilitator/teachers, purposeful, relevant, and practical applications.
And lastly, “What do you find unappealing about women’s ministry events?” There was, unfortunately, two clear “winners”, lacking depth (22%) and cliques (15%). Also of great concern were events that are too cutesy/fluffy, events that do not include others (age, women who aren’t moms), boring events, feeling judged/lectured, not being welcoming, unorganized events, a dislike of crafts, gossip, and events that are too pricey.
While that’s a great number of statistics to devour, what you don’t see are the thousands of comments that women made. There were some clear patterns, desires, and concerns expressed as women shared what matters most that aren’t necessarily reflected in the statistics above.
To give you the most complete picture I can, we’ll wrap things up with Part 3, which will include notable comments. There are so many, many good ones. Please pray for discernment in knowing what to share and how best to share it. Pray, too, that I’ll be able to present a fair representation of all of the opinions expressed.
If you wish to share these statistics, in part or whole, please submit a detailed request to Cyndee Ownbey (CyndeeATwomensministrytoolboxDOTcom). Thank you!
This survey received 1140 responses and was conducted from August 14-September 9, 2018 using SurveyMonkey.
Check out specific comments shared in Part 3 – What Women Wish You Knew About Your Women’s Ministry.