It’s incredible how quickly things can change in a day or a week…
Last week I sat around a table at church discussing the Bibles study lesson with my Bible study group. This week there will be no meeting or discussion, and I’ll watch a video on my laptop our teachers will be recording for us.
I was supposed to lead workshops at two events later this month, but one has been canceled, and one will be rescheduled, Lord-willing, for the fall.
Beyond the logistics of canceling, rescheduling, and looking for online options to replace what was planned, I’m feeling all the things.
My extroverted tendencies are rebelling against the calls to socially distance myself.
I already miss my Bible study girls.
I’m wondering how much I should buy at the grocery store if I can even find what we need.
Both of our boys are seniors this year, one in high school and one in college, and I’ve got a lot of questions and concerns about AP classes and graduations.
Life for most of you and most of your women feels out of control and upside down.
While it can be tempting to sit and stew or even air our complaints on every social media channel, what if we embrace the opportunities God has given us to support our women despite it all?
If you’re looking for ideas on how to minister to your women when you can’t meet in person, I’ve got some ideas for you!
In addition to the ideas and resources shared below, please join the free Women’s Ministry Toolbox Facebook Community for training, resources, and ideas on offering women’s ministry online.
It’s possible to connect and stay connected, even when we can’t meet together.
How to connect?
There are lots of options for connecting, especially online.
1. Don’t start from scratch if you don’t have to.
Find out what tools your church has available for you to use to connect with your women. Do they have a Zoom subscription? Is there an app already in place that you could use to communicate with your women? If there isn’t already an email list for the women in your church, can one be created? I’m not asking you to add to anyone’s workload, but there’s no sense in starting from scratch if you don’t have to.
2. Connect via social media.
If your ministry hasn’t already set up a Facebook page, a closed Facebook group, or an Instagram account, consider doing so now. While I know some of your women aren’t on social media, the majority of them are, and it’s a place you can easily connect with them any time of day at their convenience. You may also want to read the post How to Create a Women’s Ministry Social Media Plan.
3. Offer online options for Bible study and small group meetings.
Zoom is an online video conferencing system that allows women to join via phone or video and participate with one another. Facebook groups, Google Hangouts, Webex, and FreeConferenceCall are other options. Smaller groups might want to use Marco Polo, Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Voxer. Consider the tech abilities of your group, group size, format, and pricing as you choose your delivery system. Many of these are free!
Here’s a spreadsheet I created that highlights the cost, size limits, and delivery method for each of the resources listed above.
Click the link below to open the free PDF.
Be sure to check out the post How to Host a Virtual Bible Study. You’ll find additional tips and information there.
4. Connect through physical mail.
Invite women to send handwritten notes and cards to those who are homebound and in nursing homes who can’t receive visitors as they usually would. Supply the names and addresses via email and inside a private Facebook group. Encourage small group leaders and Bible study leaders to send notes to their members.
What to share?
Once you’ve selected how you’ll encourage connection, you need to decide what you want to share to spur interaction on each platform.
1. Prayer requests.
Collect and share prayer requests. This could be done via email, inside of a private Facebook group, or using an app such as Voxer for smaller groups. If you’re using Facebook, I suggest asking women to post their prayer requests as comments under one post each day (or each week) to keep the rest of the feed from being overwhelmed. Give them some guidance on how to post with first names only and minimal details.
2. Bible teachings.
Reach out to women in your church who are speakers and Bible study teachers – they may be willing to speak or teach your group via video, Facebook Live, or Zoom.
3. Testimonies and stories.
Prayerfully ask women to share a God story in writing or via video. My post How to Share a The Best Devotional Ever and chapter 7 in my book Rethinking Women’s Ministry (affiliate link) has some tips to get your women started.
4. Graphics that inspire and encourage.
Create some Bible verse graphics that are uplifting or share some from other Facebook friends or groups. Please be careful in any quotes that you share – you want to be sure their theology lines up with your church’s beliefs and that they haven’t taken scripture out of context. Check out the post How to Create Social Media Graphics if you want to design your own.
5. Physical needs in your church.
Are there church members that need childcare, meals, or supplies such as toilet paper or hand sanitizer? Consider setting up a meal train using Take Them a Meal. Invite women to help meet those needs and serve one another. Encourage porch drop-offs. A Google Doc may be useful in tracking these needs.
6. Physical needs in your community.
Share needs in your community with your women so they can lend a hand where they are able. In our area, food pantries need staples and some school children are in need of free lunch.
7. Soul care resources.
Minister to the spiritual and emotional needs of your women. Share biblically sound books, blogs, online courses, videos, etc. that can help women navigate the days and weeks ahead. Again, use discernment and make certain what you share aligns with your church’s beliefs. Maybe you’ll even want to start an online book club or virtual Bible study until you can meet again in person.
8. Practical resources.
What do your women need right now to make it through the day or week? Ask your women how you can support them. Do they need homeschooling resources? Babysitter referrals? Someone to bring them groceries? Meal ideas? Maybe you’ll want to choose a focus for each day of the week on your Facebook page or in your Facebook group. Monday Meal Plans (recipes), Theater Tuesdays (movies/streaming suggestions), Funny Fridays (memes, jokes, and silly videos), and so on. Think of it as building an online survival resource library of sorts. Encourage women to swap sanitized books, puzzles, movies, and other items with one another via porch pick-ups to keep cabin fever at bay.
9. Family-friendly entertainment.
Invite women to answer an icebreaker question. Use these isolation icebreaker questions or pull some questions from my icebreaker games here. Share silly memes and tasteful, funny videos to encourage your women to laugh or smile. Our family enjoys Christian comedian Tim Hawkins’s clips on YouTube. Just be careful not to overdo it.
When we can’t meet in person, we can still help our women stay anchored in the Word and connected to the flock.
“Encourage one another daily”. Hebrews 3:13
“Do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13b
“Love one another deeply, from the heart.” 1 Peter 1:22b
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8
Praying the Lord will bless your efforts to support and connect your women when you can’t meet in person.
Please share your ideas for keeping connected in the comments below.
You may also want to read:
Virtual Women’s Ministry Resources
3 Keys to Virtual Women’s Ministry
How to Create Social Media Graphics
How to Create a Women’s Ministry Social Media Plan
How to Host a Virtual Bible Study
How to Schedule Social Media Posts
How to Use Facebook Groups for Women’s Ministry
Isolation Icebreaker Questions
Tips for Creating Live and Recorded Video
Women’s Ministry Email List Service Options
One year ago: Women’s Ministry Themes
Two years ago: Bible Study Review: Lies Women Believe
Three years ago: Teaching Women to READ the Bible
Four years ago: Spring and Easter Table Talk Cards (Free Printable)
Five years ago: How to Plan a DIY Spa Event
Six years ago: Reno Project #1: Excessive Decorations