Almost every week I hear from leaders who are
frustrated disappointed by the lack of interest for women’s ministry events in their church.
They’ve worked hard to plan and publicize events and yet few commit and even fewer show-up.
They struggle to find women willing to serve on their team and women to volunteer at events.
Most are discouraged and many are ready to throw in the towel and walk away from their calling.
They are desperate to pinpoint the “why” so they can do something – anything – to turn things around.
They know their women need Jesus…
I’ve talked before about the logistical reasons that often keep women away. (Read about those here.)
Today, I want to dig deeper and deal with the heart of the matter.
We must examine the spiritual reasons women aren’t attending women’s ministry events.
As I’ve been recently reading through Acts 8, I couldn’t help but notice the stories of Simon and the Eunuch and draw parallels to the very women we serve.
Both Simon and the Eunuch:
- Heard the Gospel
- Saw/understood the miracles
- Gave a profession of faith in Christ
- Were baptized
The Eunuch was born again, but Simon did not truly know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Acts 8:21 tells us his heart was not right before God.
Many, if not most, of your women have likely heard the Gospel, understood the miracles (Jesus’ resurrection), have given a profession of faith, and have been baptized. But like Simon, some have a heart that is not right before God.
Sometimes we are able to see that God is not a priority or force of change in their life.
Quoting a date, time, and place does not equal salvation. Some prayed out of a sense of duty, succumbed to peer pressure, or came forward without a repentant heart. They may never have experienced the prick of conviction or the draw of the Holy Spirit.
Your women may profess to know God, but may not really know Him at all.
I say this with confidence because I was one of these women.
Throughout my teens and most of my 20’s I thought I knew who God was. I grew up reciting the Apostle’s Creed, but it wasn’t heart knowledge.
I was lacking that personal experience with God.
Let’s examine the barriers that keep our women from women’s ministry events and formulate a plan to overcome those barriers.
7 Spiritual Barriers that Keep our Women from Women’s Ministry Events
1. They lack a personal relationship with God/Christ.
They may have the head knowledge, but don’t have the heart knowledge.
2. They’ve walked away from Christ.
We could call it the ex-boyfriend syndrome. They used to love Him, used to think about Him constantly, and used to spend time with Him almost daily but not anymore.
3. They embrace a part-time Savior.
When it’s convenient, when they are convicted, and when they are in crisis, then they seek His help. They may attend church every couple of Sunday mornings, but there’s no active relationship.
4. An idol has taken Christ’s place in their life.
Something or someone – could be exercise, caring for their children, an aging parent, a job, social media – has overtaken the time they once spent with Christ.
5. Their calendars have little to no space for God.
They hold high the banner of busy and don’t trust God with their calendar or clock. God has the power to expand time and increase our energy so we can get everything needed complete if we ask. Our women have succumbed to the pull of the society to overschedule their lives and their children’s lives because they are afraid of missing out. Not realizing that they are truly missing out.
6. They do not know what the Word says.
They do not know or understand what scripture teaches about being in community with other believers, serving others, and engaging in discipleship. They may never have been taught about the importance of spiritual disciplines and practices.
7. They have quenched the Holy Spirit.
Rather than tuning into God’s whispers, they’ve turned up the volume on the things of this world. Because they aren’t spending time in prayer and time in God’s Word, they aren’t hearing from the Lord as often. As His voice gets softer and less frequent, the voices of the world drown Him out. Some have physically quenched the Holy Spirit with drugs, alcohol, and other addictions.
As the faces of your women come to mind, you may be able to pinpoint the barriers keeping some of your women away.
Now that we’ve identified the issues, how do we get our women to a place where they want Jesus more than they want the very thing(s) that have taken His place?
What do we do?
1. We must pray with urgency and fervency.
Lives literally hang in the balance. We’ve got to pray for soften hearts, scaled to be removed, ears to hear, and people to proclaim God’s Truths.
2. We must be winsome.
3. We need to meet their physical needs so they can be present to have their spiritual needs met.
This may mean offering childcare, scheduling evening events for working women, respecting their time so they can return home as scheduled.
4. We teach them what God’s Word says and we make it easy for them to take action.
Provide workshops on how to read the Bible, how to pray, and how to share your faith. Give them lots of opportunities to serve others. Offer in-depth Bible studies with an emphasis on application. Help them to form or find discipling relationships with other women.
5. We model the very things we long to see from our women.
Show up every Sunday possible. Participate in a weekly Bible study. Share scripture on social media. Let your women see you living out your faith and the joy that it brings!
6. We teach our women to be discerning.
Some of the things our women are reading and listening to don’t align with God’s Word, but they have been lead to believe it does. False prophets are whispering in the ears of our women constantly – are we batting those lies back with the Truth?
7. Pour into a small group of women.
This might be your women’s ministry team or a smaller discipleship group. Gather women who are interested but in need of some spiritual spurring. Study and discuss the Bible together. Most of our women struggle to talk about the Bible and what God’s doing in their lives because they lack practice. (The READ Bible study for Groups is perfect for this!) Help them become strong in the spiritual disciplines and then send them out to train and encourage others.
8. We must give women an opportunity to respond to the Gospel.
You can talk about Christ and what’s it’s like to live a Christ-focused life until you’re blue in the face, but if you haven’t told women HOW to become a follower of Christ it’s all for naught!
Don’t fall for Satan’s lies that women aren’t ready to hear – they may not be ready to respond – but they expect to hear about God when they are at a church event or they wouldn’t be there. Women are more open to spiritual conversations than we give them credit for – we allow our fear of failure to keep us from sharing the best news there is!
9. Vary the seriousness of your events.
Women who aren’t walking with Christ are unlikely to come to a workshop on discipleship or a Prayer Breakfast. Sad, but true. Plan some events that are fun (consider a Christian comedy event) that include the Gospel message. Paint parties and Bible journaling tend to have great turnouts – include a brief sharing from one of your women about the impact God has made on her life. Give them a glimpse of why Christ and the church make the difficulties in life easier to bear.
10. Provide retreats.
Most women I know love a good girl’s trip. When we are able to get women to step away from the pulls of the world and set aside their crazy schedules, we can teach them to pause, to listen, and to receive a message from God. Bless them with some free time so they can reflect on the message. Throw in some laughter and some fun, but don’t neglect the depth. Allow them to connect with other women in discussion groups. Encourage groups to continue meeting after the retreat.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to increasing the attendance at our women’s ministry events, but we can make changes that encourage attendance.
We must be intentional to remove the logistical and spiritual barriers that keep our women from coming to women’s ministry events.
Our ministry depends on it.
One year ago: 10 Things You Can Do to Reach Younger Women in Your Church and Community
Two years ago: But did you tell them about Me?
Three years ago: Do we have to wear name tags?
Four years ago: Praying for Your Small Group (Free Printable)
Five years ago: Five Essential Items for Your Speaker’s Welcome Bag