Move forward with women's ministry activities this fall by offering a variety of different types of small groups.

For many of us, large group events will be few and far between on our women’s ministry calendar for some time.

Smaller groups are going to be critical in keeping your women’s ministry going in this season.

While I love big events and will miss the sound of so many voices praising our Lord together, I believe small groups will be a blessing and benefit to our ministries – if we embrace them.

I suggest offering four small group meeting options:

  1. Outdoor
  2. Inside church
  3. Inside homes
  4. Online only

Different women will feel comfortable in different spaces.

Don’t assume you know what your women need. Take a survey to get a clear picture.

It may be tempting to be frustrated by the task of organizing multiple small groups to meet the diverse needs of your women. The extra effort your team makes will communicate to each woman that they matter.

Small group meeting options may include:

  • Bible study or discipleship groups
  • Interest groups
  • Fellowship groups
  • Home-based groups
  • Service project groups
  • Prayer groups
  • Care groups

It’s unlikely your team will need to offer every type of small group meeting option; however, a good mix will ensure the greatest number of women participate.

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of small group meetings. I’m praying God will highlight the ones the women in your church need.

Bible Study or Discipleship Groups

If you do nothing else this fall, please provide opportunities for your women to get in the Word.

You could choose a Bible study book (see some of my recommendations here) or you could invite your women to study a book of the Bible.

My READ Bible Study Kit for Groups provides everything you need to lead your group through a book of the Bible. The weekly worksheets guide women through the steps of record, explore, apply, and do. Women love the discussion time. You’ll be amazed at the growth you witness!

Interest Groups

Interest groups provide another connection point for your women as those with the same interests gather together.

Interest groups:

  • Enable your team to offer activities that appeal to a smaller segment of your women
  • Allow women with specific passions to serve as leaders
  • Encourage fellowship while participating in an activity or hobby

Examples of interest groups include walking, knitting, scrapbooking, hiking, cooking, painting, board games, empty nesters, and book clubs.

Logistically you’ll need to create a sign-up sheet that offers a listing of interest groups as well as a choice of meeting locations.

I’d suggest only moving forward with groups that have five or more women interested in meeting. If one or two are absent, that lessens the likelihood that only one person will show.

Fellowship Groups

Another idea for gathering women is to assign them to small fellowship groups.

Many years ago, our women’s ministry team created Sister Six groups. Six women met together for six months. Women took turns hosting the monthly get together and selecting the month’s activity. You can find additional information on how to run a Sister Six program here.

Home-based Groups

Another possibility for small groups in this season is to have women gather in homes to participate in a bigger event.

Your team might be able to stream or record teaching sessions for a conference or retreat. Women would gather to watch and discuss the material together.

Simulcasts would work well in a home-based group format. Movie nights would be another option. Or utilize the materials for IF:Tables.

Another fun, home-based group idea is Guess who’s coming to dinner? You may want to provide catered food or ask everyone to bring their own meal. Or skip the food altogether and host Guess who’s coming to game night? For more details, check out the post Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Service Project Groups

Your church staff may be aware of some needs at parachurch ministries. You may have senior adults in your neighborhood that need someone to rack leaves or do some light cleaning. Your local food bank may need volunteers to come and sort food.

You could pick one group to invest in regularly and build relationships, or you could select a different project for each meeting, spreading the love of Christ and resources around your community. For additional service project ideas, check out this post.

Prayer Groups

My participation in a prayer group many years ago fueled my spiritual growth in ways I never imagined. Those weekly meetings anchored my soul. Perhaps your women need an anchor right now too.

Provide an opportunity for women to pray together. This group could easily meet via conference call or Zoom if they prefer not to meet in person. You’ll find information on How to Start a Prayer Group here.

Consider offering a Prayer Warrior Boot Camp workshop to help women learn to pray out loud before launching your prayer groups.

Care Groups

Sending cards, making phone calls, and providing prayer could be some of the tasks performed by care groups. Unlike Secret Sisters, where gifts are often the focus, care groups offer spiritual support and encouragement.

How to Implement Successful Small Groups

Every group will need a leader to keep the group moving forward and provide some structure. You may find co-leaders with defined roles work better for some small groups. Depending on the types of small groups you’re offering, you may want to provide a time of training.

There’s usually no need for small group leaders to serve on the women’s ministry team – it’s one more responsibility that may deter a woman from serving. Keep in touch with them via email, offering prayer and support, if it is needed.

Be sure to publicize your small group options. Women can’t come if they don’t know what’s happening! Utilize your email list, Facebook group, and social media to help get the word out.

In the absence of large group events, small group options will provide an avenue for your women to stay connected, grow in relationship with one another, and remain yoked to the church in the months ahead.

Keeping the doors closed on women’s ministry activities and events this fall could have dire consequences. If women feel their needs are not being met, they will look elsewhere.

Lord, help us to be creative and flexible in the ways we support and serve our women in the months ahead. Amen.

You may also want to read:
Sister Six
How to Start a Prayer Group

One year ago: Book Review: Faith for Exiles
Two years ago: Book Review: It’s All Under Control
Three years ago: Tips to Increase Your Women’s Bible Study Attendance
Four years ago: How to Tackle Taboo Topics
Five years ago: How to Start a Prayer Group
Six years ago: Why We Must Be Careful What We Quote
Seven years ago: Five Essential Items for Your Speaker’s Welcome Bag