Whether a church has an official women’s ministry or not, women’s ministry is vital to the spiritual health of Christian women. But to understand exactly why this is, one must understand what women’s ministry is and is not.
A healthy and vibrant ministry to women is more than a social opportunity. It is more than event planning, craft meetings, luncheons and community service. While those things may be valuable ministry components, a thriving women’s ministry is women connecting with women, challenging one another to grow in Christlikeness.
Why Women’s Ministry is Vital
Women have needs and challenges unique to their Christian walks. As we examine these needs, we see the immense importance of developing a thriving women’s ministry in local churches.
Women need emotionally safe environments. Women often feel safest sharing their hearts, asking questions, requesting prayer and speaking up when they’re with other women. This happens for many reasons. Southern women are sometimes taught that “holding their tongues” in the presence of men is mannerly and respectful. Some women are silent because they misunderstand 1 Timothy 2:12, while some women are simply shy or feel embarrassed sharing before men, this behavior is also common in women who have a history of abuse.
Regardless of the reason for their reticence, many women feel more comfortable speaking up among women only.
Women need godly fellowship. Whether a woman is a new mom who rarely sees other adult women, a retiree who is home alone, or something in between, women need deep, rich and lasting connections that are meaningful and challenging. Rather than the quick and superficial “how do you do’s” of Sunday mornings, a women’s ministry gives the opportunity for deep connections. Even for the introvert, the Christian walk of sanctification is meant to be done as a community (called the body of Christ). This reminds ladies that they are not alone in any situation! Smaller, private settings within a women’s ministry will offer a safe place for women to be mentored, bounce ideas and tips, and grow in their spiritual disciplines—right alongside other women.
Women need opportunities to share and pray for private prayer requests. A women’s ministry is an excellent place for women to build connections that result in fervent prayer for one another. Not only is a women’s ministry a good place to ask for prayer, it is an excellent place to learn how to pray effectively. I’ll give a personal example. Eva and Marilyn are two women who have served as prayer mentors to me over the years. Without a solid connection with them, I would not have learned to develop the skill and art of heartfelt biblical prayer.
Women need to use their gifts and talents. When the Lord gives a person gifts and talents, he expects his children to use them for his glory. Women’s ministry is a valuable place (sometimes the only place) where a woman can use her gifts within the church setting. Whether a woman is gifted in hospitality, service, has an eye for decor, or can manage a budget, women’s ministry is a place where she can hone and use her gifts. Again, in a personal example, the Lord has given me a passion for teaching women his Word. The women’s ministry is really the only place within a local church setting where I can do that. If a church doesn’t have any ministry to women, it may be denying ladies the ability to use their gifts.
Women need to grow. This is huge! No matter how old a woman is, she does not need to remain stagnant. My pastor recently said, “If you are stagnant, you probably aren’t listening [to God].” The Lord calls us to grow. Women seem to challenge women in a very special way—when a woman sees another woman do a particular thing it somehow becomes more attainable for her. This goes back to the “iron sharpening iron” idea of Proverbs 27:17.
Ultimately, women need to minister to other women because the Bible tells us to. In Paul’s letter to Titus, God gives instructions for women in the church. Women are told to teach younger women to be godly. Restated, women are given the role of mentoring younger women and teaching them what biblical womanhood looks like. Why? So a woman can live in a way consistent with her faith. It is important for women (whether mothers or not) to participate in raising up the next generation of godly women, biblically sound influencers and new leaders.
Why Is Women’s Ministry Especially Important Right Now?
The church has changed. COVID-19 has changed the landscape of our world, and normal church operations here in Texas have been affected. While some churches are starting to resemble their pre-COVID-19 existence, many have just opened up again. Others are still meeting at low capacity. Some of the changes that churches are experiencing are not due to mandates, regulations, or rules, but are due to the very human factors of weak or aged immune systems. In addition to all of this, the social fabric of our nation is shifting. Currently, there are countless challenges for the entire body of Christ, and people need ministry, regardless.
In particular to women’s ministry, and due to our current times, we see that:
- Women can “fall through the cracks” and feel forgotten. Due to churches meeting at partial capacity, it is harder to keep up with individual church members and attendees.
It’s especially important for women to create an organized effort to continually reach out and meet other women’s needs. This can be done by personal visits, phone calls, mailers, online, or in other creative ways.
- Women need special mentoring. Specifically, women today need to see other women “in the same boat,” handling life with godliness. Women need to see Christlikeness modeled in daily life.
- Women need to develop an accurate theological understanding. When faith is challenged it has the opportunity to grow and thrive. As women are rooted in the Bible and anchored in Christ himself, they are better equipped to handle the storms of life.This can be developed outside of women’s ministry, but women’s Bible study groups are excellent places meet this need.
- Women currently have unique prayer needs. In our day women are facing unique stresses and struggles. Living fruitfully while facing quarantines, health issues and social unrest can be difficult. In addition, many women have been surprised by things like a loss of the family income, needing to homeschool, caring for elders who are vulnerable to disease, supporting an overworked husband and dealing with their own isolation and loneliness. Women need to pray for and encourage one another!
- Women have a different set of mental health needs. Because of the current stressors unique to women, women need to be brought into fellowship with one another. This helps alleviate anxiety and depression because women can then share their burdens with their sisters in Christ.
How Can the SBTC Help Your Church’s Women’s Ministry?
The SBTC has a wonderful system in place to support new and experienced women’s ministry leaders and help them develop women’s ministry in their churches. When I was first introduced to the SBTC women’s team at She Stands in 2019, I was newly involved in women’s ministry at my local church. The SBTC leadership team offered me support and training, and encouraged me in my role. Their godly examples and helpful wisdom made things much easier. I became equipped!
The SBTC Women’s Ministry offers a women’s ministry guide, leadership training materials, the She Stands leadership training conference, roundtable discussions brought to various areas across the state, general resources and support through zone representatives and online support and encouragement provided through the SBTC women’s ministry Facebook group.
We must remember: women’s ministry is vital to the spiritual health of women in the church.
Together, the local church can provide an atmosphere conducive to women connecting with women who then challenge one another to grow in