What would it be like to go to an English Literature class and never read a story? What if you attended a watercolor class where you had a great time but rarely painted? What if you sent your child to swim lessons but he hardly set foot in the water? You would ask for your money back or a new teacher!
Far too many times I have been part of a church group designed to study the Bible, pray, or care for one another when we never accomplished our purposes. We spent time together, we talked, and we always ate something (!), but we failed to discuss the Bible, pray, or get to know one another well enough to help each other with more than meals and a token prayer.
Sound familiar? What is the problem? Although the purpose is defined, the leader lacks a strategy to accomplish it. She not only misses the bulls-eye but the entire target.
Once your leadership has clarified God’s purpose for your ministry, it’s time to strategize the best way to accomplish those dreams. A women’s ministry mission may be discipleship, spiritual growth, mission in your local area, building community among women, or other great things. Your plans should be strategically chosen to accomplish the actual purpose. There are endless possibilities for ways to minister to women, but you should do only those that best move your mission forward.
If you are in an under-resourced church, the size and/or budget will limit the number of things you do as a group. Choose to do one thing, the most important thing, and do it well.
Brainstorm and pray for guidance answering questions such as there:
• What is the best strategy to fulfill our purpose in light of our church situation and culture?
• To whom are we trying to minister?
• What specific goal do we want to accomplish with them?
• What methods best help us fulfill our purpose?
• What is simple and sustainable, i.e. doable?
If you begin a women’s Bible study, the life stages and situations of the people whom you identified in your mission determine when, where, and how you do it. If your purpose is discipleship, your study and methods will be a bit different than if you want to reach your local area or build supportive community among women in your church.
I know several churches that eliminated women’s ministry, wanting to be strategic and expecting women to be part of the overall ministry of the church. In every case of which I am aware, they backtracked at least to a degree. Some did so because a woman’s longing to connect deeply with other women alerted the church to the need for strategic opportunities for women to develop relationships. One church re-instituted their centralized women’s ministry because the organic grassroots ministries that sprung up in its place had their own purposes not necessarily aligned with the church, and there was a lot of overlap and competition without a real strategy.
As you look at your present ministry of any size inside or outside of the church—parenting, small group, mentoring, women—consider how you can improve what you are doing by being strategic with your time and resources.
Let Beyond Ordinary Women help you as a leader on the four pillars of a healthy and sustainable ministry:
FOCUS STRATEGY ORGANIZATION TRAINING