“Do you have a women’s ministry?”
When newcomers to our church ask this question, I always feel a little awkward. The true answer is “yes.” We are very committed to ministering to the women in our church family. But based on what I sense they have in mind when they ask the question, the actual answer should probably be “no.” We don’t have a weekly women’s Bible study or regular gatherings for women, at least during the school year.
The obvious next question is, “Why not?” My best answer is this: because discipleship is our women’s ministry. We feel like the best way to minister to women is through discipleship. Small groups of women meet regularly, all over town at various times, with the purpose of encouraging one another in the gospel. We sense that if we were to offer collective weekly meetings for women, most women wouldn’t have the time to also meet with a small discipleship group. There’s only so much time in the week, right? So we’ve decided not to offer any programs for women that would compete for time that might be better spent in a more intimate discipleship setting.
There are obvious problems with this model. People ask good questions such as, “Well, how do women form relationships with each other? How do you incorporate newcomers? How do you train your discipleship leaders? How do you keep the groups focused on the gospel?” I’ll say right now that we do not have all the answers! But we are learning and growing through this process, and I’d love to share what we’re discovering along the way.
One of the ways we have helped women form relationships with one another is through regular gatherings in the summer. Summer is usually a time when our calendars are a little less packed and we have a little more free time at our disposal. We’ve offered different things through the years, usually a low-key, weekly gathering in various women’s homes. We have read some good books together and have met to discuss them. We’ve shared our stories with each other, centered on a theme. We’ve cooked dinner together, learned how to do a new skill together, or just sat by a pool and laughed a lot. And I’m pleased to say that friendships have formed and grown into discipleship relationships that have continued to meet after our summer gatherings were over.
This summer has been particularly rich. We are meeting for 5 consecutive Thursday nights, simply having conversations centered on applying the gospel to our lives. We’re meeting in a different home every week, with fun snacks to share, of course. 🙂 A different woman facilitates each conversation, sharing what she has learned about that week’s topic and how she is learning to apply the gospel to it. We are covering the topics of how the gospel relates to our…
- and discipleship
The conversations have been so good, so encouraging, that I’d like to share the meat of them here, in this category called “women’s ministry.” I hope that you can use the concepts in your personal discipleship and anyone you might be meeting with who needs gospel encouragement. Check back on Thursdays for the next month or so to get the scoop.