Examining the Heart of Women’s Ministry

How many women are coming to your Bible study?
Was your last event successful?
Do you have enough volunteers?
Are women stepping up for leadership?

When asked to consider the current state of the women’s ministry, we can be tempted to only report the externals. But perhaps we should go deeper when considering the health of our women’s ministry.

We’re all familiar with what is entailed in an annual physical exam. It takes time and attention to investigate not just our external physical health but perhaps, more importantly, our internal well-being. Our doctors might draw blood or run other diagnostic tests. But one thing is for sure, a good doctor always starts with placing a stethoscope on our chest to listen to our heart. Why? Because the heart delivers the life-giving blood that nourishes and cleanses the rest of the body so each part can function to its fullest potential.

I don’t know about you, but going to the doctor can sometimes be a scary proposition. A visit is full of potential unknowns that could be uncovered. And yet we all know it is vital to our ongoing health to make the time to get a checkup.

So as your friend and fellow women’s ministry leader, I urge you to stop and get a checkup. I encourage you to look past the external perceived successes or failures and look at the internal reality, no matter how frightening the prospect might seem. Examination involves going to the heart, soul, and mind of the matter—because everything in women’s ministry is an overflow of the vitality and strength of those entities.

Stop for a Ministry Checkup

So how do we get this exam started? We must move back to the fundamentals, our mandate in women’s ministry.

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).

You see, our obedience to this scriptural instruction will determine the overall health of our women, our women’s ministry, and most importantly our church. The Titus 2 charge sets the trajectory of the mission for our women’s ministry. It also informs the methods and motivations for our women’s ministry. The word “sound” in this verse means “healthy or hygienic.” It doesn’t take much to envision, or may I suggest, smell the alternative. Unhealthy women’s ministry brings death, but healthy women’s ministry is life-giving.

The word “healthy” connotes the idea of being robust, strong, whole, full of life, thriving, and flourishing. Wouldn’t you like these words to describe your life, your women’s ministry, and your church? Sound living, sound relationships, sound women’s ministry, and a sound church flow out of sound doctrine. So diagnosing the spiritual vitality of our women’s ministry is a deeply theological but immediately practical consideration. Sound doctrine must be at the heart pumping through all we do, say, and live out in women’s ministry.

So just like my doctor asks me some basic diagnostic questions at the beginning of my annual physical, I propose a few for you to prayerfully consider. These questions could be used to diagnose your individual health as a women’s ministry leader. They could also be used by your women’s ministry team to honestly appraise the health of your current women’s ministry. And finally these questions could be used to consider whether a specific event or activity may have lost its vitality. It is important to note that not every activity or event will accomplish all of the questions below, but each should accomplish at least some of them.

Women’s Ministry Diagnostic Tool

  1. Why are we doing this?
  2. How will this glorify God by reflecting His character?
  3. What is this teaching women about the biblical perspective of womanhood?
  4. What is this teaching woman about living covenantally and reflecting grace to one another?
  5. Does this activity or task flow from Scripture?
  6. How will this activity build community among women?
  7. How will it build community with other members, age groups, and ministries of the church, its leadership, and our denomination?
  8. How does this extend the boundaries of the community to enfold those outside the church?
  9. How does this demonstrate the compassion of Jesus?
  10. Will what we do and how we do it give life to our church or suck life from it?
  11. How are we showing our answers to the above questions to participants in the ministry so they understand why we do what we do?

Aim for a Healthy Church

Often women will come to me asking for a ten-step, easy formula for a successful or stellar women’s ministry. And after listening to some of their frustrations, I will offer these questions to help them begin to get to the reality of the internal health of their women’s ministry. But I always end with encouraging them to look upward toward an eternal goal. Ultimately, our aim should not be to have a successful women’s ministry but rather a healthy church. When our church is grounded in sound doctrine, our women and our women’s ministries will thrive and bring forth life because they are both spiritually healthy.

About the Author

Karen Hodge

Karen Hodge serves as the Coordinator for PCA Women’s Ministry, where she seeks to connect women and churches to one another and to sound resources. She is having the time of her life serving alongside her husband, pastor and best friend Chris, at Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs. Chris and Karen have two adult children, Anna Grace Botka and Haddon Hodge. She is the host of the enCourage podcast, and along with Susan Hunt, authored Transformed: Life-taker to Life-giver and Life-giving Leadership.