I’ve always wanted to build a house from scratch. Well, not me personally, but a contractor. I would build it on a lot with a mountain view. The house would have a big wraparound porch with a cheerful paint color on the front door. Red. Or maybe bright blue. At the back of the house would be wide windows to take in the rolling mountain view. Inside, I’d get to design the overall layout, from the spacious great room to the master bedroom with an amazing closet organization system. And of course, there would be a screened-in back porch, complete with a fireplace for cool fall evenings.
Whenever I bring up this idea, my husband warns me of how much work is involved with building your own home. I know he is right, but there is something appealing about the idea of designing and building a home exactly the way you want it. Perhaps one day!
Building a Ministry from Scratch
While I’ve never built my own house, I do know that starting something from scratch is daunting. This is true of any task. It can be overwhelming. Frightening even. There’s a lot of work involved. Where does one even start? How do we know we are doing it right? Do we have what it takes to finish?
These are all questions I remember asking myself when we started a women’s ministry from scratch at my church. In the past, there had been a season when we had an active, thriving women’s ministry. There was also a season when it hung by a thread. And then there was a time when we didn’t have a women’s ministry at all. This time, we had a new pastor, and he gathered a group of women together to begin discussing what a ministry would look like. Over time, and after lots of hard work, we built a new ministry from the ground up, and I eventually became the women’s ministry coordinator.
Perhaps you are in a season where your church desires to start a women’s ministry. But you wonder, where do we even start? Just like building a house, you start with the foundation.
Prayer is the starting place for any new endeavor; it’s the foundation. Bring your desire for a women’s ministry to the Lord. Pray for wisdom and insight. Pray for wisdom to communicate this desire to your church’s leadership. Pray for those who would be involved. Pray for the process. Pray that God and His Word would be central and His glory the goal.
2. Church Leadership
Bring your prayer-soaked idea to the leadership of your church. Any ministry in the church needs to function under and yield to the leadership of the church. Be prepared to discuss how this ministry fits into the overall discipleship model for the church. Why is this ministry needed? How will it help the women in your church grow in their faith? How will it equip them to serve the church? Your leadership may ask you to develop a plan to discuss with them.
3. Gather a Team
One person can’t build a house alone and neither can one person develop and run a ministry alone. You’ll likely need to work with the church’s leadership on gathering a women’s ministry team. These are women who have a heart for ministry to women, who are wise in their faith, and who desire to work together to pursue the goals of the ministry. In some ministries, each member of the team oversees a group of women who use their gifts in a specific way. You might have a team who focuses on teaching Bible studies, another team who works on special events (such as a women’s ministry retreat, the annual brunch, and the Christmas cookie exchange), another might focus on spiritual mothering discipleship groups, and another team might pray for all the women of the church.
4. Develop a Mission Statement
It’s important that your ministry have a mission statement. What is the purpose of your ministry? This is like the floor plan for a house. It gives your ministry form and structure. Everything you do in your ministry has to fit within this goal. This will keep your ministry from going off course and help you focus on the discipleship goal for your women.
When you start a ministry, it helps if everyone is one the same page. You can do this by providing training for the women on your team. When they are equipped, they are better able to serve the women of your church. Training topics might include: servant leadership, teaching Bible studies, facilitating groups, Titus 2 mentoring, and ministering to hurting women. There are many opportunities for such training through conferences, books, videos, social media groups, and more. A good place to start is by reading Word-Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church by Gloria Furman and Kathleen B. Nielson.
Yes, building something from scratch can be overwhelming. It does take hard work. But with a solid foundation of prayer and God’s Word, you can start a women’s ministry to disciple the women of your church, equipping them to mature in their faith and share Christ with a weary and hurting world.