Connect: Women Gathering with Women in Meaningful Ways
By Andrea Lennon, Evangelism and Church Health Team
To connect means to join together. Women need to connect or join together with other women in meaningful ways. God created women to be relational. We need to experience the love and support of others. We also need to be willing to extend that same type of love and support to others.
As a women’s ministry leader, it is important for you to know the correct role that women should play in each other’s lives. Women can attempt to fill their lives with the love of others and in the process miss the most important relationship of all, a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. When this occurs, women try to use a human relationship to meet a need in life that was designed by God and for God. At the heart of biblical connection is the understanding that God meets the deepest relational need in our lives. When women attempt to meet this need outside of Jesus, the attempt falls short every single time.
What does biblical connection look like in our lives? The early church in the book of Acts provides a great example. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.” (Acts 2:42-44, New International Version)
Within the local church, women need to find a place where they belong. They need to have a chance to have things in common with other women. This can be hard. Women are very different. However, when we focus on Jesus and our relationship with Jesus, we find common ground. In fact, we find ground that weathers the storms of life and celebrates the good times, too. The outcome of this process… women are loved, challenged, accepted, valued, and supported.
Women need to connect with women in their age group as well as women in differing age groups. As a leader, it is important for you to be on the lookout for cliques and power groups within the women’s ministry. It is sad to admit that this happens in churches. If we are honest, we need to admit that sometimes we can be part of the clique or power group.
The best way to avoid this in your women’s ministry is to offer consistent opportunities for new women to come to your church, connect with others, and take part in ministry. As the leader, you set the tone for the acceptance of others. Enlist a task force of leaders to spot new people or hurting people and help them connect to a group in a meaningful way.
There are at least three types of settings where women need to have a chance to connect with other women in your church:
• Large Group Setting: Your church should offer opportunities for all the women in your church to gather for a night of fellowship. These settings offer a great opportunity for women in the community to come and be encouraged. Theme nights, dessert fellowships, and book clubs offer times for fun fellowship where women can get to know one another in a casual setting. Retreats, conferences, and banquets offer meaningful times where women can connect in order to develop relationships, be encouraged, and be equipped with the Bible.
• Life-Stage Setting: Age graded or life-stage graded fellowships provide a time for deeper, more meaningful relationships to develop. Spiritual conversations can center on relevant issues like marriage, parenting, empty nest, singles, working- moms, etc. Plan events for the different age groups in your church. A day at the park for young moms or a lunch outing for the senior adult women. Women will enjoy connecting with other women in their stage of life. Remember to promote the event and invite everyone in that stage of life to attend.
• One-on-One Setting: Often times the most meaningful connections in a women’s ministry occur in one-on-one relationships. These relationships can involve an older woman and a younger woman. Prayer support, accountability, and mentoring can occur through these meaningful connections.
The women in your church and community will benefit from finding a place to belong where they are wanted, welcomed, and loved. Cultivating this type of church atmosphere requires prayer and planning. Taking small steps to help the women in your church connect with one another is crucial. When you do, your church will grow and the women in your church will be enriched and changed.
For help in equipping and engaging women in your church and community, contact Andrea Lennon at email@example.com.