Want to grow your women’s ministry in 2016? Reach out to working women.
In most churches, working women are among those who most need attention and ministry – yet are least likely to be reached by traditional women’s ministry. This gives you a great opportunity for growth. You’ve got a vast population thirsty for support and fellowship!
How vast? Well, among women with children over the age of 3 living at home, fully 77% work for income. Some work part-time, some full time, some are employees, some own businesses – but they all share one thing in common: the “struggle to juggle.”
As many of you know personally, juggling a spouse, kids and a job creates a unique set of stresses in a woman’s life. Yet the church has often been antsy about how and whether to reach out to this group. Should the church be encouraging women to be stay-at-home moms instead? If we support working women, are we tacitly encouraging women to prioritize career over family? Conversely, if we reach out to working women, will those sacrificing themselves to stay home feel devalued?
Those questions need to be wrestled with… but to some degree they’re also secondary. The bottom-line reality is that the vast majority of women do work. And they need Christian guidance on how to handle it all. Because, as I discovered when researching a biblical model for life balance, if women don’t get input and support from the church, they will seek guidance somewhere! A bi-weekly coffee klatch with some jaded female executives is simply not as likely to produce godly, reasoned, Christ-following advice as fellowship with other Christian working women.
What can you do to reach working women?
First, resolve to make supporting working women a priority. It is amazing how that one decision helps others fall into place.
Second, evaluate what you’re doing that might unintentionally exclude or be irrelevant to this group. Are your women’s Bible studies only offered during the workday? Do your event topics and blogs address the ultra-practical issues working women care about? Do your retreats, small groups and Sunday School classes shout to these women that there is a place they can connect with others like them?
Third, solve two or three of the key obstacles you identified. Consider adding an evening Bible study. Offer blogs or events specifically to help corporate women navigate life in a healthy way. I’ve done many women’s retreats for churches who realized that one of the most important things they could do for all women (working or not!) was not to provide a set rule (like “stay at home until your kids are X age” or “only work part-time”) but to provide a biblical roadmap for how to understand and pursue God’s best for them and their families.
Fourth, once fixed, market your stuff like crazy, so working women hear the voice of support calling to them out of their caffeine-fueled, lack-of-sleep fog and realize: the Body of Christ is here for me.
BONUS: Leave a comment sharing how you or your church is ministering to working women and you could win a copy of Shaunti’s book, The Life Ready Woman. Three winners will be randomly selected from comments left by January 27, 2016.