WELS Women's Ministry
Wisconsin Ev. Lutheran Synod
2929 Mayfair Road
Milwaukee, WI 53222-4398
Phone: 414-256-3888 Contact Via Email
How to start a Women's Ministry
HOW WE STARTED OUR WOMEN’S MINISTRY by Tracy Hankwitz
Our women’s ministry began officially in 2004. God has blessed our efforts over the past several years and we’ve been able to reach out to women of all age groups of our congregation, new members of the congregation, and women in the community.
Here is how we started our women’s ministry:
Step one: Talk with your pastor about your ideas and plan for beginning a women's ministry group. Listen to his thoughts and perceptions about needs of women in the congregation and any concerns he might have. Then meet with a small core group to discuss the need for women’s ministries within the congregation. I met with the wives of our pastors, the staff minister’s wife and two women that I see as leaders within the congregation.
Step two: Meet with a larger group of women. We chose to involve the leaders of existing women’s ministries within St. John’s e.g. Mission Society, Prayer chain/group, Women’s Bible Study, Women’s choir. We also included others that minister to women and men/children such as OWLS, Preschool Power Hour, Food Pantry….
Our purpose was to see how these various ministries could work together and get the leaders involved from the beginning of the planning phase.
Step three: Establish a mission statement and goals.
We agreed that having a name for our ministry would make it easy to identify in all of our events, activities and areas that we would be involved in. Here is the name of our ministry and our mission statement:
·RIBS (Renewed & Inspired By our Savior) is an umbrella organization that will coordinate the efforts of various women’s ministry, improve communication between them and sponsor events through the year.
·MISSION STATEMENT: RIBS exists to build up the body of Christ among the women of St. John’s so we can know Christ and make him known.
to encourage women in their walk with the Lord
to develop Christian friendships
to reach out to others
to communicate areas of service
Step four: Present women’s ministry idea to appropriate church board for approval. Include mission statement and clear goals in presentation.
Step five: Sponsor a kickoff event to present to idea of women’s ministry, identify needs within the congregation, and do some brainstorming. We held a spring brunch “Spring Planting for a Fall Harvest.” The morning included a light brunch, devotion and time for worship, and the idea of RIBS was presented. Then we broke into small groups to answer focus group questions and come up with ideas on how to meet the identified needs. The ladies also filled out a brief survey identifying talents/spiritual gifts.
Step six: The committee met to prioritize needs and selected a few of the ideas from the spring brunch. We met twice in the summer and developed a plan for the year (September – May) which includes opportunities for spiritual growth, fellowship, service and outreach.
It has been so exciting to see the number of women wanting to get involved. Our committee felt that events and small group activities would create opportunities for friendships to develop between women in the congregation. We also wanted to have events that were fun and non-threatening that would be an opportunity to invite women outside of the congregation.
Over the past few years we have held several major events:
Women’s Winter Retreat
Spring Gathering in April (various formats)
Back to School Brunch held the first day of school
Along with these events, we have regular small groups that serve, study, and reach out.
Girls’ Night Out – an evening of fun held every other month at church. Each one has a different theme, is low cost, includes food (of course), and time to spend with your girlfriends.
Women’s Bible Studies have also been blessed with several non-member women who have children in our school. Some of these women have continued on in adult information classes and have become members!
Read & React Book Club - has been meeting monthly for the past 4 years
The Master’s Gardeners - a group of women who plant and take care of flowers during the summer months.
Some areas of ministry were successful for a time, but as the needs change, so do our ministries. These include:
Project Reach (matching up members with shut-ins)
Fit-4-Life (a Saturday morning devotion and workout session)
A support group for women who are in the process or have gone through a divorce.
I would say the most important thing is to communicate in every way possible to the congregation. Educate them on what you are doing. From the beginning, there were some people who misunderstood our purpose for women’s ministry. They thought we were trying to do away with the roles that God has established for us as women. Instead, our purpose is to encourage women in their God-given role.
We used several avenues to keep communication open:
A page in our monthly church newsletter was devoted to our women’s ministry.
A quarterly newsletter that was available online or as a hard copy.
A page on our church’s website
And of course flyers, flyers, and more flyers in church call boxes.
I think the key to reaching women is one-on-one contact. Personal invitations and friendship ministry is how we can encourage each other toward the ultimate goal of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s what women’s ministry is all about.