When it comes to women’s ministry trends for the new year, I find some similarities between what we want versus how we come to terms with who we are designed to be. A popular teen movie, What a Girl Wants, that released twenty years ago comes to my mind. In it, actress Amanda Bynes played Daphne, a 17-year-old young woman who ventured to England to find her father, who was unaware she existed. Like many movies which portray nobility and the desire to become royalty, Daphne struggles between who she is and the identity that pulled her in two very opposite directions.
Sometimes we look a lot more like a commoner instead of embracing who we are as daughters of the King. If leaders can point women to who they are in Christ, maybe they will embrace a world that is not about what they want, but rather a focus on fulfilling the commandment to love Him with their whole hearts and love others as themselves. So, in the spirit of trends, this post may not be surprising. But I do hope it is simply a good reminder that ministry to women must be purposeful and intentional. Here are a few things I believe women leaders should consider.
Women want flexibility and options.
It’s no surprise we live in a culture of choices. But when it comes to ministry, leaders should not assume there is a one-size-fits-all ministry.
Ministry leaders would do well to give women “what they want” by offering a variety of ways to engage in God’s word, serve others, and places to meet. Consider how you can offer flexible times for Bible study. Provide creative spaces such as home groups, or offer one-time options for busy women who can’t pull off a long-term commitment. If you want to reach more women, offer more than one Bible study a week.
Women want friendship.
We talk a lot about biblical community, but it’s easier to say than do. There are some huge loneliness issues among women, and I believe the church can and should be the answer. One Harvard education study in 2020 revealed that “36% of all Americans—including 61% of young adults and 51% of mothers with young children—feel ‘serious loneliness.'”1 Loneliness appears to have increased substantially since the pandemic. Leaders must ask themselves: How are you connecting new women to others? How are you creating an atmosphere where women get to know each other? When women come to your Bible study or event, how are you working to make connections that go beyond seeing each other on Sunday?
In addition, consider whether your church is growing. Many statistics show that churches in the past year experienced growth, especially among millennials. Not only is this demographic searching for spiritual nourishment; they are desiring friendships among others who have similar values.
Women want to be fruitful—to serve others.
Churches believe volunteering and serving are not just something to be desired. It is an essential overflow of what Christ has done in us and through us. Women love obtaining knowledge through Bible study, but they also find great fulfillment in ways they can serve the body of Christ and also those who need Him. To be relevant in the way you reach women, offer opportunities for them to give back to others. Whether it’s setting up a meal train, going on a mission trip, or serving others through disaster relief, this isn’t a new trend. It’s an indispensable one.
Women want to be spiritually formed.
This also seems obvious and not a “new” trend, but it’s a good reminder that ministry to women should have at its foundation a desire to help women grow in their faith. This can be accomplished through Bible studies, prayer groups, mentoring relationships, and opportunities for learning. In a culture that seems interested in spiritual things, let’s be leaders who offer good theological resources and training.
Women want to be fishers of women.
Look around you. Who are the women in your neighborhood and in your community who need a relationship with Christ? It’s no surprise the confusion over biblical marriage, gender, and what it means to be a woman are impacting the women in your sphere of influence. How are you equipping women with biblical knowledge and truth about God’s design? How are you ministering to those who are hurting, confused, or struggling with daughters who are hearing wrong messages? There has never been a better time to emphasize the importance of evangelism and practical ways to help women share their faith and know how to defend their faith in the midst of cultural battles.
Women want femininity, fun, and fabulous.
I believe we are coming out of a season when women’s ministry was criticized for being too pink and too superficial. Yet, like many other things in life, we can tend to go one way or another. I’m seeing more women embrace all things feminine—thanks to the Barbie® movie that made hot pink popular once again. To attract women who might not come to a serious Bible study, look for other ways to introduce them to the gospel. You could host game nights, share new recipes, or make a craft. I can’t believe I just typed those things, but I’m convinced women want to embrace beautiful and creative ministries. Let’s just make sure we serve God’s Word along with taco nights and hot glue guns.
1. Richard Weissbourd, Milena Batanova, Virginia Lovison, and Eric Torres, “Loneliness in America: How the Pandemic Has Deepened an Epidemic of Loneliness and What We Can Do About It,” Harvard Graduate School of Education, February 2021, https://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/reports/loneliness-in-america.
About Kelly King
Kelly is the manager of Magazines/Devotional Publishing and Women’s Ministry Training for Lifeway Christian Resources. She is the author of Ministry to Women: The Essential Guide to Leading Women in the Local Church. She is a contributor to the Lifeway Women’s Bible, as well as the Lifeway Women Advent and Easter studies. In addition, she is the cohost of the MARKED podcast for Lifeway Women. She has a Master of Theology degree from Gateway Seminary as well as a Doctorate in Ministry degree.