Points of Connection…A Case Study on How Women’s Ministry was Re-built by Applying Women’s Ministry Biblical Leadership Training Principles
At the annual Leadership Training Conference in February, a number of useful seminars were offered to the leadership participants. One in particular reflects how a local church went about redesigning a strategic women’s ministry based on the foundational philosophy and resources of CEP’s ministry to PCA women.
As you read, note how this particular local church, ChristChurch Presbyterian, was led in recasting and rebuilding a vibrant, connectional ministry.
The seminar leaders, Kathryn Jackson, a young mom of three with strong teaching gifts, and Jane Carter, a single PCA staff woman serving in the PCA Retirement & Benefits, INC offices, and current Women in the Church President, began by recalling a recent Leadership Training Conference.
Their local church sent eight women to the 2009 annual Leadership Training Conference accompanied by the pastor’s wife. The last speaker of the day was Susan Hunt, former Director of Women’s Ministry in the PCA. Later the women would say that her words seemed like a foreign language…they had never heard such things…they didn’t get it…they were clueless in Atlanta!
Here are the steps they took to move from clueless to connected:
They returned to the local church and decided more study was in order! The leadership team chose three books to aid them in better understanding what the Bible says about women’s purpose in the local church. Of the three, one was supremely helpful; a breath of fresh air; a life-changing kingdom focus. That book was The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood authored by Susan Hunt and Barbara Thompson.
Assessing Needs and Interests
“Who are our women?” They devised a survey that provided a foundational picture of the diverse women they served and revealed their yearning for true connectedness. Surveys are tricky, and they didn’t want to use the survey to create a needs-based ministry, but to gain a snapshot of who were the women in their church – ages, stages, how connected were they to the body of believers in their church.
Intentional, Strategic Planning
- Creation of purpose statement
- Focus on communicating that purpose through multiple outlets
- Bible study redesign – Structured to include biblical teaching (content) followed by smaller discipleship groups (structure) that prayerfully attempts to integrate faith into all of life
- Build connections through multiple outlets; building cross-generational relationships, a framework for Titus 2 mentoring
- Using discipleship groups to serve the body as they serve together
- Points of Connection Forums – simple, yet profoundly effective by selecting topics that are of interest to all women regardless of age or stage. Go online to www.christchurchatlanta.org, click on women’s ministry and read more!
- One word: CHANGE. No one likes change. It has been a challenge for women to embrace this new Bible study format and focus on discipleship. The leadership team is constantly trying to overcome this challenge via prayer and continual vision casting…it all comes back to purpose.
- Being a church in a big city – the team joins in working with the pastor and session to emphasize the importance of commitment to the church body!
- Motivation of older women who have ‘been there, done that’ to jump in and continue to serve the younger women. Older women are surprised to learn that younger women WANT to know them and learn from them.
- Looking forward….How does the women’s team build on what is being done? Are there new ways to cast the vision? How do we reach more women?
Regardless of the challenges, we stay on our knees, and take any new idea back to the purpose statement as the foundation to be sure it furthers that purpose:
In prayerful reliance on the Holy Spirit, we seek to help women cultivate a Biblical worldview that:
- Integrates our faith into all areas of life
- Challenges us to understand and embrace our unique God-given design and purpose as women in today’s culture
- Fosters commitment to authentic life-on-life relationships, especially between older and younger women
- Compels us to serve our church body and reach out to our community
…through a vital and transforming relationship with Christ and for His glory.