Last week we looked at the 3 Key Elements Every Small Group Needs. Now that you better understand the important elements of small groups in women’s ministry, you might be thinking, “How do we begin?” Or, if small groups are already established in your ministry, you might wonder “How do we continue to start new groups?” Today, let’s look at the 10 basic steps to beginning small groups.
1. Pray for each other and become sensitive to personal needs.
Prayer is key to any ministry—especially during the start-up stage when wisdom and guidance from the Lord are essential. A small prayer group may become the catalyst for other groups.
2. Survey the women of your church.
In order to identify felt-needs and design appropriate groups, listen to the women of your church and community. In doing so, you may choose not to duplicate other groups and start new ones. In any case, your local needs and not someone else’s model should determine your agenda.
3. Develop Bible study groups as a foundation.
A personal commitment to the Lord and His Word should be expressed through participation in systematic Bible study. Christian women are interested in spiritual growth and enrichment that can be promoted through group involvement. Bible study is the most common type of women’s group.
4. Keep missions and community outreach a priority.
Women’s ministry should include missions groups with a focus on exciting and relevant education, awareness, and involvement.
5. Work closely with your church staff. Responsibility for leadership of the church has been assigned to staff members. Seek their wise counsel. Women’s groups are part of the total church program.
6. Find and train dedicated leaders.
God will raise up women to give leadership to the groups in your church. Be alert for willing workers and assist them in training for their jobs. Be particularly sensitive to women who have not held a leadership position before. New ministries often uncover new leaders.
7. Hold a church-wide special event to promote the groups.
Many women will respond to a one-time activity before making a longer-term commitment. A special event attracts a larger number of women who can learn about small-group opportunities. Perhaps a “Preview Day” would be appropriate to overview options offered during this time frame. Offer information and register women on this day.
8. Develop nurturing relationships.
Small groups, especially in a large church, encourage personal contact and close friendships. While your women’s ministry will respond to the needs of the whole body, small groups can focus one-to-one on each individual.
9. Work in harmony with other church groups or programs.
Your church may have ongoing groups in place. Try to complement the mission of other groups while clearly defining your group’s purpose. A diversity of groups shouldn’t compete, but should strengthen each other.
10. Stay positive, focused, and pray, pray, pray!
Any work in ministry can become overwhelming and discouraging. Keep your attitude positive and your vision clear. And, above all, pray without ceasing for yourself, your small groups, and your church.
This article is an excerpt from Women Reaching Women: Beginning and Building a Growing Women’s Ministry compiled by Chris Adams.