- Stop making women’s meetings about the temporal things we do (cleaning schedules, couponing, child-rearing methods) instead of eternal things (like character and growing in Jesus). Church should not be a self-help group.
- Don’t avoid doctrine. Women are usually the primary educator in the home from the time the children are very young. If you want the next generation to be founded solidly on scripture, teach the young women solid bible doctrine. This is discipleship. It is what the church is called to do.
- Avoid teaching anything not clearly taught as an absolute in scripture. Examples: that all godly people will do daily devotions, that a godly woman will keep her house clean, that a woman’s clothing is more important than her character, that scripture tells us how many babies a woman should have, that all godly people will attend the weekly prayer time, all godly people will tithe 10%, etc.
- Treat all spiritual gifts equally. Don’t exalt those who are good at teaching or evangelizing over those who are good at things like helping or giving mercy. The body of Christ needs all kinds. One gift is not superior to another. Don’t act like it is. The lady who can give a beautiful solo is not more godly than the lady who takes out the trash after the meetings. No favoritism. No people worship, only God worship.
- Don’t allow emotionalism to reign. We women are emotional creatures, but God expects us to make wise decisions based on an understanding of God’s word. Choose teachers and curriculum that reflect a solid bible-based doctrine and doesn’t encourage emotionalism, mysticism, or spiritualism. Our emotions are part of our flesh and are not a trustworthy guide. Our hearts and emotions are deceitfully wicked and only a fool would trust them.
- Discourage the comparison game. Don’t bring someone up front of the group and tout how wonderful and amazing they are at something. It’s not helpful. It creates comparison in the audience. Comparison is the killer of joy. It also creates pride in the person who was praised. It really doesn’t help anyone in the long run. God is working in our lives, and we definitely should testify to that. If someone has a victory in their life make sure all praise goes to Christ alone.
- Correct the gossipers. There are situations in which it is okay to talk about someone else (Paul did this as a warning to others, see here, here, and here), and then, there are situations where someone is just spreading rumors and being divisive . Keep in mind the definition of gossip. Know the difference and address true gossip. Gossip will kill the fellowship in your women’s ministry very fast. There is a pattern in scripture put forth to correct people in sin which would be very helpful in these situations.
- Choose genuine and humble leaders and teachers. It has been said that “those who give the most grace are those who understand that they themselves need it most.” A genuine person will be humble and honest that they’re not perfect and won’t try to pretend to be better than they are. We don’t need perfect leadership. We just need people surrendered to Jesus, humbly, totally dependant on His grace and willing to serve Him by ministering to others.
- Choose leaders who are willing to correct others in love. It is a huge responsibility to be a teacher or leader. It falls to these people to get to know those they are leading and be willing to offer biblical correction if those in their care are living in habitual sin. This is a huge part of leadership and should never be taken lightly.
- Pay attention to the spiritual fruit of the people in your group. The church is a building for the church, the body of Christ, to meet. It is a place for Christians. Many of the problems in churches today are caused by unbelievers in our midst. While I’m not an advocate of refusing to allow unbelievers in the church building, leaders need to be aware that unbelievers, those without Christian fruit (fruits of the spirit: evidence of Christ in their lives), are likely to cause problems in the fellowship of believers. Leaders should be aware of these people and actively working with them to bring them to the knowledge of Christ. Just as destructive behavior from Christians in the church should be addressed, so should destructive behaviour by unbelievers within the church group. In some situations, unbelievers might have to be removed from the group for the sake of the health and unity of the group. This will require wisdom which God promises to those who ask.
- Find ways to accommodate people’s needs. When I was a young mom, I never attended women’s bible studies, because no child care was provided at our church. I was expected to have my husband watch my children, but, due to his anxiety disorder, this wasn’t an option. I didn’t have the money to hire a weekly babysitter. I truly needed the fellowship, but I was unable to attend because our leadership did not believe childcare was important to provide. Now, as a woman with a chronic illness I have a hard time attending, because the chairs at the church hurt my back. Be aware of the needs of the women in your group and be willing to make reasonable accommodations.
- Keep the focus on God. Our churches today are very me-focused. Make sure your ministry is focused more on what God is doing and what God commands than what people are doing and what people want. A self-focused group will not grow in Christ even if the group gets bigger. The goal is growth in Christ not growth in numbers.
- No ear tickling. Don’t just teach what people want to hear. Be willing to teach the truth even if you lose attendance. The truth stands on its own, and we don’t need people to like it. We just need to teach it.
There you have it. These are just a few things I’ve observed that would help keep our women’s ministries healthy, biblical, and Christ-centered.