By Megan Rawlings
Women’s ministry has a nebulous reputation. Whenever I say those two words together, women’s ministry, I get different reactions depending on the audience.
I despise overgeneralizations, but I will make one here. People in Generation Z (those born 1999–2015) and millennials (1981–1998) nearly gag when the mere idea of women’s ministry surfaces in conversation. Am I coming on too strong? Have a chat with a few women in those generations and see for yourself.
I don’t think it needs to be this way. After studying the situation for the last few years, I have five suggestions that leaders in women’s ministry should consider and address to help generate interest and excitement among younger women so they will want to be involved.
1. Women 40 and Younger Want More Than Talking Heads
In a popular Bible study “go-to,” members of a small group read a spiritually topical book and then meet on a given day to discuss their findings and watch a related video (i.e., a “talking head”). But women can do this on their own . . . they don’t need a team. Younger women don’t want to spend their limited time with other women simply watching a video of someone who is not invested in their lives. These busy women desire to be taught at their level of faith. They need the personal touch of someone who knows them and will connect with them at a deeper level.
2. They Prefer Verse-By-Verse Bible Studies
Many “Bible studies” that focus on a specific topic don’t interest younger women who are eager to learn and grow from your women’s ministry. They want verse-by-verse teaching through a book of the Bible. This is not an easy task, as few books can be studied in six weeks. However, working through the Word of God will have a great impact on your women’s ministry.
3. Tea Parties Are Fine, but Be Honest About Them
Many women tell me, “I hate women’s teas.” I don’t know if that is entirely fair. I think some generational compromise would help. When we do things for fellowship, let’s be up-front about the purpose. A women’s tea is simply a time for camaraderie. Say that. Be honest. Tell the women that although it might not be their cup of tea, it is an opportunity to get to better know the women with whom they study the Bible. It’s an opportunity to break bread. It’s an opportunity to be together.
4. They Want to Be Mentored
For the younger generations to be truly invested, your women’s ministry needs to be more than just attendance at a weekly Bible study. Remember, these young women grew up on screens and, therefore, they have a deep longing for meaningful and authentic connections.
If you want them to be dedicated, arrange for spiritually mature women to speak hard truths to them in love. They need someone who can give them wisdom and advice. They need a friend who will listen and care.
5. Not All Young Women Have Families at Home, and Most Have Jobs
Not all young women are alike. Yes, women love a good cleaning hack or recipe, but this may not be the main focus of their lives. Many are unmarried and don’t have children. For most of these millennials and Gen Zers, working from home isn’t an option; because of that, morning or afternoon Bible studies will not drum up a tremendous response. However, in many cases young women have children but not nuclear families, so they will need childcare. What I am saying is this: mind the times!
This is neither an exhaustive list nor an attempt to tell you everything you’re doing is wrong and needs to change. On the contrary, I want to offer insight into what younger generations are looking for and suggest possible ways to successfully invite them into what you have established. My prayer for you is that you make the gospel known and Jesus famous.