A healthy, God-honoring women’s ministry will not happen by accident, nor without a plan, prayer, and God’s provision. There are several steps that a church-planting team or church elders can take to set the table for a faithful and fruitful women’s ministry.

Here are five foundational steps to take before you ever put that women’s Bible study on the church calendar.

1. Believe that ministering to women is worthwhile, a joy, and a privilege. There are so many contexts in the world where women know they are an afterthought, viewed as a threat, or seen as a means to an end. What a countercultural gift, then, the church can be as we elevate women and empower them to know God and his Word, and to share their joy, experience, and wisdom with others. The world will see and notice your love for your sisters, and your sisters will see it and feel it, too (John 13:34–35).

2. Pursue and cultivate strong siblings-in-Christ relationships in your church body. For too many reasons to list here, treating one another as brothers and sisters in the church is not our strong suit in this cultural moment. Rather than cultivating a family-like atmosphere in our churches where men and women cheer one another on toward Jesus, we tend to be suspicious of one another and keep each other at arm’s length.

When both male and female leaders in our churches gather together to discuss missions, dive into the Word, or serve side by side, the whole body benefits. Klick um zu Tweeten

One reason women’s ministries are neglected is because male elders don’t know how to press their sisters on to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24). Prayerfully figure out how to treat the women in your church like the siblings they are. When both male and female leaders in our churches gather together to discuss missions, dive into the Word, or serve side by side, the whole body benefits. Let us grow trust and depth in our relationships so that we can better serve in our unique capacities from a foundation of unity and equipping, rather than suspicion or distance.

3. Look for faithful women in your church body who abide in Jesus, love his Word, and love others. A women’s ministry doesn’t have to be led by a woman with a seminary degree. A few women who have a desire to see others grow in the Lord, who are themselves teachable, and who love their local church can move ministry mountains by their great faith and acts of service. Paul’s greetings to so many women in Romans 16 is just one example in Scripture of the diversity and giftedness of women in the church. Look for and invite these kinds of women to pray about a leadership role in your setting.

4. Envelope female leaders into your leadership team. Inviting the women who help to lead your women’s ministry onto the church staff, or to ministry lead lunches, or to church leadership retreats or conferences will bear so much good fruit. Your female leaders will feel respected, cared for, and vital to the mission (which they are).

Their proximity to church leadership and participation in strategic planning will keep the women’s ministry connected to the wider mission of the whole church. It will be a win-win as all parties learn from one another and sharpen each other. In cultivating these mutually edifying relationships, consider how you might further equip your female leaders—and equally important—consider how they might equip you with their knowledge, perspective, and experience.

5. Know that the truism, “What you win them with, you win them to” applies to women’s ministry as well. Help your women’s ministry leaders prioritize genuine Bible study, prayer, hospitality, and accountability in their gatherings. There are so many excellent resources available that allow for both breadth and depth in women’s ministry settings—tools, ideas, and curricula that are inviting to newcomers, as well as life-giving and spiritually stretching to women of all ages and stages of spiritual maturity. Join your women’s ministry leaders in identifying these kinds of resources and then help them stay the course throughout the ministry year.

A Bible-centered women’s ministry, which both flows from the mission of your church and is welcoming to outsiders, is absolutely worth the effort. Klick um zu Tweeten

It’s true there is no cookie-cutter for women’s ministry in the local church. And this is not meant to be a prescription for every church everywhere. But to my brother pastors who are on the fence, please hear me: a Bible-centered women’s ministry, which both flows from the mission of your church and is welcoming to outsiders, is absolutely worth the effort.

It’s a precious setting that, when pursued with care and prayer, honors the Lord and serves the women he has placed in your community. Women’s ministry offers your sisters a unique and strategic place to be rooted, built up, and established in Jesus with thankfulness (Col. 2:6–7). And as you see them flourish, I think you’ll be thankful, too.

Jen Oshman
Written by: Jen Oshman on August 11, 2021

Jen Oshman has been a missionary and pastor’s wife for over two decades on three continents. She’s also a writer, speaker, and podcaster and especially passionate about encouraging women to deepen their faith and develop a biblical worldview. She is the author of Enough About Me: Find Lasting Joy in the Age of Self (Crossway, 2020) and So Much More: Rejecting the Empty Promises of our Age and Embracing the Goodness of our God (Crossway, 2022). Jen and her husband Mark currently reside with their daughters in Colorado where they planted Redemption Parker, an Acts 29 church.

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