Autumn is just around the corner. And while in nature this means things are slowing down and preparing for winter’s rest, in ministry it’s just the opposite. We’re gearing up for new Bible studies, new activities, and new friendships with women. But many of us are in a rut, doing the same old thing.
It’s easy to choose the same thing over and over because you’ve done it often and know what to expect. But there may be women who are not attending simply because they’re tired of the same old thing, or because you’re not offering a study that’s relevant to them.
Here are some ways you can turn over a new leaf for fall:
• Review several studies that you’ve never tried before. Yes, you’re looking for Bible depth, but keep in mind the other needs of women such as the need to connect with others in meaningful ways. Does the study allow for and even encourage discussion? Does it allow women to share about their own lives and what God is doing or does it only focus on a speaker? Does it focus on filling in the blanks on a page or filling the needs of women’s hearts?
• Invite new women to be leaders or small group facilitators. Expand your Bible study leadership team by inviting younger women, those who have been on the periphery, and especially those God has put on your heart! Make your invitations in person instead of just making a note in the bulletin. It’s hard to say no when you’ve been asked face to face.
• Plan for variety. Even though many women now work during the day, most churches continue to offer Bible studies only on a weekday morning. Can you offer studies at different times of day? At various locations like at a coffee shop, the library, homes, or a bookstore? Can you offer one study that is homework intensive and another that isn’t? The more variety you can offer the more likely women will be able to attend.
• Keep groups small to allow for better discussion and more honest sharing. Small is good! A group with just six members will have opportunities to go deep with each other!
Amy Nappa, former and much loved Champion for Women’s Ministry at Group Publishing in Loveland, Colorado.