Did you know that women’s ministry as we’ve come to know it got its start in the 1950’s? Christmas teas and morning Bible study groups were the bread and butter for women during that era. It’s not hard to spot how much women’s lives have changed since then, yet Bible studies and teas are often still the go-to programs for churches.

The problem is that women aren’t housewives with flexible schedules any more. An increasingly larger number of them work–often full-time–while also raising families. Their low participation in these standard programs has less to do with their level of commitment or their priorities, and more to do with the very real challenge of balancing career and family (something the 1950’s housewife never had to do).

To expect today’s time-crunched women to fit into a 1950’s program mold is unrealistic. Instead, consider some of these innovative ministry alternatives:

Four innovative ministry alternatives to holiday events and Bible studies

Moms’ groups: Perhaps because moms are increasingly in the workforce, they’re hungrier than ever for connections with other women who are also raising children. Moms’ groups are a good solution, particularly if the program is flexible enough to meet anytime and anywhere (including people’s homes). For more information about starting a moms’ group, click here.

Professional networking groups: Women love to network with other women, particularly when their relationships deepen their faith while also supporting the growth of their careers/businesses. Hosting a networking group can be a great outreach to both women in your church and community.

Workout/fitness groups: One of the most successful new ministry programs for reaching women of all ages are fitness classes. Women will even attend at early morning hours (something they’d never do for a formal Bible study) to fit in prayer, worship, and exercise before their day starts.

Retreat and mini-event kits: Traditional holiday teas get a makeover with mini-event kits that are a cinch to organize and easy for women to attend. The same goes for retreat kits, which are intentionally flexible so that you can plan one-day or weekend-long events depending on the needs of your group.

Have you tried any of these ministry ideas? We’d love to hear your experiences. Share what’s working for you in the comments, below.