Dr. Halee Gray Scott’s recent salvo calling for women’s ministry leaders to stop doling out flowers and fairy dust to the women of their churches reminded me that each one of us has the power to change the ladies tea/chocolate spa/casserole club model of women’s ministry. There are some women that expect that kind of de-fanged busywork from church, but I most of the women I know have little time or energy for it anymore.
Many of us suburban Boomer women inherited our notions of what church-based women’s ministry looked like from those a generation ahead of us. Ministry to and by women reflected their post-war aspirations and fears, and our own Boomer concerns and hopes were folded into that lightweight spiritual souffle. In my 20’s and 30’s, I gamely tried to participate in those church-lady events designed for a certain demographic (stay-at-home-moms!), but always left hungry.
If you like the women of your church and want to form deeper relationships with them, it can be a little unnerving to do what I am about to suggest if you attend a congregation who has a line item for dainty doilies in their women’s ministry budget. But here it is:
Stop attending those women’s events. Just stop.
You probably aren’t missing anything much except the chance to get aggravated with the silliness of it all once again.
Maybe these large group events make you feel as though they’re the gateway that’ll help you connect with other women in your church, but I bet you might be able to find some other ways to do so. Start a book club. Join a community (parachurch) Bible study. Gather a few friends for a time of retreat. See if there are a couple of others in your church who might be interested in community service/outreach – joining with a ministry outside your church like a food pantry, volunteering at a women’s shelter, hospice/nursing home or tutoring a struggling child. (If there isn’t anyone from your church interested in where God is calling you, put on your big girl pants and go anyway!) Launch a prayer group. Take a class. Attend a conference.
And if you don’t have time or energy to be the spark plug, start talking to God about your longing for meaningful relationships and learning/service/worship opportunities. That desire you have to live a fruitful life came from him in the first place.