On a Saturday morning, when your women’s ministry gathers to serve… who are you serving? Is it the women of your church? Their friends, family, and coworkers whom they invited to share in the day. Or, are your tables filled with unfamiliar faces? Faces that wear the marks of pain, struggle, loneliness, and longing for something they can’t put their finger on.
On a Saturday morning, when your women’s ministry gathers to serve… where are you serving? In the comfort of your sanctuary, singing praise music, taking an offering, listening to a speaker? Are you in the banquet area of your church, detailed centerpieces, a spread of homemade foods to feed an army, watching a bible study video, and having table discussions? Or, are you out being the hands and the feet to those who are living on the streets, struggling to pay their bills, pulling weeds, painting houses, reading to the blind, shopping for the invalid, and serving the “least of these”?
Let me assure you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with serving the women of our church. The women in our churches need encouragement, accountability, opportunities for growth, mentorship, and in their times of need we have a responsibility to minister to those needs. However, this can not be the extent of how we serve our community. We need to be willing to step out of our comfort zones and church walls.
When we serve the community, we serve like Christ. When we serve those who are overlooked or outcasts, we serve like Christ. When we serve others who serve, we serve like Christ. Look to your community and ask yourself… if I was looking for Christ, where would I find him? Who would He be talking to, who would He be serving. Then go, and serve. I guarantee that He is serving along side you… as you serve the body, He touches their spirit.
What are some tangible ideas for serving your community?
- Host a luncheon for those who are serving the community in your area, to thank them for their service and to help them refuel their bodies for their work. I would not limit yourself to only “ministries” either. For example, you could contact a local food bank and offer to host a thank you luncheon for their volunteers. Treat the teachers who work in the most troubled schools to a breakfast treat or catered lunch.
- Host a baby shower for the local crisis pregnancy center to restock their inventory of goods they distribute to their clients.
- Pack up bags for the homeless that contain a snack, hygiene items, etc. and plan a date to hit the streets and distribute them. Pinterest has a ton of great suggestions for this project.
- Host a luncheon for women who are being freed from the local prison, as part of their transition process. Feed them, pray over them, find out what needs they have for reentering society, and then see what you can drum up. Coordinate with a local salon to host a day of free haircuts for the women, a local thrift store to give each woman a certificate for 1 complete outfit for interviews. Find out what items they can take ba the prison with them, and make gift bags filled with those items to bring back with them. Or, find volunteers willing to go to the prisons and pray/minister to the women.
- Volunteer at local soup kitchens, women’s shelters, etc. Give time, or even begin a regular process of collecting donations for their needs. Include bringing those needed items as part of your admission to an event.
- Find local speakers for your events who are willing to donate their time, while the money from the tickets goes to organizations in need within the community. Use your brunches as an avenue to collect money or goods.
- Hold your next brunch somewhere in the community, a local restaurant or park. Post signs that the community is welcome.
- Find empty nesters in your church who love children, and pair them up with young teen or single mothers for mentoring. These are women who need childcare in order to go to work. Foster a real relationship building opportunity.
- Partner with other churches and create a support group for our Female Combat Veterans.
- Create a tutoring center for single mothers who are trying to earn their college degree (or high school). Or, a workshop that teaches English to speakers of other languages.
- Bring gift baskets to the local strip club for the women who work their, remind them of their value.
- Host bible studies in community centers, retirement homes, nursing/rehab facilities.
- Find a neighboring church and host a lunch for their ministry leaders (Pastors, staff, study leaders, ministry leaders).
These are just a few ideas on what you can do in your community to let them know they are seen, known, and cared for. Just close your eyes and pray… “Lord, give me your eyes to see the needs. Give me courage to step out of my comfort zone in order to serve those whom you love. Point me in the direction in which you want me to go. Here I am Lord, send me. Amen.”