In Acts 2, we learn that the early church met regularly, and daily they added to their numbers (Acts 2:47). The early church had momentum, and part of that was rooted in the fact that the community of believers was having frequent opportunities to gather and connect with one another. In this time, they would be able to teach and learn, praise and worship, and also pray and serve. As they connected to one another they were building new habits as not just a community but as a family.
When I was a child, all of my family was in close range. We met for weekly dinners at my grandmother’s house. Major holidays, we were always together. As we entered into adulthood… marriage… children… buying homes… distance began to enter the picture. For a period of time there was one thing we could count on, we all went to the same church. Even that would eventually change. Now, we don’t spend nearly 1/4 of the time together we once did. And, I believe, in part, that is due to the fact that we fell out of habit. The less regularly we met, the easier it was to allow more time to pass between family gatherings.
The same happens with our church family when we allow too much time to pass between gathering in our community of believers.
Hebrews 10: 25 (NIV)
Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
There is value in consistent, regular, gathering. When my husband was under going several surgeries, our attendance to church during that time was very sparse. The more time away, the easier it became to make excuses not to show that morning. Stay apart for too long, and even the most faithful may struggle to return because they have disconnected from the people they share community with.
In a conversation with ministry leaders recently, we were talking about the value of sabbaticals… how often, and for how long. Resoundingly, all of those who were in favor of sabbaticals strongly cautioned about not being apart from the body for too long. Even Pastors recognized how hard it can be to return to the fold, to the habit, to the regular meeting when you have allowed too much time to pass.
As the early church built up their community, over time they were able to move the congregational gatherings to weekly versus daily. Why? Because, since the people were already in the habit of meeting regularly… they continued to meet in homes. Whether it was having a meal together, studying together, etc. they were still committed to regular connection.
What Does This Mean For Women’s Ministry
- CONSISTENT IN MEETING: A thriving Women’s Ministry is going to meet regularly, how regularly is going to be up to your team and the leadership of the church to decide. What regularly means is that it is consistent, expected, and scheduled. When a woman in your church asks: “When is the next Women’s Ministry event?”, you should have an answer.
- CONSISTENT IN CONTENT: Any ministry event should be consistent in it’s content, meaning that the Women’s Ministry should be a reflection of the church it is under. If you are a Missional Church, then your Women’s Ministry should be Missional as well. If you are a Teaching Church, your Women’s Ministry should be too.
- CONSISTENT IN DOCTRINE: All events, speakers, participants, and activities should be in alignment with the Doctrine of your church/denomination.
- CONSISTENT IN EXPECTATIONS: When your ministry is all over the map, it is hard to have clear expectations in place for the women you serve. It isn’t uncommon to get wrapped up in trends and implement new exciting ideas one after another. However, that can create confusion and chaos, and the women have no idea what the ministry is doing at any given time. Therefore there are no clear expectations either. Whether it is studying the Scriptures, praying regularly, serving the community, or any other good Kingdom thing… make sure your expectations are consistent & well expressed to those you lead.
When you have a clear vision and mission statement for your ministry, then you can create a CONSISTENT Women’s Ministry by vetting all decisions and planning in accordance with that vision and mission. Consistency is dependable, expected, and committed. Regular, on-going, connection to people whom we share a common unity under Christ. From Bible Studies and Small Groups, to Brunches and Ladies Night Out… we become those in between services opportunities for the community of women to gather and walk through life together.
Remember, how Acts 2:47 said that they added to their number daily? That is the benefit of consistency, the more you meet… the more women who will attend, as the word gets out about the amazing community you have established in your church. The more women attending the events, the more women will connect to the church. You will see your event attendance increase, and your church attendance increase… and this increase brings more women (and their families) to the greatest gift we could receive. We open the doors, welcoming them into the House of the Lord, introducing them to Jesus.