When we first began to plan the first Women’s Ministry Council meeting, we decided upon a meet and greet. We wanted to get to know other leaders, and introduce to them our vision for this ministry. We began by heading to the internet and scouring local church websites, churches that we knew of in our community.
First, since we know of them (but didn’t attend) it meant they were an active church. Second, active churches usually have up to date websites. We figured instead of spending money on a mass mailing, we could visit the websites and only mail to churches that listed Women’s Ministries on their site. We sent emails and good old fashion stamped mail too.
This is why I’ve written for years about making sure your Women’s Ministry is listed on the church website. I can’t tell you how many churches didn’t include this information. There were some that also didn’t have a mailing address or email address listed on their site. It is really hard for new members or those considering a visit to your church if you don’t include the basics of where your church is or what it offers.
The first mailing briefly introduced our idea, and then gave the recipients an opportunity to respond back to us if they wanted to be added to our mailing list. Our meeting and greet had about 18 women. We have had meetings with as many as 40 in the last year. It has grown quite a bit.
The additional growth came from reaching back out to churches and leaders via mail and email. We even contacted the same church a few times. Often I will run into a new leader and when they comment about how they have never heard of our ministry… my first question is to identify what church they are from. In about 90% of the cases, I have mailed information about our ministry to the church address at least twice. I have no idea why they do not pass it on to their Women’s Ministry leaders, but it has brought me to the point of making sure I sent something out at least once a year.
Finding email addresses for either the church, ministry leader, or just a woman who leads a Bible study in the church is helpful. Usually a study leader is involved the ministry as a leader or attendee and will pass the info on to the right person. This takes a little internet sleuthing. Once I did attempt a google search to area churches, and there are mailing lists you can purchase. In the end I felt, over all, this was not the best investment of time and resources.
Our number one way of meeting new leaders was meeting in a public place on a Saturday morning. We met at a Panera Bread, and almost always there was a women’s study group there at the same time as us. Someone would notice us, inquire, and take information back to their church. The second way of meeting new leaders was for us to be present at things happening in our local churches. If I heard another church as hosting a women’s simulcast event, I was there. Women’s retreat that was open to non-members of their church? I was there, too. Denomination meetings? Attend them. Pastor breakfasts, I showed up at some. Christian Business Networking luncheons, there I was. Sponsoring a table or booth at a local event, always a plus.
Taking the time to get to know women in leadership vs. just sending out mailers was a third way that helped. Either getting their information from the internet and reaching out, or asking for introductions from other members in the community. We had some tshirts made up that I wear in public. I did start social media accounts. I would look for, and then make posts, in Facebook groups for our community extending and invite.
No matter how you reach out, make sure that you are being a good steward of your time and resources.