Whether you are trying to find speakers, partner with community organizations, or invite women to participate in your meetings, you will need to get connected. There are several ways to connect in your community with others.
Speakers: Not only will you be able to eventually pull from the various leaders who are attending your local meetings, but you can extend that out to other women and even men in your community. Reach out to Pastors to come and speak about Women’s Ministry from their perspective, how they consider budget requests, etc. As you meet with Women’s Ministry leaders (or other leaders in the community), ask for referrals to women who have spoken at their events before. Be willing to start off presenting the material yourself, but also have a plan to help/encourage the women attending who want to become more comfortable speaking in front of groups. As of date, we have never advertised for speakers. The more involved we have become in local events, speakers have come across our paths and we definitely take note. A firm recommendation, from our experience, take the time to vet the speaker before you ask them to speak at your group. Follow their social media accounts, have a few lunch dates, and learn as much as you can about who they are and what they believe.
Community Organizations: There are a few ways to get to know the organizations that are serving your community. Google searches and even Facebook searches can help connect you to the larger more common organizations in your community. This could include foster agencies, crisis pregnancy centers, food banks, etc. For the smaller, more personal, ministries and organizations attend local fairs, festivals, rallies, and events. Specifically, you are looking for ones related to causes or that allow non-profits to set up a vendor booth. As you walk through these events, pick up business cards and literature from the organizations to research when you get home (or to share with your planning team). Ask for referrals from your attendees or friends in other churches, who may have worked with local organizations. Keep an eye out for advertisements related to special events or fundraisers that organizations are hosting, and pull their contact information from the notice.
Attendees: In order to invite women to begin attending your meetings, the internet is a great place to start. Create a group on Facebook for your Women’s Ministry Council group, and share the link on your own Facebook page asking for Women’s Ministry leaders to join for more information about this new ministry. Also consider if Women’s Ministry is confined to those who are leading formal Women’s Ministry programs, or if that includes any ministry where women are leading other women. If it does extend to those other ministries, you can look up local MOPS groups, BSF groups, etc. online and reach out to their leadership with an invitation to attend. Place a flyer on community notice boards (restaurants, cafes, libraries, community centers, stores) about the group and how the reader can find out more information. Reach out directly to churches via their email or regular mail with a quick intro and invitation for their women in ministry leadership.
Another avenue, to connect with any of the above, is to connect in some sort of a networking group. There are many types of networking groups that meeting throughout your city. Some meet on weekdays, weekday evenings, or the weekend. There are ones that are for Christian Business Owners, and then there are secular ones. Christian Business Owner networking groups will introduce you to community groups, and potential speakers. Also, as Christians, most are regularly attending a church where they can bring your information back to their Women’s Ministry leaders. In the secular groups, you will have an opportunity to meet with community groups, and while not everyone attending are Christians… some are. You may find attendees and speakers there as well. Participants in those groups may not even want the information for themselves, but may have a friend that they would want you to connect with.