Big and Little Sisters

Let's work together

Many of us are familiar with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.  Basically an “older” person is partnered with a “younger” person to serve as a mentor, positive influence in their life, etc.   They are not related by blood, but the idea is for the person serve in the same role as a big brother or sister would.  Usually the older sibling is close enough to relate, but old enough to bring some levity.

What makes these relationships so wonder is that both sides learn from each other, benefit from one another, and really complement one another.  We can learn from these types of organizations when it comes to our ministries.

Who is the Big Sister, who is the Little Sister?

The Big Sister is a ministry that comes from a church with means, and helps support one that does not.  Maybe, like sisters share clothing, we share our decorating supplies or study packages we have purchased.

The Big Sister has the room, when the Little Sister does not.  Women’s Ministries in churches that have space for women’s events can extend an invitation to the ones who are meeting in spaces that don’t.  Invite the house churches, ones meeting in public schools, and the women’s ministries from churches meeting in shopping centers.

The Big Sister is the ministry that has been thriving for many years, who comes along the side the Little Sister… the ministry that is just starting.  Helping her to find her way, navigate processes, and put together a ministry plan.

Just like the Big Brother Big Sister program, here is the exciting news.  We don’t have to be exactly the same.  We can be a Big Sister to a Little Sister ministry from another denomination, in another city, in a different neighborhood, a different culture or language.

So, are you a Big Sister looking for a Little Sister?

Or, a Little Sister praying for a Big Sister?

How Can You Connect:

  1.  Look for a Women’s Ministry that is the exact opposite of yours.  If you are a big and thriving, look for a new church that has just planted.  If you are a brand new women’s ministry, find a church that’s well known in the community for their women’s event.
  2.  Have a cup of coffee.  Contact their ministry leader and invite her out for coffee, lunch, or something fun like ice cream.  Share with her how you think the two ministries could partner with one another.
  3.  Share with others in your community about your new sisterhood, and encourage them to do the same.  If you are the Big Sister, maybe host a gathering at your church for women’s ministry leaders/teams to get to know one another.  Or, start is as a formal Big Sister Ministry outreach.

The Benefits:

Little Sisters will have an opportunity to partner with a Big Sister ministry that can help them pass on savings when buying group tickets for events.  Little Sisters will learn how to budget, plan events, fundraise, and grow in leadership mentoring.

Big Sisters will have an opportunity to steward how they have been blessed to help others get off the ground.  Forming friendships and relationships that can blossom into a long future.  Big Sisters will be reminded of their own humble beginnings, and will learn ways to stretch a budget or hold an event for little or no cost.

What other benefits can you think of?

Speakers for Women’s Events

it started on twitter(1)

When I (Gena) tweet things on my personal account, it tends to be random thoughts I have at the moment.  Maybe not enough to write out a full blog post, or facebook quip about.  I wasn’t expecting the response I received to a tweet from a few days ago.

This quick comment quickly resulted in hearts, replies, and retweets.  Ultimately the conversation (which has been amazing) expanded into a “how to list”.  I’m going to share that with you in just a bit, but first I want to put a little context around that tweet.

I am a speaker, I’m not trying to tweet myself out of a job.  I’ve just noticed a few things over my two decades of Women’s Ministry.  I have at a monthly women’s brunch to hear the same speaker, every single time.  I’ve heard team members tell us the only the way the women will pay for a ticket to attend (even at $5) is if it’s a speaker from outside the church.  I’ve heard amazing testimonies from women that have been brought in as a conference key note.  I’ve witnessed testimonies first hand with women who I have shared a cup of coffee with.

There are times for speakers.  If you are trying to raise funds for a large project, as a non profit, etc.  Then you may want/need to hire in a professional in order to get the attention, sell the tickets, etc.  You may have a very specific message you are trying to convey to the women in your church, and a professional speaker may be the one who has already done the work.  It just makes your life easier.  I get it.  For me, personally, the bulk of my speaking is on leadership to other (and incoming) leaders.  But, I still will happily speak at a women’s brunch or tea… if I am the person they want/need.

However, there are also times when the very person that has the story that needs to be told has been sitting in the pews with you for years.

To THAT woman, who has been waiting for someone to ask… please don’t wait.  Talk to your Women’s Ministry leader.  Send her an email, text, or even print out a brief outline, and let her know that if she ever needs or would want for you to share your testimony… just to ask.  Don’t assume we know your story, or that we know that you are willing to talk about your story.


Here are some practical ways to help the women in your church share their stories:

  1.  Get to Know Your Women.  If you don’t know your women, you have no idea what their stores are, or how God could use them to move the women in your church.  Divide the women in the church up, amongst your team members, and intentional begin to meet with the women & just listen.
  2.   Pray for the Women.  They may be fearful about speaking in general, or intimidated to share their story.  Pray that the Lord would help them walk through their fear, so that their story can help others.
  3. Help Craft the Message.  Maybe she has a great story, but has trouble articulating it.  Help her write out the message.  Teach her how to edit it, about speaking points, using illustrations, etc.  With guidance, she can do it.
  4. Use It in Other Ways.  Perhaps she isn’t quite ready to speak about it, but doesn’t mind writing about it.  She could write her story out as a devotion or hand out that you include on your Women’s Ministry facebook page, a bulletin insert, or just printing out copies and leaving them at the church info desk might be a start.
  5.   Interview Her.  Instead of setting her on the stage, alone, with a mic in her hand, and a spotlight on her face… go with her.  Sit down across a table, and interview her.  In this way you can guide her through the important parts of the story, pull her back if she gets off track, and help her feel more confident because she can look at you and not everyone else in the room.
  6. Record Her Testimony.  You can record her testimony, giving her as many takes as she needs, edit it, and then play it as part of the event.
  7.  Use a Panel.  There are certain subjects that you may have more than one woman that contribute.  Women do generally feel more comfortable in groups, being on stage or in front of a group together with women who share a similar story can be far less intimidating.
  8.  Stand with Her.  You may not ever say a word, but being present is enough.  Hold her hand if she needs it.  Or, let her know she can invite anyone on stage with her that she likes to make her feel more comfortable.
  9.  Work with Her Comfort.  If she speaks multiple languages, let her share her story in the one that is the easiest for her. Provide translation (live, closed captioning, etc.).  It may help her to convey her thoughts more clearly if she is not having to also translate it in her own head first.
  10.  Reach as Far as You Can.  If she speakers multiple languages comfortably, encourage her to share in message in those other languages.  It could be that she speaks live in one language, but records in the others and those videos are made sharable.  If she is comfortable speaking/translating on the spot, go for it.
  11.   Help Her Start Small.  Start with her telling you her story, then move on to where she shares her story in front of your team.  Then move to a larger small group setting, working your way up to the larger events.

There are many ways to tell a story.  Just make sure that it gets told.