Church ladies’ groups

Something in a recent comment prompted the thought that it might be helpful to some to write a post about church ladies’ groups. Recently a friend at church had a friend from her home town visiting who also happened to head up her ladies’ group, and it was fun to compare notes and get ideas. I’d love to do that here, too: I’d love to know what kinds of things your ladies group does, what has worked and hasn’t worked for you. And if you don’t have one, maybe this will give you some ideas for starting one.

I was in and out of church as a young person and my mom didn’t attend regularly, so I don’t know what the ladies in those churches did. The church we were in when we first married had a ladies group which was entirely focused on missions: they began with a project time making things for the missionaries, had a missionary speaker, passed out pre-addressed letters for people to write to missionaries, had folders with prayer cards and prayer letters that they passed out at the end for people to take a few minutes to pray for specific requests for those missionaries, and collected items the missionaries could not get in their countries. When we moved to another state, the ladies there pretty much just met together for fellowship times.

At the church we are in now, the ladies group restructured several years ago with three goals in mind:

1. to find ways to minister to, encourage, and pray for our missionaries
2. to try to keep our missionaries before our people and help them get to know them better
3. to foster fellowship among our own ladies.

Sometimes our meetings are more directly missionary oriented; sometimes they are more oriented toward fellowship. But we do fellowship at every meeting, and we try to incorporate a prayer time for specific missionaries at most meetings.

At our monthly meetings we often have a missionary speaker or a lady from our church giving her testimony. In the past we have also had craft demonstrations such as stamping or soap-making, worked on projects for our missionaries, heard talks on various topics such as time management or heart health, and had an open discussion of topics like having devotions, loving our husbands, or hospitality. Annual events include a ladies’ banquet, assembling care packages for our college students, and sponsoring a church-wide “Missionary Christmas.” Occasionally we’ve gone bowling or putt-putting. Throughout the year ladies may opt to participate in a Secret Sister program to pray for and send little notes and gifts to someone anonymously, and then we get to find out the identity of our secret sister for the year at our annual Christmas party.

Most of the monthly meetings are held in the fellowship hall at church, but some are held in homes. We do have a nursery available: it used to be staffed by teens, but as their involvement dropped off one of our ladies took that on. Different ladies host the fellowship time, bringing and serving refreshments.

Occasionally some of the women will get-together for a Bible study of several weeks duration, led by different individual ladies. Often we use a study book from Regular Baptist Press; a couple of times a video series has been used. In some churches, organizing meals for families with someone who is sick or recovering from a hospital stay or for funerals is handled by a committees of ladies: in our church that is organized by deacon groups (all the church families are divided up by deacons, with each deacon over a group, and he and his wife organize meals and fellowships and such).

Some groups might also have a committee that organizes bridal and baby showers for church members. Our pastor wants that handled on an individual basis, so different ladies who know the brides or moms-to-be organize showers. There are a few who particularly have a heart for that ministry and take care that no one is overlooked.

The friend’s friend that I mentioned said that her ladies’ group has a monthly meeting as well as a monthly outing. I don’t know if that would go over here — people are so busy it’s hard for some even to come to a monthly meeting. But it might be fin to explore that as an occasional thing.

Some years ago on a Christian internet forum, one lady mentioned that her church ladies’ group was developing a home economics course that included all the basics of sewing, cooking, menu planning, childcare (to include bathing, dressing, diaper rash and illness), time management, organized cleaning, home maintenance, finances, budgeting, etc. — as well as basic discipleship and doctrinal classes. You’d probably need a lot of manpower (or woman-power!) for that kind of thing!

Most church ladies’ groups are focused on ministering to missionaries and/or their own ladies, but some also incorporate reaching out to others with a ladies’ visitation program or having Bible studies or special programs or activities especially geared toward inviting the lost. Of course, lost friends and co-workers can be invited to the regular ladies’ meetings to hear the testimonies and be around ladies in a more informal setting.

A few helpful resources I’ve found are:

  • Women’s World: Ideas and Procedures for Missions Groups by Dorothy Vander Kaay (out of print now, I believe, but used copies can be found online): this book had some helpful ideas, but I found the sections on organization to be a little too rigid (what kind of officers are needed and what they should do, etc.) But you could adapt the idea for your group.

Speaking of organization and structure, that varies from church to church. At the first church I mentioned, they had several officers that were elected every year, and the group as a whole was somewhat guided and overseen by the pastors’ wives. The second group I mentioned really had no structure at all: the pastor’s wife basically suggested activities, but it was a small church and everyone pitched in for most activities. At our church now, one lady was asked to head it up when the group was restructured. I kind of unofficially assisted her because that seemed to be the area of ministry where my heart was, and when this lady moved, I inherited the group. πŸ™‚ I would like at some point to have more people involved and perhaps go to electing officers: I think getting new folks involved keeps things fresh. Probably how things are structured depends a lot on how big the group is and what its goals are.

If your church does not have a ladies’ group, and you’re interested in one, you might start, first of all, with prayer for the Lord’s guidance. Then you might jot down some ideas of what kinds of groups or activities you’d be interested in, then ask for a session with your pastor to discuss them with him. Some pastors will have specific ideas for the ladies’ group; others will basically leave it up to the ladies’ involved and will only want to be kept informed. Then you might gather a few other interested ladies to brainstorm, or you might make up a questionnaire to get several ladies’ ideas and also ascertain what skills and talents the different ladies of your church have that they’d be willing to use for the group. Even if you can’t do everything you’d like to at first, once you get started, you can grow in different directions as the Lord leads and as needs and interests dictate.

In the next day or two I want to post a related piece on mentoring women in general: I wrote something on it for our ladies’ group newsletter, but I need to rework it a bit. To me a good ladies’ group within a church is an excellent means of mentoring and edifying each other. (Update: The post about mentoring women is here.)

27 thoughts on “Church ladies’ groups

  1. I LOVE hearing about your women’s group… Our church doesn’t really have one. We have ONE “Women’s Bible Study”… which I did enjoy, but dropped because I had to make choices. We also have ONE “Men’s Bible Study”. And those are fine. But we have sooooooo many MIXED studies, and missions, and “groups” and soooooooo many things to be involved in, that I’m not sure how a “Women’s Group” would fit in at my church. We’re very co-ed on almost everything! (except the Men’s softball team!) LOL! But I mean in our mission work …

    Of course, we’re also a rather smallerish church. We only have about 400 members TOTAL… and you know… a bunch of them are not the regulars! But we have a group that does Birthright, and a group that does The Lutheran Mission Center, and another that makes quilts and blankets for various causes. We have a group that provides for soldiers returning injured, from overseas… We also have missionaries that travel to Kenya… We have a group that bicycles for causes and of course we have a team for Relay for Life… probably all the normal stuff that other churches do. And then of course, we have the choir, the praise team, the youth band, etc… we have a movie night the 2nd Saturday of each month, where families can get together for a Christian movie and fellowship… and we’ve just started up a family game night too… we DO a lot… just not in a women’s group… LOL! I guess I’m not much HELP huh!?

    • congratulation,that you are having the feeling of unity.I really became so happy by reading.I am also a christan father is no more,but my mother is aged.I make labour work.I have seen better days when my father was.
      Every day i pray,go to church.but i came to knoe that such origanation help to the needy people,but that is not the fact,because it required request letter.but no one is ready to give me by whuch i may get please if you think trustable give me a mail—
      Or leaave me on god’s grace

  2. Wow, Melli, that’s amazing. You have a very active church! In my book 400 is pretty good sized. Ours is about 250. The first church we were in had several hundred, the second only about 75. Each size and stage has its advantages and disadvantages, but with a medium-to-larger church, you do have more people available to oversee more programs.

    I wouldn’t say it’s necessary or essential to have a women’s group, but it does provide a place for mentoring, fellowship, ministry, and encouragement. But it sounds like your church has plenty of opportunity for that.

  3. Our women’s group is actually called a Ladies Fellowship Committee, so missions isn’t a part of it at all. There’s another committee for that (can you tell we’re Baptist? We gots lots of committees πŸ™‚ )

    One great thing the committee does annually is a holiday brunch in early November. Attendees pay nothing; however, based on the first letter of their last name, they are asked to bring a food item: fruit is one category, ham biscuits is another, sausage balls, sweet rolls, breakfast casseroles. That kind of thing.

    We open in prayer and announcements (where the bathrooms are located, because we often have non-members attending). Then while we eat, there is usually someone lined up to do a solo or duet. The rest of the time, we have a sound system set up and some CDs play softly in the background.

    Someone also does a short devotional after we eat and then we are dismissed… but not to go home.

    We generally have six different areas set up with varying craft demonstrations. This is the one place that a cost comes in… for materials for whatever craft you sign up to make. Because, while some classes are strictly demonstrations, many are also “Make and Take” ornament classes.

    We don’t all do each class because of time limitations. We generally pick three of our favorites and classes last 40 minutes. Then a bell is rung and we rotate to our next class.

    The most difficult thing about planning this, other than getting fresh craft ideas each year, is organizing which ladies are in each class for all three sessions.

    At then end, we all go home with some neat ornaments (that I usually give to my mom or grandmother for Christmas, because they have everything they need, but something homemade is special.). Or we at least have some new ideas on how to decorate.

    Some of our past classes included a demo on creative gift wrapping, decorating your fireplace mantle, making homemade Christmas candy, and any kind of snowman ornament you can think of: made out of wood and paint, lightbulbs with textured paint, and socks even.

    Oh, I almost forgot. The committee also gets door prizes from either connections they have in the community or from those who led a demonstrations. The lady who taught us how to make candy gave away three Christmas platters with all kinds of goodies on them. Each committee member comes up with at least one door prize to give away. We’ve even had members “re-gift” brand new items they were given but never used. I gave a bunch of scrapbooking supplies and an album, still in the original wrapping, because I don’t scrapbook.

    AND each person who helped make it happen, outside of committee members, gets a nominal gift certificate to a restaurant. From each demo instructor to the fella who sets up our sound equipment and from each singer to the person who does our devotional.

    Can you tell I love this event!?

  4. My family has often been on the receiving end of your lovely gifts through your ladies ministry. Thanks!
    My husband and daughter, Jewel, will be at your church next Sunday I believe. Jewel is traveling to visit BJU. I wish I would be able to meet you, but I am not traveling at this time due to the upcoming wedding and a bad back. 😦

  5. How blessed you are, Barbara, to have this wonderful fellowship with the other women in your church. My goodness, the comment responses are so long here, I’ll just keep it simple. I think you’re very, very blessed.

  6. Hi Barbara,

    I just rec’d my first award! I wanted to pay if forward to you. If you’ve already rec’d this one, just know I was thinking of you.
    God Bless,
    Brenda πŸ™‚

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  8. The church we attend now has a staffed Women’s Ministry Department plus volunteers. We have Fall and Spring Bible Study semesters with praise before breaking into small groups. We had lunch available at a small fee when I first began attending but that has been abandoned for some reason. I wish they would begin again because this is an opportunity to meet with different women than the ones in your small group.
    We usually have around 5 studies or groups for each semester offered. One is a MOMs group, A Mission Group and a Sewing Group. All of the women as a whole have the opportunity to contrubute to a monthly mission. We have speakers during the summer months at night every couple of weeks. Once a year we have a two day conference.
    There are mail outs and info online about the various activities.
    More about this in other churches I’ve attended later.

  9. I attend a church of 100 members. Our ladies group was down to 2 or 3 a week. The pastors wife lead it and really didn’t have time to plan for it. (Very busy Mom of 3 – I totally understand.)
    I volunteered to co-lead it with her. We now meet weekly and have about 12 -15 ladies. We bring in speakers, set the room up nicely with table clothes and center pieces, have a roster of ladies to bring lunch, do fun nights, craft nights, mission nights and around Easter time each year we have done a 6 week spiritual growth Bible study. The ladies are really responding to all the special nights that are planned for them. Our biggest attendance is when we do our Bible Studies. I just wanted to share that God has blessed the intent and fellowship to worship together in this way in His name.
    We are small in number but mighty in Christ.

  10. Hello, I am intrested in starting a out reach program for Christian women by introduceing them to the benefits of A Healthy lifestyle through health and wellness.

    If anyone can contact me on how I can get started to do this, please feel free to contact me.

    God Bless

  11. well, am just an individual not a group. the thing is i have been married less than two years. am a christian but my marriage is working out the way it ought to be.

    my husband is abusing me physically and emotionally. my parents are dead and i really dont have close friends and i cant tell my brothers and sisters cause am ashamed to do so. if i leave, i dont know where to go. i dont really have that kind of money to change my environment to where no one will know. i live in a country where people look down on you and call u a prostitute just because you choose to leave your husband. they feel as far as he has not sent you away himself you are expected to accept whatever comes your way. emotional am getting drained. the only time i have a little respite is when am in the office. i need a christian group that i can chat with and seek their advice.

    • Hello I read your remarks with interest. I am apart of a Christian group focusing on friendship, personal growth and the sharing of ideas.

    • In the battle that you are facing, don’t give up! despite the battles we face, his power would be the strength that we needed to overcome and be victorious.the truth is that God is just as much in power and authority in the darkness as he is in the light. Whatever problem you think you can’t overcome has already been overcome by the power of Christ! Your husband requires prayer. No man when born are bad. Situation makes them choose and if they are not strong in the lord they are captured by sin. So when God makes marriages he knows who can handle each other. We will pray for him and surely through gods strength and faith you will overcome these days. Prayer can move gods heart and shake His throne. Amen. Hi- praiz church bangalore.

    • hi maria

      Sorry about that but jeremaih 32:26-27 say “behold, Iam the lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?” there is nothing hard before the Lord present your isues to him, forgive your husdand becouse the scripture tells us to forgive so the we are forgiven too.

      Remember what happened at the being when God created awoman for aman sure thats your husband, you were created for him together to glorily God’s name. It may be hard to take in these world but just continue fellowshiping with Godly ladies you will soon have atestimony to tell. Do thick of divoice, if sarah was able to produce at 90yrs then you will have that joy, love back in your home. thats how the devo wants to steal family joy/happiness yet its the best place to be becouse even God so that it was good to make awoman for aman.

      Am also going though this here in african/Uganda women are just above the goat/ we are not respected by men generaly so we end up suffering. My husband too would do the same to me. But I devoted my self to God he is changing him I can see. I ecourage you to pray to God, oneday he will change him.

      Woman Come forth is the group I fellowship at church. We have so many testimonies of men runing way from home and then comeback so dear maria as Jesus said to Razarus to come forth and he be come alive again it time for maria to come forth and pray God will change that stituation it my prayer for you. it my email.

  12. I am hosting my first ladies meeting on Thursday and have no idea to what topic to choose, please give me some ideas as this is very new to me

  13. hi im not sure if I am able to post this or not. but I am trying to do a womens day away . I’m kind of hoping to do it based on the theme of love. The love of Christ I wnt it to be very powerful testoment ot the women in knowing htat we are there for one another and that GOds love no matter what we are going through is the strongest love of all. does any one have any idias to help me out? I”m a young single mom and I know the cnstant struggles us wome have out their and I want to bring us together for one powerful day .

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  17. Hi my dear i sing in the worship team where there is no unity among us especially ladiies, and am planning to organise something that can bring all of us together as one, how do i do it so that everyone of us can feel loved and at home, i truely need it and i need to do something that makes them feel they are special especially those who are heart thank you.

  18. Pingback: Thoughts about women’s ministries | Stray Thoughts

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