Reaching Younger Christian Women
By Jill Briscoe
Mia is alone in her apartment, sobbing. Two months earlier, at a campus worship event, she made a decision to believe in Jesus. Soon after, her friends deserted her and convinced her she was “no longer fun to be with.” She tried finding friends at her new church, but most of the women didn’t seem interested in getting to know her as they already had friends. Now she wonders if she has to go back to the bars to find the friendships and fun she longs for.
Mia is looking for a friend at your church. As a new Christian, she desperately needs to find a friend. But she’s young, and the women’s ministry seems to be geared more toward older women. So she feels intimidated, unwelcomed, and unsupported in her faith.
There’s a young woman in the Bible who had a much different experience. Mary, after a supernatural encounter with the angel Gabriel, felt alone and desperately needed someone to hold her hand, look her in the eyes, and tell her that the decision she had made to trust God was the right one. So she went directly to her relative Elizabeth’s house. Why? Elizabeth was older than Mary, but Mary knew Elizabeth was spiritually wise and loving, would befriend her, and could give her a safe place to strengthen her faith for the journey ahead.
Mia desperately needs an Elizabeth too. She needs the friendship of a woman who’s a little further down the road of life. But in a recent research study by Group Publishing on the state of the church, young women like Mia said they found the women’s ministry programs at their churches “intimidating” and “dated.”
Are younger women missing from your ministry? Ninety-six percent of women’s ministry leaders surveyed reported that reaching women under 30 is important, but 30 to 40 percent report that only a small amount (five to ten percent) of the women who attend retreats, Bible studies, and social events are in this age group. Twenty percent of leaders even report that no younger women attend their retreats!
Are there lonely, intimidated Mias in your church? How can you make your women’s ministry more attractive and welcoming to younger women? Befriending younger women like Mia is the first step, and these simple tips will help you get started.
To befriend a younger woman, you first have to reach out. How? Here’s what younger women say they want:
- Casual social events – Saturday morning hikes, movie nights, coffee chats…social get-togethers that focus on relationship building.
- Small group activities – Younger women want to be in smaller groups where their friends are. They like the intergenerational aspect of mixed groups with older women, but they also want friends their own age to be there. Discussion and prayer are more important to them than hearing a speaker.
- Variety – Younger women want more variety in meeting times and types of interest groups. They are more likely to join small group activities with a specific focus, like volunteer service, book clubs, recreational activities, and other common interests.
- More fun! – To make your groups more attractive to younger women give them fun names like, Flicker Chicks instead of Movie Group. And don’t forget to up the fun factor in your event invitations. Here’s a great one: Calling all girlfriends! It’s time to grab and work on our abs at our next Girl’s Night Out. Guaranteed results. But no pain, no gain…so come and laugh till your sides hurt!
Befriend the younger women in your church, and give them a place to find the friendships, faith, and fun they’re looking for.