Is the Traditional Plan Punitive?

While no one has explicitly told me that he or she thought the Traditional Plan is punitive, that appears to be an undercurrent of thinking among those who oppose the plan. One aspect of the plan is that it contains strict accountability measures for annual conferences, bishops, clergy, and members of boards of ordained ministry, with the expectation that they will “support, uphold, and maintain accountability to the United Methodist standards” barring the ordination of self-avowed practicing homosexuals, the celebration of same-sex marriages, and funding that promotes the acceptance of homosexuality. Those unwilling to live within our church’s standards are encouraged to withdraw from the UM Church and form or join a self-governing Methodist church that reflects their beliefs and practices.

The purpose of the Traditional Plan is to restore the unity of the church, which is currently in schism due to nine annual conferences and two jurisdictions voting to reject our church’s standards. The current crisis in the church is prompted not by differences of belief, but differences of practice. There is room in The United Methodist Church for a variety of opinions on many subjects. But once the church has set a standard for how we live our life together in the Body of Christ, it is expected that everyone will live according to that standard, to the best of their ability.

There are two ways to rectify a situation where there are divergent practices that violate the standards or rules of an organization. One way is to change the rules to allow the divergent practices. This is what the One Church Plan proposes. The other way is to expect the organization’s members to live by its standards or find another like-minded organization. This is what the Traditional Plan proposes.

Secular organizations such as Rotary or Kiwanis expect their members to live by the rules of the organization. Those who refuse to do so are often asked to leave the organization. Without such accountability, the organization has no integrity.

United Methodist clergy promise to live by the standards set by the church. One of the qualifications for ordination is that candidates are willing to “be accountable to The United Methodist Church, accept its Doctrinal Standards and Discipline and authority, accept the supervision of those appointed to this ministry, and be prepared to live in the covenant of its ordained ministers.” When candidates come forward for ordination, they must answer, “Have you studied our form of Church discipline and polity? Do you approve our Church government and polity? Will you support and maintain them?” They must also affirm, “Will you observe the following directions: … Do not mend our rules, but keep them; not for wrath, but for conscience’ sake?”

The Traditional Plan is based upon the premise that clergy and bishops have promised to live by our church’s standards and should be expected to do so. In light of the fact that the church has been unwilling for over 40 years to change its expectations regarding same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBT persons, clergy are expected to either live by them or seek another denomination that is more in line with their theology. After all, most active clergy today came into their status knowing what the expectations of the church are, saying that they agreed with those expectations, and promising to live by them. To refuse to do so now is a breaking of their promise.

While integrity would seem to demand those unwilling to live by the standards of the church should withdraw from ministry in our denomination and seek another in which to exercise their ministry, most have not done so. In fact, many progressives have defiantly stated that they will not leave the church, nor will they live by the church’s standards.

This puts us in a situation where, for the sake of the church’s unity and integrity, discipline must be exercised. That is why enhanced accountability measures are an integral part of the Traditional Plan. Without them, the church simply continues as it is now, with some parts of the church refusing to live by the church’s expectations. This is a state of schism, not unity, and it is leading to the disintegration and decline of the denomination.

By changing the rules to accommodate disobedience, the One Church Plan creates an expectation that individual conscience trumps the standards of the church. It sows the seeds of congregationalism and further disintegrates the unity of the church. One can only anticipate that the church will likewise accommodate other conscientious objections to church standards and practices in the future, perhaps in areas such as the payment of apportionments or belief in the necessity of faith in Christ for salvation.

The Traditional Plan believes we must share common practices as a denomination on matters that are distinctively connectional. These help to form our identity as United Methodist Christians. Matters of ordination, the sacraments, doctrinal standards, and essential moral teachings are practices that hold our denomination together. Without them, we become just a crowd of people without a shared identity.

Regrettably, because of the principled refusal by some in our denomination to abide by the shared practices established by General Conference as the only legitimate authority to do so, the only way to recover unity is to enhance accountability and request those unwilling to abide by those shared practices to withdraw from the denomination. The plan balances these stricter accountability measures with an open door for annual conferences, congregations, and clergy to leave the denomination without penalty.

The process for departure is simple and straightforward, without a lot of hoops to jump through. The financial obligations are minimal, seeking only to keep our promises to our retired clergy regarding pensions. And a suggested modification of the Traditional Plan provides for a one-time grant of $200,000 to any annual conference that withdraws in order to assist with transitional expenses. Those departing could even continue some forms of partnership and cooperation with The United Methodist Church, including joint mission work and continued participation in benefit plans through Wespath.

The Traditional Plan is not punitive toward those having the integrity to depart from a denomination that they can no longer support. The stricter accountability measures are only made necessary for those who refuse to keep the promises they made to abide by our polity when they were ordained as clergy and consecrated as bishops. This approach is the only way forward that will restore unity in our denomination in the years ahead.

Thomas Lambrecht is a United Methodist clergyperson and the vice president of Good News. He also served as a member of the Commission on a Way Forward.

A BRIEF HISTORY AND ACCOUNT OF THE RENEW NETWORK by Faye Short     

A BRIEF HISTORY AND ACCOUNT OF THE RENEW NETWORK                                             Prepared by Faye Short                                                                  

 

FORERUNNERS OF THE RENEW NETWORK

The Women’s division had been fully penetrated by the radical feminism that swept the country and entered mainline churches by the late 1960s and 70s. Radical theology and liberal political and social concepts had invaded UMW resources prepared by the staff of the Women’s Division. Evangelical women and men recognized this early on. As a local UMW president in the late 70s, I found the content of UMW program resources appalling.

The first group of evangelical women to publicly “take on” the women’s Division came out of Dallas, Texas. They identified themselves as the Esther Action Council Task Force for Accountability and published a comprehensive handbook documenting the radical political, social and theological actions and resources coming from the Women’s Division.

These faithful women thought that this disclosure would create and uprising among the women of the UMC. They did not bargain for the deep-seated loyalty the women felt to the organization of United Methodist Women, which they equated with their mothers and grandmothers, and subsequently with the Women’s Division. Nor did they anticipate the vengeful response of the Women’s Division and the women who blindly stood with them. Finally, they did not anticipate that they had invaded the enemy’s territory and would suffer personal attacks in the physical and spiritual realm. Their valiant effort brought much to light, but the darkness comprehended it not – and swallowed it up.

In the 1970s, evangelical women began raising alarms about the resources they were getting from the Women’s Division. Many of these women were constituents of Good News. Under the early leadership of Good News women including Helen Rhea Stumbo, Diane Knippers, Alice George, Prudence Waltz, Lanelle Wright, Gail Smith, Margie Jones, Jackie Pyle, Andrea Andress, Dottie Young, and others, the Good News Taskforce on Women in the Church was birthed to challenge the misdirection of the Women’s Division. The taskforce published a bi-monthly newsletter, “Candle,” and produced supplemental program resource books. “Let Your Light So Shine.” They reviewed UMW resources and documented Women’s Division excesses. The taskforce performed this ministry from 1977 through the early 80s, then slacked off on their aggressive campaign, yet continued as a taskforce of Good News.

The early work done by the Esther Action Council and the Good News Women’s Taskforce laid the foundation for the formation of the Evangelical Coalition for the United Methodist Women (ECUMW), later renamed the RENEW Network.

THE FORMATION OF THE ECUM/RENEW NETWORK

My experience as a local, district and conference officer for United Methodist Women during the 70s and 80s was impacted by the work of the Good News Women’s Taskforce, and , in turn, my experience within the organization of United Methodist Women was to impact the work of Good News among evangelical women.

In my local, district and conference UMW leadership positions, I discovered that the worldview and radical activism of the Women’s Division did not match my Wesleyan, biblical world view, and I chafed under the UMW banner. It was the encouragement of Good News women such as Helen Rhea Stumbo and Lill Coker that kept me engaged in UMW conference service.

When I as an evangelical woman, representing those I knew to be conservative women in North Georgia, took clear, yet courteous, well-informed stands against such things as theological pluralism, liberation theology, pro-abortion positioning, homosexual advocacy, inclusive language, political and social liberalism, Marxist/communist leanings and much more, I was ostracized and threatened with removal from office. Finally, I resigned, and was glad to be done with UMW and the Women’s Division.

However, I carried a heavy burden on my heart for the women of the UMC, and grieved over the resources that were being used to undermine their personal faith and their witness in their homes, work places and communities. I was again impacted by Good News women such as Helen Rhea, Anna Collins, Carolyn Elias and other in 1987 and 1988. Helen Rhea asked if I would consider becoming a Good News Board member and invited me to attend a summer board meeting in 1988. At this meeting I walked into the board meeting with Jim Heidinger and said to him, “Jim I appreciate the work of Good News and support you on many issues; however, I must say that I come to this meeting with a strange burden on my heart for the women of the UMC.” Jim replied, “Faye, who knows but that God has sent you to Good News for this very purpose.” At this meeting, I was elected to the board and to the Executive Committee, effective January 1989.

During 1989, I assisted Anna Collins, the Women’s Taskforce Chair with several tasks and attended a taskforce gathering in the home of Virginia and Don Shell at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. Anna asked that I oversee the planning of a workshop for evangelical women at the upcoming Good News summer convocation. I worked closely with Julia Williams, the invited guest speaker, and with Helen Rhea and Dianne Knippers in the planning of the workshop. It was attended by about 55 women. Julia allowed them ten minutes to “gripe” and then said, “Now, we are going to talk about how we can make a difference.”

After the workshop, the women mobbed the leaders and said, “All of this is well and good, but once we leave this place, how are we to achieve these objectives?” we assured them we would give this some prayer and thought.

About a month later several of the event leaders (Faye, Helen Rhea, Diane Knippers and Julia Williams) met for a time of prayer and discernment. We determined it was time to begin a network for evangelical women for the purpose of renewal at the local level and accountability on the part of the Women’s Division. Because of the far-reaching power of the Women’s Division, and their involvement with so many national and international issues, and their theological, political and social scope, we decided to form a “coalition” under Good News, The Mission Society and the Institute on Religion and Democracy. This was sanctioned by all three boards, and provided the newly-formed Evangelical Coalition for United Methodist Women (ECUMW) the resources and the umbrella protection needed to take on the Women’s Division’s destructive and insidious control of the women of the UMC.

I will never forget when Lil Coker and I approached Jim Heidinger about our plan. We met with him in his office and shared the vision with him. He was very supportive and voiced his awareness that only women could take on the WD. As we were preparing to leave the room, Jim opened the door for us, then, shut it again. He turned to us and said, “Do you realize what you are taking on? The Women’s Division is the most powerful, well-oiled machine within the denomination. There is something intrinsically evil about it. Are you sure you want to do this?” We assured him we did understand, yet felt called to the task. In December 1989, the ECUMW was officially launched.

Initially Julia Williams and I were co-directors of the new network. However, as vice-president, soon to become president of the MSUM, Julia had little time to devote to the cause, so I took up the position as director, later designated as president.

The ECUMW was formed on solid ground because we drew from the three renewal organizations to form our initial steering committee and support team. We had resource personnel who could assist in addressing the political, social and theological radicalism of the Women’s Division. The ECUMW/RENEW was never a light-weight group. We were equipped to address with intelligence and intention the excesses of the Division, and they knew it. At the same time, we had theologically solid women who could provide the supplemental resources needed for the women of the church. We held writer’s workshops that produced excellent resources.

God blessed the network and our impact was felt immediately. The United Methodist Reporter did a front-page article on the ECUMW in 1990, drawing attention to our existence. They did not publish contact information for us, and so received requests from women asking how to reach us. We never did a membership campaign, but realized continued, solid growth over the years. Our membership consisted of women from all over the nation, from local, district and conference UMW officers, and from men and pastors which were aware of and concerned about the direction of the Women’s Division. The ECUMW, later the RENEW Network, was loved and hated by the women of the UMC – and feared by the Women’s Division, whose denouncement of us and attempts to discredit us were constant.

After several years of coalition existence under the three UM renewal organizations, RENEW opted to come under the Good News Board of Directors for the purpose of fiscal and program accountability and to facilitate the working of men and women together for the renewal and reform of the United Methodist Church. The RENEW Oversight Committee and Good News Board have guided and applauded our work. RENEW continued its close association with the MSUM and IRD, and also networked with other renewal groups including Bristol House, Transforming Congregations, Lifewatch, Celebration, the Association for Church Renewal and EQUIP.

 

WHAT HAS RENEW ACCOMPLISHED IN ITS 20+ YEAR HISTORY?

RENEW has accomplished so much over its 20+ year history that it will take a book to adequately present it to the church. Below is a thumbnail sketch of the overall ministry of RENEW along with brief accounts of the significance of this ministry upon the Women’s Division and the denomination.

A Voice For Change                                                                                                                        From its inception, RENEW has provided a place for evangelical women to unite and network together over their documented concerns, thereby providing a concerted voice for change. Having such a network provides real and powerful support for women who, out of genuine concern for the women of the UMC, are willing to take on Women’s Division excesses.

Financial Analysis                                                                                                                    Early in its formation, the RENEW Network did a thorough analysis of the Women’s Division finances and spending patterns, disclosing where the money comes from and where it goes. This analysis also looked at the radical organizations that the Women’s Division networked with and funded. On the basis of our financial disclosure, RENEW recommended to its network members that they not give to undesignated mission giving, but rather designate or redirect their funds. Many women took this advice and Women’s Division funding plunged over the years. RENEW produced Financial Files I-IV over this time period.

Providing Connection                                                                                                            RENEW did not recommend that women leave the organization of United Methodist Women, but rather encouraged them to remain within and work for change and accountability. However, when the women became educated, and confronted the Women’s Division with their concerns, the dismissal of the Women’s Division and the failure of the division to change pushed many women to determine to withdraw from the organization. When this happened, RENEW provided a connection for these women and produced supplemental program resources and guidelines for effective women’s ministries. Stats from GCFA indicated that only 15% of women who are members of the UMC were members of United Methodist Women. That left 85% who had no women’s ministry, or who had adopted alternative ministries.*

Monitoring of the WD                                                                                                               The monitoring of Women’s Division program resources has been a major goal of RENEW. Highly capable individuals were enlisted to review materials produced either by the Women’s Division alone or in conjunction with other organizations such as Church Women United and the United Nations. Many pastors availed themselves of RENEW’s reviews, particularly when they were asked to teach a UMW mission study and found it to be highly egregious.

RENEW representatives faithfully attended the spring and fall board meetings of the Women’s Division, observing first-hand the program direction of the various committees of the Division. Picking up budget and program information in advance enabled RENEW to alert the women of the church as to policies and programs they needed to watch and address as needed.

RENEW sent teams to the quadrennial UMW Assemblies which inevitably showcased radical speakers, anti-American sentiment, deviant theology and left-leaning social and political advocacy.

Renew also sent representatives to the highly controversial quadrennial National Seminars where participants were schooled in liberal social and political advocacy in behalf of many controversial issues. The tone of this event is hostile toward democracy and orthodox Christian faith.

The Ecumenical Decade’s Re-Imagining Conference and Resulting Crisis                           The World Council of Churches developed a program called: “The Ecumenical Decade: Churches in Solidarity with Women.” The Women’s Division gained General Conference sanction to participate in the Decade. A study book by the same title was offered to United Methodist Women as a resource. When I, as president of RENEW, reviewed this workbook, I was shocked at the blatant radical feminist content, promoted by well-known feminist authors such as Virginia Mollenkott, Barbara Lundblad, and others. It propelled me into a year’s research on radical feminism and its incursion into the church.

Good News hosted a summer celebration, at which RENEW presented a workshop on the Ecumenical Decade, exposing the radical content of the study book, and I shared my findings. Not long after, while attending one of the Women’s Division board meetings, RENEW’s press rep picked up printed material promoting the upcoming 1993 Re-Imagining conference, which was the midpoint event of the Ecumenical Decade, Churches in Solidarity with Women program. The material revealed that this conference was to be a “coming out” of radical feminism. I alerted the women of our network to the potential danger of this event, and, as I recall, encouraged them to discourage the Women’s Division from participation.

As the event drew closer, I had a telephone call from a Catholic women’s leader in California encouraging RENEW to send a press representative to the meeting. She was not able to attend, but recognized the radical nature of the event, saying she believed it would be a “high water mark” for radical feminism. I asked Dottie Chase, who had covered other liberal church meetings for Good News, to go in our behalf. She consented. I contacted Rev. Sue Cyre with the PCUSA and asked her to consider attending. I also contacted a representative from the American Baptist Church. These three press reps attended the Re-imagining conference and found, among other things, the worshipping of the goddess Sophia, standing in solidarity with Christians Lesbians, denying the necessity of Christ’s atoning death, and promoting the syncretism of religions.

RENEW’s disclosure of the content of this meeting rocked the church and caused the Women’s Division to back off from – although never denouncing – full support of the Re-Imagining community, which continued meeting for several years prior to disbanding. RENEW monitored all Re-Imagining meetings. I attended the second meeting as a participant and was refused seating by six tables of women. I was finally asked, by embarrassed leaders, to go to the press box. Jean Audrey Powers came over and talked with me. After a lengthy conversation she said, “Faye, I am sorry we are poles apart theologically, because I like you.” I responded, “I like you too Jean Audrey.” She went back to the table she was monitoring and got the group to allow me to sit at their table.

Annual Re-Imagining Conferences continued for several years during the remainder of the Ecumenical Decade. The Women’s Division continued participation, never acknowledging the escalating egregious nature of the gatherings. Renew had press reps at every Re-Imagining Conference, and Faye Short wrote many articles and letters to the women of the UMC. RENEW also reported on the prurient magazine that sprang out of the movement, keeping the Women’s Division’s feet to the fire. No doubt, the Women’s Division’s commitment to Re-Imagining was a major cause of UMW funding and membership loss.

A Call to Reform                                                                                                                           In December 2001, Good News joined with RENEW in issuing “A Call for Reform and the Women’s Division.” This action was taken in response to years of egregious actions on the part of the Women’s Division culminating in several actions taken by the Board of Directors of the Women’s Division at the Fall 2001 board meeting. This meeting came on the heels of the September 11 attack by terrorists upon the United States.

Anti-American Response to 9/11 and the Continuing At the 2001 board meeting: (1) “A Resolution on Terrorist Attacks” was passed calling for a halt to the bombing of Afghanistan, favoring negotiation over action against terrorism. Speakers spoke disparagingly of U.S. policies that supposedly evoked the horrific 9/11 attacks; (2) Plans were devised for the implementation of a “Mobilization Against (the Anti-) Terrorism Act” although the House of Representatives passed the Anti-Terrorism Act by 357-66, the U.S. Senate by 88-1;

Re-Imagining Continues to Influence UMW WD Allows Sophia Circle                                 The directors voted to continue to allow official status for a District Unit of UMW, “Sophia Circle,” whose stated purpose was to gather monthly “for an hour’s lively discussion on material from the Re-Imagining Newsletter; (4) It was announced that Barbara Lundblad, a former controversial Re-Imagining speaker, was to be the Plenary speaker at the UMW Assembly scheduled for Philadelphia in April 2002. RENEW’s press representative, Carolyn Elias, captured all this information and more.

Our Basis of Concern                                                                                                                  The official “Call for Reform of the Women’s Division” was endorsed by thousands of United Methodist women, and affected the status and membership of the Division. I wrote “Our Basis for Concern” as the foundational piece to support the “Call for Reform of the Women’s Division” campaign.

RENEW and WD Conversation at Wesley Seminary                                                                    At her inaugural address to the Women’s Division, Dr. Jan Love mentioned her desire to listen to the women of the church and her willingness to converse with them. I, as president of RENEW, took this as an opportunity to invite the Women’s Division to engage in a conversation with representatives of the Renew Network. This exchange took place at Wesley theological Seminary on September 21, 2005. The women who represented RENEW acquitted themselves well, addressing political, theological and social issues with clarity and impressive expertise. Network members were pleased to have their concerns brought directly to the staff of the Women’s Division. RENEW representatives did them proud.

WD Ties United Nations Goals to the Mission of the UMC                                                   General Conference presented serious challenges to RENEW due to the radical nature of the legislation of the Women’s Division brought to the conference. The Women’s Division is a world player – into national and international social and political concerns. Their advocacy for the support of United Nations’ treaties is well-documented. The Women’s Division is pro-abortion, pro-homosexual practice, pro-welfare support, pro-international criminal court, pro-redistribution of wealth, pro-socialist policies, and on and on. Key evangelical leaders within Methodism have long decried the power of the Women’s Division at GBGM meetings and at General conference. The “Agreements of ‘64” granted the Division rights that give them the “edge” on representation on boards and agencies and within the church structure.

WD’s General Conference Petitions and Resolutions Challenged                                   RENEW has faithfully challenged the petitions and resolutions presented by the Women’s Division to General Conference. We have done this with a comprehensive analysis of their legislation by capable women such as Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, and by equipping delegates to challenge bad legislation. While the ingrained and ruthless power of the Women’s Division at General Conference is still active, we have defeated some of their legislation and have eroded the confidence delegates have in Women’s Division proposals. RENEW has been persistent in calling for the General Conference to approve the formation of supplemental or alternative women’s ministries, beyond UMW, within the denomination. While the Division has aggressively opposed this legislation, RENEW finally saw the culmination of our efforts with the passage of legislation in 2016.

THE RENEW NETWORK IS WELL-KNOWN AND FULLY APPRECIATED

The letters, card and e-mails that have poured into the RENEW office over the years from women and men expressing appreciation for this ministry has been remarkable. This does not include the thousands of telephone calls that have come from those looking for an affirming voice regarding their concerns, documented information to use to make their case, honest evaluation of WD resources, and supplemental program materials. The relief and joy in finding such a network was clearly expressed.

RENEW AND GOOD NEWS

The RENEW/Good News history reaches back to the 1970’s when the Task Force on Women in the church was formed as a committee of Good News. This relationship has brought United Methodist men and women into a close-working relationship for the renewal of the denomination. The power and influence of the Women’s Division is well recognized as is the fact that RENEW has done much to weaken this monolithic, wealthy organization. The numbers are there to prove it.

What does the future hold for an ongoing relationship between the RENEW Network and Good News? As the denomination catapults toward serious lines of demarcation, we trust Good News and RENEW will be ready to lead the evangelical men and women of the United Methodist Church into a faithful future. If a separation were to ever occur, a complete break with the UMW National and the UMW organization would be absolutely essential for the health of the evangelical component of the church. UMW National continues to advocate for and promote to the women of the UMC the same radical political, social and theological ideology RENEW and its predecessors have fought in the spiritual and natural realm for over 30 years. There would be no room for fellowship with this co-opted organization.

 

Women’s Ministry Survey

This survey has been used by churches to reach out to women in their congregation and their community in order to provide ministry that is Christ-centered, biblically based, and relevant to women’s lives today.  If your women’s ministry is looking to offer a program that will provide opportunity for spiritual growth and meaningful mission projects, this survey will help you target the specific needs of your group.

Women’s Ministry Survey

Please take a few moments to answer these questions concerning women’s ministry at our church. Women’s ministry is about encouraging, enabling, and equipping women for the purpose of developing a closer relationship with Christ, the Church, and the community. Your input is vital in beginning a process of prayer and discernment for the specific spiritual needs of the women at _______________________United Methodist Church.

  1. Age:   __16-21     __21-30   __31-40   __41-50   __51-60   __61-70   __71 plus

 

  1. Status:   __Single   __Married   __Divorced   __Widowed

 

  1. Occupation:   ________________________________

 

  1. Preferred Time for women’s ministry meetings/events:

 

__Morning       __Afternoons   __Evenings

 

  1. Preferred Day for women’s ministry meetings/events:

 

__Monday   __Tuesday   __Wednesday   __Thursday   __Friday   __Saturday

 

  1. Would you need baby-sitting services during women’s ministries meetings/events: _____

 

  1. Are you currently or have you been involved in any of the following at ___________ UMC?

 

Regular worship attendance ___

Sunday School Class ___

United Methodist Women ___

Bible Study ___

Prayer Group ___

Other (please name) ______________

 

  1. If you could have a need fulfilled by a women’s ministry program, what would it be?

(Check all that apply.)

Fellowship with women in my life stage   ___

Fellowship with women of all ages   ___

Introductory/short term Bible study   ___

In-depth/long term Bible study   ___

Single women’s ministry   ___

Mentoring ministry   ___

Annual women’s weekend retreat ministry   ___

Special event ministry (i.e. Beth Moore, Women of Faith conferences)   ___

Christian career women ministry   ___

Abortion Recovery ministry   ___

Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) ministry   ___

Community events ministry   ___

Outreach ministry   ___

Other   _________________________________________________________

 

  1. If you are not currently involved in church/women’s ministry, what barriers exist to your involvement? (Check all that apply.)

 

Times not convenient ___

Family/Work Demands   ___

Health Issues   ___

Transportation Issues   ___

Financial Issues   ___

Nothing offered of interest   ___

Other   __________________

 

  1. What 3 things would make your life more meaningful?

 

Close, personal relationship with God   ___

Close, personal Christian friendships   ___

Learning to study the Bible ___

Setting specific spiritual goals   ___

Better physical health   ___

Better time management   ___

Better marriage   ___

Better prayer life ___

Stronger spiritual leadership in the home   ___

Better relationships with children   ___

Healing from past mistakes   ___

Healthy finances   ___

Finding a spouse   ____

Career success   ___

Better psychological/emotional health ___

Help with aging parents ___

Prayer/Accountability partner   ___

 

  1. Do you have a “passion” for participating in a women’s ministry in your church?

 

 

  1. Would you be willing to serve on a women’s ministry steering team to see this “passion” fulfilled in your church? If so, please provide your name and phone number so we may contact you. If you would like this survey kept anonymous, please contact _____________ to express your interest in serving.

 

 

 

  1. What mission projects both in our community and beyond would you like to see our Women’s Ministry become involved in?

 

 

  1. If you could choose one goal that women’s ministries should attain, what would it be?

 

  1. Contact information (not required):

 

Name:

Address:

Phone:

E-mail:

 

 

Thank you so much for your participation in this women’s ministry survey. It will be very beneficial in gathering information about the specific needs of the women in our church. It is our prayer that a vibrant, fruitful women’s ministry will glorify God and enrich the families of ______________United Methodist Church.

How to Start a Women’s Ministry

This important area of the ministry of RENEW is in offering guidance and encouragement to local churches in the process of forming life-changing women’s ministry programs.  We have already begun the process of producing a comprehensive women’s ministry handbook that we pray will be a useful and vital tool to women of the church.  Every church is unique, every group of women is unique, and every women’s ministry program should be unique.

In the meantime, we will be posting information and articles concerning the formation of women’s ministries.  We are also available to assist you by consultation or through workshops on women’s ministry topics.

I.  The first and most important step in beginning this process is PRAYER.  If God has given you a heart for the women of your church, begin to have intentional prayer time and ask Him to guide your steps.  Also ask  Him to reveal other women  who share this same heart and passion for ministering to the needs of women, children, and families within your church.  Be patient, wait on the Lord, and He will answer your prayers.

II.  Once the Lord brings together a core group of women who are called to begin this journey, it is important to meet together for regular pray and study time.   There are several books available which can help you grow together and discern God’s direction for your women’s ministry.  Several recommended titles include: Becoming a Woman of Influence by Carol Kent , Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level by Chris Adams, and Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanne Weaver. As this core group studies and prays together, the Lord will move among you and begin to guide and direct your every step.  Wait expectantly for Jesus to speak to you in a powerful way.

III. Develop a name and mission statement for your ministry.  Having a mission statement are very important when developing a women’s ministry.  This statement reveals the core purpose and vision for the ministry and provides a plumbline by which all aspects of the ministry can be evaluated and measured.  Before any new component is added to the ministry, make sure it honors and enhances the mission of your women’s ministry.  This critical step will keep the women of your congregation focused on your core values and beliefs.  It is also helpful that the mission statement of your women’s ministry complement the mission statement of your church, so that all your endeavors are an integral part of the life and vision of the entire congregation.

IV. Assess the needs of the women in your congregation.  This can be done two ways.  One is to distribute a survey to the women of the church.  RENEW has several examples of surveys that are good and can help you formulate one that is appropriate for your size church.  It is important that the survey not be too lengthy and time-consuming to fill out, as this may hinder women’s likelihood of participating.  Make it easier for them to hand the survey back in by including an addressed envelope for them and providing drop boxes at the church for them to use.  Make this process fun and consider little incentives for them to respond quickly, like maybe a small token of appreciation like a bookmark or coupon for a free coffee.  Another important way to get to know the women of your church is for each member of the leadership team to invite several women to lunch individually.  This will give you a way to get to know the women in your midst and speak with them candidly about what their deepest needs are.  Choose women from different backgrounds and stages of life and start forming these relationships that are the heart and soul of women’s ministry. The information gleaned from these surveys and interviews will be vital in enabling your team to offer ministry components that have the most impact within your church.  Developing a unique women’s ministry for your unique church family is a vital component to a fruitful women’s ministry program.  Remember, this is a process, and will develop as God provides leadership and opportunity for ministry.

Here is an example of a Women’s Ministry Survey (PDF File).

Welcome to Renew Network

Welcome to Renew Network

P.O. Box 132076 – The Woodlands, TX 77393-2076
Phone: 832.813.8327 | Fax: 832.813.5327