In these uncertain financial times, we have something others may not have – faith and hope. Because of our hope and faith, we can (and should) approach the challenges of the economy with an assurance that God will strengthen us for ministry in His Name.
As we work with women and attempt to provide meaningful activities and events for them, there are several things we should keep in mind. The following suggestions can help us focus on what will help our women’s groups and organizations survive in spite of limited financial resources.
Be Relevant – To survive, our women’s groups must be relevant. If what we do is perceived as being outdated and without value, our efforts will fail. To remain significant we must meet women’s needs and provide something of value to them. If our approach is “old hat” (doing things the same way we did them 10 years ago), it won’t matter what our purpose is, our groups won’t be seen as relevant. Not being important or significant is a death sentence!
Be Seen – We cannot keep our groups’ purpose a secret! At a women’s retreat, one woman, upon hearing about all the ministries women had in her church, exclaimed, “Why didn’t I know about all of this? I’ve missed out on everything for the past two years! Why didn’t someone tell me?” Difficult financial times require us to seek out women and to try to meet some of their needs. While meeting financial needs may be out of reach, we can provide budget seminars, money-saving ideas, etc. Incorporate things like this into your regular mission meetings. Be relevant and be seen. Let your church know your group has value and that you exist.
Be the Best – Difficult financial times do not mean we can set aside quality. You will have to be more creative in providing missionary speakers (house them rather than putting them in a hotel; have a potluck instead of paying someone to cook; enlist volunteer child care workers rather than paying teenagers). Continue to give 100% to your ministry/mission group. Remember its purpose and the value it can provide to your church. Don’t be afraid to creatively compete with what other groups outside the church are doing. Your group is relevant to God’s purpose; be seen to have relevance and be the best you can be!
Be Budget Conscious – If your women’s events usually require tickets or some type of participation fee, re-evaluate your approach. During economic downturns, many families have lost their source of income, encounter rising debts and have limited funds for discretionary use. The first thing in a family budget to go out the window is funds for the “extras.” Regardless of how important you believe your group’s events to be, they fall into the “extra” category! Think of new ways to cover expenses: ask for more donations; enlist older women as benefactors for younger women’s activities; find volunteer cooks; send e-mails rather than using postage stamps. Your relevance, visibility and quality (the best, remember?) may be called into question if you don’t work to reduce costs related to women’s ministries.
Be Valuable – Not only do your women’s groups need to be relevant in their purpose but they must provide something of value that each member can incorporate into her daily life. Do you help her grow spiritually? Is she learning how she can become involved in ministry? Has she been challenged to develop leadership skills? To retain members and increase involvement, women’s groups must relate to women’s lives. Failing to acknowledge that the recession will impact women’s lives is shortsighted.
Be relevant – Be seen – Be the best – Be budget-conscious – Be valuable. Five keys to help your women’s groups survive the recession. History has proven that women are resilient. They have lived through recessions before. They are masters of “making do.” Consider the value of what you are offering and make plans to survive the recession!