I just moved to Nashville in September and I still feel like I’m getting settled. The last few months have been spent visiting various churches, and it’s a difficult process. I’m 28 and single, so I visited quite a few churches by myself. Even though I’m a pastor’s kid and have been in church my whole life, it doesn’t make the process of finding a new church any easier.

After several months of visiting, I finally feel like I’ve found a church where I can plug into great community, serve in a variety of ways, and be taught the Word powerfully. What made the difference? Someone took an interest in me. The Women’s Minister heard I was visiting and passed my information along to a girl my age. She contacted me, we had coffee, and she then invited me to have lunch with some other single adults. It’s the only church that reached out to me, and it’s where I’ve landed. Is that the primary reason I’ve decided to plug into this church? No, but it definitely made a difference.

What are you doing to reach out to new women in your church or ministry?

Do they know your ministry exists, and are you doing anything to seek them out?

I’ve served on staff at several churches, and I know how easy it is to just talk to your friends and people you know on a Sunday morning or even at an event. When’s the last time you looked around for someone new? Maybe you do a great job at this already (I hope so!), but as we start a new year, make sure this is something you’re intentional about doing. It will not only stretch you, but it can be a catalyst for your ministry to grow.

As we serve new women, let’s keep in mind what the apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:9, “Be hospitable to one another without complaining.” We should be excited to welcome new women into our churches and ministries! It may require some sacrifice on our part, but it will be well worth it.

Mary Margaret headshotMary Margaret is an Event Project Coordinator on the Church Education Ministry team at LifeWay. She works alongside Chris Adams and coordinates training events for women’s ministry leaders like YOU Lead and the Women’s Ministry Forum. Mary Margaret has served several churches in the area of Girls Ministry and she recently completed a Master of Arts in Christian Education at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In her spare time, she writes for Story of My Life – her personal blog.

Comments

  1. andrea t. says:

    Ive been trying to settle in for one year…
    This is an awesome outreach!
    What’s involved???

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Hey Andrea! Did you have a specific question in regard to what my church does? I’d love to help however I can!

      • andrea t. says:

        Well… What are some of the ways you have found helpful to reach out to “Newbies”.
        Thanks for your openness :)

        • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

          Andrea, I think that as we lead women, we have to lead by example. It’s important for you as a leader to set the tone for how women interact with each other. It also doesn’t hurt to make sure it’s something you challenge your women to do. Find those women who are outgoing (but not overwhelming!) and put them in charge of greeting new women. Remember what it was like to be new, and work from there. Hope that helps!

          • Linda Trammell says:

            I just have to comment on an area that has been troublesome to me all my life. I’ve already posted twice, but got to tell you about one thing I am doing personally (my husband, too, but he doesn’t know it,) to help solve the rejective feeling that newcomers feel at times. Remember the “cool table” in junior high and high school? The very worst was to sit down at a table early, by yourself and see other tables fill up, but no one sits with you! Guess what – that still happens, even in our churches! Especially, sometimes, in our churches! To alleviate any uneasiness, now, we walk in the fellowship hall and go straight to the table that has one alone couple sitting at it! Now, I can’t take credit for this wonderful idea. It was an answer to prayer! Yes, God talks pretty frankly sometimes………… “I am God & all the tables in my house are cool tables!”

          • andrea t. says:

            Yes, leading by example is big…
            With a very large congregation we too have purposed to sit in a different place every Sunday.
            I have also asked for all the first names of the Teens so as to pray for them specifically.
            And there have not been too many socials yet but we purposed to sit by ourselves (no one sat with us).
            I am still curious as to the HOW you do your ministry… is there a schedule, outline, mission statement, curriculum that you would be willing to share? ie: 4 times a year have newcomer luncheon, new comer Bible studies, Greeter training, (i’m just rattling off the first thing that comes to my head here) I like the “Hit Girlz” idea :)

  2. This is so good. I used to teach a singles Sunday School class and knew that visitors to the class must feel so awkward since they usually came alone. I would sometimes ask regular attenders to make visitors feel welcome and at least have a conversation with them, and was shocked by how resistant many would be. They preferred to sit and talk with their friends. SO FRUSTRATING! I would think, “Seriously, I’m just asking you to be nice!” I think it’s important for everyone to reach out, not just the teachers or people in leadership. Those people often have a lot of responsibility already in serving everyone, so we can at least help out by being friendly to others.

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Leslie, you’re so right! It’s definitely something we should all do and be aware of. It doesn’t take much effort, but the impact can be huge. We’ve all been the “new girl” at some point or another, but it’s easy to forget what it feels like. Thanks for commenting!

    • andrea t. says:

      It so pains me to hear this.
      It happens in MANY places.

  3. Linda Trammell says:

    Congratulations, Mary Margaret! Sounds like you have found a wonderful church. Of all places, God’s House should be the one area where newcomers and strangers are welcomed with open arms! This, sadly is not always the case. Bible studies are fantastic places to meet new friends while studying God’s promises! There is nothing like bumping into a new friend in the Word!!

    • Linda Trammell says:

      I forgot to add that I facilitate 3 bible studies a year at our church. These studies are open to visitors, new members, and published in the town’s community bulletin. Through circumstances born from being a new member, God lead me to begin a study open to “Whosoever will may come….” The first couple of studies had just a few attendees, but our Lord said, “Feed my sheep — not count them!”

      • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

        Linda, I totally agree! As believers, we often don’t do a very good job of welcoming newcomers. What a great idea for your Bible study group! You’re so right that it’s not about how many people, but it’s about the impact that the study is having. May God bless you as you continue to teach these women!

  4. Love this Mary Margaret! My husband and I just moved back to our hometown and I’m working at our church but I still feel like the “new girl” at times. It is so true that when people go out of their way to make you feel welcome, you connect more with that community. I can use this reminder personally and with my job. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Christen, thanks for commenting! It’s such a great reminder to make sure that once we’re not the “new girl” anymore that we need to be welcoming to others who may be in our situation.

  5. So many fabulous ideas sprouting – a whole field of beautiful flowers is what happens when we all contribute!
    I have come to discover after many years in ministry that many women fail to reach out, shelter themselves with their friends etc all because of insecurity. Partnering older and younger together as a team helps to unleash the FEAR that binds women from reaching out. Next time you go out for coffee with someone new………grab someone of the younger generation to join you and pass on the GIFT of loving others in Jesus name. Someone mentioned teens—-often the forsaken of the church. They greet each other, but many of us FEAR reaching out to this unique generation who desperately need to know we CARE, we will PRAY for them and we BELIEVE they are valuable and instrumental as the future body of Christ. Mentoring is so crucial. FB is another great way to connect with young women/ youth of the church. Plan an hour a week to call three people/ fb young ladies (if I can do it you can too- I have 5 teens at home still!) . God sacrificed- he led by example that we might follow. I love you all for reaching out!

Trackbacks

  1. […] The New Girl – Ministering to New Women in Your Church – A good reminder to be nice to visitors at your church! We’ve been visiting churches and are so grateful when someone goes out of their way to be nice to us. […]

Speak Your Mind

*


6 × one =