People are always talking about finding their comfort zone. What does that mean? What is a comfort zone? A place where you don't feel threatened or judged. A place where you feel things are under control. A place where you feel loved and understood. A familiar place you want to return to.
Creating comfort zones for women as points of entry is the key to building a strong women's ministry. If you're not sure where to start in developing or strengthening a women's ministry, use a simple survey to give you clues.
As you plan your ministry, remember that your purpose is to meet needs and provide opportunities for spiritual growth at each point of entry.
For example, a monthly book club is an easy comfort zone to establish. While this group requires minimum commitment for women to participate, it pays big dividends in building new relationships. Building relationships is the need. Christian growth comes through the selection of books the group reads.
Another entry point might be a group for mothers of young children, which allows women to share the joys and challenges of motherhood and be encouraged. Monthly or biweekly meetings give the opportunity to teach young women how to be godly wives and mothers. Offering free childcare during meetings can be an additional blessing.
Challenging Bible studies should always be a part of your women's ministry as you teach women to apply God's Word to their lives. Our women watch their favorite teachers on DVD and then meet in small groups to discuss their weekly homework assignments. The small groups provide the comfort zone while the study itself brings spiritual growth.
A mentoring program gives women a chance to minister to one another. We encourage our women to share their experiences with each other. Then after much prayer we match women with mentors. This relationship is rewarding for both women involved. God may use a seasoned widow to help a woman who has recently lost her husband, or a woman who has been married for ten years to help a new bride. Needs are met and growth happens.
In creating comfort zones as points of entry, remember the church's goal is to lead women to understand that real comfort comes from Christ alone. Your goal is to help them learn that only as we live in Christ's presence can we experience love that is not threatening or judgmental-only liberating.
As we learn to trust Him we can know that all things are under His perfect control.And as we teach women to love Him more and more they will discover that He is their comfort zone and return to Him daily to find strength and peace.
Pamila Anderson is the director of adult and volunteer ministries at the Valparaiso, Indiana, Church of the Nazarene. She has 20 years of experience in women's ministry and enjoys equipping women to discover and use their gifts to minister to the body of Christ.
Holiness Today, November/December 2007
Please note: This article was originally published in 2007. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.