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December 17, 2009

Ideas for Women's Ministry

Ideas for Women's Ministry
by Amy Simpson

Last month, I wrote an article about Why I Don't Do Women's Ministry. It sparked quite a conversation. Obviously, women have some strong feelings and opinions on how to do women's ministry - and about their experiences in women's ministry programs.

This conversation was so lively and challenging, I knew I had to write a follow-up post in the hope that it will generate some ideas for how we might make women's ministries more effective.

Mostly, I'd like to hear your ideas. But in order to get this conversation started, let me share a few of my own:

1. Recognize that women are not all the same.
Those who are called to women's ministry have their work cut out for them. It's not an easy job to minister to such a diverse group of people. But anyone who wants to appeal to women in general must recognize that women come in many different shapes and must create programs that appeal to more than one type. This is the same for any demographic group in the church, but perhaps most of all for women. Our lifestyles, circumstances, and preferences are so diverse. Not everything has to appeal to every woman - but if NOTHING about a church's women's ministry program appeals to a particular woman, she'll quickly get the message that she's not OK and not wanted.

2. Respect women's intellectual abilities.

Too often, we seem to buy into the world's lie that we are purely emotional beings, at the whim of fantasy and hormones, and not smart enough to go deep. God created us to feel and to think. Our souls hunger not only for the presence of God, but also for knowledge of his truth. Ministries that focus only on women's emotional needs or that stay on a shallow level are doing a disservice to their women and to the larger body of Christ. And they're failing to reach many women, who will never be engaged by a ministry that does not challenge their intellect.

3. Recognize that women are not just wives and mothers.

Women aren't required to fill these roles in order to see God's purpose for their lives. I'm both a wife and a mother, but if I were neither, God's calling on my life would not go away. It's pointless to ignore the importance of these roles in the lives of many women, but we must acknowledge that women are unmarried, childless, divorced, single, struggling with infertility, focused on their careers, and everything in between. They're all important to God, and none of them should have the impression that God's plans don't include them.

4. Make it safe to talk about real life.
In my experience, most topics are off the "approved" list at women's ministry gatherings. This is a systemic problem in many churches, so I don't think it's fair to blame it on women's ministries. But if a women's ministry program were able to make it safe to talk honestly and biblically about our experiences with spiritual doubt, depression, injustice, loneliness, temptation, abuse, regrets, sex, career success, insecurities, need to achieve, perfectionism, financial worries, sexual harassment, boredom, anxiety, exhaustion, great books, compulsive eating, addictions, and things that keep us awake at night, that ministry would produce some powerful life change.

5. Affirm real women.

We should not walk out feeling worse about our potential in Christ than we did when we walked in. Many women feel torn down and devalued by the church - simply because they are women or they are the sort of women God has made them to be. And while some have commented that I seem to be whining about my own experiences, or feeling sorry for myself, I'm actually not too worried about myself. My commitment to Christ and to the church is intact and independent of what I experience in women's ministry. I am truly concerned about those women who have written off the church, and by association Christ, because of what they have heard the church telling them about their own worth. Any women's ministry program must everyday women feel like they belong.

6. Challenge women.
Besides the nursery, women's ministry may be the only place where many of our ministries seem designed only to make us comfortable.

I realize these ideas aren't very specific. So here are a couple more specific thoughts:
? I belonged to one church that had a sports ministry for women.
? In a response to an earlier comment, someone mentioned a book club.
? How about get-togethers that don't require mothers to leave their children behind? Moms who work outside their homes aren't looking for more time away from their kids, so they might be more likely to attend events that welcome their children.
? How about helping women to form intentional mentoring relationships with each other? Many women are looking for mentors but don't know how to ask for one, get started, or keep it going.
? Hold a lunchtime Bible study for women who work outside their homes, in a location convenient to their work.
? Ask women to share their stories, or to teach each other about something they're passionate about.
? Get women together to do some powerful service in your community - and welcome families to participate as well.
? What if interested women ran a business together and used the proceeds to help other women get on their feet?

So how about your ideas? How can we do women's ministry differently to appeal to wider audience of women? What have you seen work well? What do you wish more churches would do in their ministries to women?

Amy Simpson is Executive Director of the Leadership Media Group at Christianity Today International.

Couldn't resist re-printing such a wonderful insights!


December 03, 2009

Succesful Solopreneur

What is Solopreneur?

Although many start ups or new businesses beging with the intent to grow the company, hire employees and create equity in the organization, there is another choice available to those who prefer the concept of creating a business where they are the sole owner, shareholder, employee and beneficiary of the equity that is generated.
is calle Soloprenuering.

The objective of these "Solopreneurs" in growing their business is not to hire employees, but rather to expand their passions, talents and abilities to a point where they can create a prosperous livelihood simply doing what they love to do.

But the question is simple: would you prefer to be a solopreneur, rather than an entrepreneur? How does your business work, how do you manage different clients, responsibilities, etc, being a single founder, possibly with no other persons to help you with the tasks? And also, ask yourself if it's convenient being a solopreneur in the first place?

Pros if being a Solopreneur

Being a Solo-Preneur provides a good amount of attractive pros; low overhead, lots of freedom, ability to choose where you work, no employee hassles, no dress code, no boss and full fees. These and many other pros entice a significant amount of people to fly solo or at least to consider it. I have spoken to a few professional women who have often talked about how easy and apparently less stressful the idea of going solo would seem. Not having to deal with employee issues, hiring headaches and training new recruits seems like a much easier path. In many ways this is true but it is only true for a small group of very independent mavericks who tend to thrive on their own.

Cons of Solopreneuring

Along with a good number of benefits, going solo has an equal amount of possible cons; no steady paycheck, limitless distractions, possible isolation, taxes, administrative tasks, start up costs, lack of feedback and lack of support. Many people who excel as individual professionals in an office foolishly believe that they can go on their own and have the same work load but gain the benefit of keeping 100% of the profit. This is partially correct but it is also true that in addition to your regular workday as a solo professional, you will have many other tasks to handle as well. Bookkeeping, supply purchasing, technical support, billing, administrative tasks, emptying the trashcan are all now in your hands. There is a big difference between being a high performer in an office with administrative support and doing the same thing on your own. To be a solo operator and not see yourself as a business owner but rather as simply a soloist is the kiss of death.
It's takes hard work !.

Here are some tips to keep you afloat!

Become a Guru:

The word guru, meaning "teacher," comes from the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. Study, practice, become skilled in your craft, perfecting it.
Before you can become a guru, you need to be taught by a guru of your own.
You don’t have to be the best at what you do. But you do have to position and market yourself better than anyone else.

Keep your overhead costs very low :

Keeping overhead under control is a good reason to stay in a home office or other startup space as long as it permits. Do Not Allow Overhead Cost Drain You Financially.
Market through networking. Not only is networking the most effective means of marketing it is also the cheapest. Keep your overhead costs low by attending as many free networking events as you can.
Target your direct mail as much as possible. You don't want to pay to fill up someone else's recycling container.

Hire an assistant

OK, so this isn’t exactly a “Solo” idea but it is an excellent path for many micro operators and has several benefits. First of all, it allows you to focus your work on “money activities” and to funnel the lower level tasks to your assistant. I'm happy to I join the Canadian virtual association. If you intend to be a big fish without hiring full-fledged specialists, the best bet is to hire one or more assistants who can support you in accomplishing more.

Be a lover of Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, microblogging and Social Media:

As solopreneur have no intention of letting technology get the best of yours. "It's an exciting world out there. You just need to believe you can accomplish whatever you're willing to work hard for."

It's tough. I started my first company on my own, had a sales pals for a while and a few coders on contracts as well, but as a mainly solo gig it's been tough to balance all the tasks you need to do. The tasks that tend to suffer the most are the business and promotion sides of things. It's fortunately been able to stay at a steady pace for a long time on almost no promotion, just word of mouth, but I'm sure that first start up with another solid partner it could have gotten a fair bit bigger by now.

When started my first startup solo a couple years ago, the combination of running my other seond project company by day (splitting my time) and being the only person to do everything certainly factored strongly in its early demise. Got to about 10,000 users but couldn't take it to the next level because there was simply not enough time in one day.

My second and most succesful startup is a partnership, and while I'm still splitting my time with my main company and I'm also the only programmer, it's been way better because it's two and not just one of us. After these experiences, I'm now definitely sold on solopreneurs recommendation of having more than one founder. The key still is to find the right co-founder, but I think unless you want to work 16-hour days (which isn't sustainable!) then you need 2+ people involved.

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