As a small child I remember tagging along with my mom to women's ministry meetings to spend the morning in the church basement making quilts and knitting baby items for missionaries across the world. When this work was done, the women of mixed ages would gather around the table enjoying warm pieces of apple cake as they packed the items, sealing each box with brown packing tape and prayer. Sister Ella, the women's ministry leader, would paint a picture with her words, asking God to bless and protect the families, using the items to bring a bit of joy and helping them extend their reach. Sister Ella wasn't an eloquent prayer leader, but her simple words and heartfelt tears made an impression on my young heart. I wasn't even sure what a missionary was, but I knew they must be doing something important and that they were loved.
Women's ministry has come a long way. Such a long way, that I wonder if we've turned 180 degrees and are now facing the opposite direction. For many women's ministries, what started out as a gathering of women finding practical ways to help others has turned into elaborate retreats and Bible studies focusing on helping the women in the room.
Are Bible studies bad? Certainly not.
Are retreats a waste of time? No way.
But why then are so many younger women choosing not to get involved in the women's ministry at their church?