With the onset of COVID, most women have increased their responsibilities within the home, balancing work and children who are schooling online, managing the dog and cooking more meals. So, providing resources to help women connect is highly valuable during this unprecedented time.
Women are Disconnected from the Bible
In-person Bible studies are mostly still out of the question and socially distanced gatherings are still being avoided by many. Biblical communities have had to morph, leaving behind breaking bread, sharing communion, and laying hands on one another.
With increased responsibilities and health risks with new strains of COVID, women are experiencing the mental and spiritual health risks of social disconnection. Churches must find unique ways to help women connect, with one another and with the Bible.
Women’s engagement with the Bible has gone down significantly since the onset of COVID. Dr. Nicole Martin, VP of Church Engagement at American Bible Society, talked about this during a recent Ministry Pivot live stream.
In this blog, we will share with you twelve ways to help women (and anyone, really) connect during this time of disconnection.
12 Ways Your Church Can Help Women Connect in a Disconnected Time
Continue to expand your vision of Biblical communities to include virtual experiences and other creative solutions.
1. Encourage women to download an audible version of the Bible.
Dr. Martin shared that when women are taken out of social situations, their engagement with the Bible decreases. Also, screen fatigue is a real struggle. By encouraging women to listen to the scripture while they are juggling household tasks, women can stay connected to the spiritual food that comes with Bible reading.
2. Incorporate video conferencing, like Google chats or Zoom, for your weekly women’s Bible study.
New challenges demand new tools. In-person Bible studies can also include a virtual feed for those that choose not to congregate, so that women can still connect.
3. Host a community group tailgate.
What’s better than a church picnic? A church tailgate! Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and a meal. Round up your cars and connect in for a socially distanced time of fellowship.
4. Organize a drive thru food or clothing drive.
COVID can’t keep your community from continuing to care for the homeless or the hungry. When you collect food or clothing, have a bin within reachable distance, so donors can toss their items in without sharing germs. According to the Women Give 2020 report – IUPUI ScholarWorks, women give 62.6% of the gifts on Givelify. Channeling women’s generosity to an activity that unifies their efforts gives your members a shared vision.
5. Use a curriculum with digital content.
It may be a surprise or it may not, but your standard choice of Christian education materials most likely has some content in a digital format. One resource for this is Lifeway, which offers COVID-related digital content for churches to use.
6. Start a meal delivery program for shut-ins and widows.
Cooking for someone is one of the most loving ways to connect. Meals on Wheels still works in the time of COVID.
7. Set up a drive-in movie theatre.
Staying spiritually connected does not always have to include serving others or reading the Bible. Watching a movie with a female lead at a make-shift drive-in brings all ages delight. Perhaps surprisingly, the most popular movie genre among adult women in the United States is comedy. Of course if you have the tech capabilities, you could also have a drive-in church!
8. Launch affinity Facebook groups.
Do some of your congregants want to connect over parenting? College life? Women in business? Single life? Dr. Martin also encouraged pastors to create affinity Facebook groups from your church’s profile page, where women and others from your church can continue to chat, share, and pray for one another.
9. Unify your ministry departments in choosing one book or one verse to study.
Oftentimes churches with multiple ministries are running different programs. Choosing one book, one chapter or even one verse that every ministry focuses on will be unifying. Many faith communities are reading through books about anti-racism and the call for Biblical unity. Books by female authors like Caste by Isabel Wilkerson and I’m Still here by Austin Channing Brown might be an added draw for women readers. You can find more resources on The Public’s — a Givelify nonprofit — website.
10. Send hand-written letters of encouragement.
Just because everyone is online doesn’t mean we don’t like getting mail, especially something hand-written. Let each woman in your congregation know that they are missed and you appreciate their unique gifts. You can find tips on how to write a letter of Christian encouragement here.
11. Post daily devotionals on your social platforms.
Go live every morning for a short teaching or meditation that inspires and centers. Challenge everyone to memorize the same verse, think on the same scripture throughout the day or even sing worship songs.
12. Find a cause that supports women in your community and fundraise virtually.
Rallying behind a cause is a woman’s superpower. In a 2020 study, IUPUI Women’s Philanthropy Institute and Givelify discovered a ground-breaking trend emerging in philanthropy – women are unifying to change the world, one simple, joyful gift at a time. And they’re doing it digitally. With Givelify, you can create giving envelopes to raise money for specific causes. It’s super simple!
Of course, balance is always the way forward and Dr. Nicole Martin, in her interview on Ministry Pivot’s live stream reminded pastors that as they seek to support the unique challenges for women during this time, they need to address unique struggles men face as well.