A/G women seize new
By Darla Knoth (2/29/04)
As Leslie Callaway
looked across her church’s congregation on a Sunday morning,
she realized many of the women were lonely and battling the impersonal
nature of today’s culture. She wanted to give these women
a sense of being loved. When she unofficially polled about 250
women in the church she discovered few experienced close relationships.
In 2001, Callaway launched Mon Ami: A Gracious Fare, a ministry
to women at First Assembly of God in Rensselaer, Ind., where her
husband, Mark, is pastor.
is to provide women a means of growth in the Lord by participating
in ever-increasing circles of encouragement and outreach,”
Callaway says. Mon Ami, which means “my friend” in
French, is a ministry to communicate friendship. Any woman of
the church who has been trained to participate finds another woman
who needs encouragement and takes a formal tea party to that woman’s
home. The woman being ministered to becomes a guest in her own
During the 45-minute
tea, the woman ministering brings a decorated basket filled with
a china tea set, tablecloth, tea and delicacies, packed in a sturdy
basket. “Mon Ami depends on women who desire a means of
expressing God’s love in an understandable way,” Callaway
The Mon Ami ministry
is growing, including more women and making a noticeable difference
in the women of the church. The atmosphere of the church has changed
as women have built closer relationships with each other.
The ministry has expanded
to include an outreach to career women built around a 45-minute
lunch fellowship. Another new part of the ministry, targeting
moms, includes serving a child-friendly tea. Each child is given
a small paper bag decorated to look like a gift, containing treats
and an inexpensive toy.
“The goal is
to provide fellowship time by adjusting to the needs of women,”
Callaway says. “Women are learning to be hospitable rather
than entertaining.” The Mon Ami ministry has produced a
ministry manual and training video to assist other churches in
establishing the ministry. Mon Ami also reaches non-Christians,
as women can present the gospel during the tea.
Bonnie Erikson of Peoples
Church in Salem, Ore., has found another way to minister to women
and build relationships. She began with a Seasoned Women’s
Spa Day, in which 50 widows from the church attended.
“I wanted to
give these women a time to be ministered to personally,”
Erikson says. With the help of 40 volunteers, she set up the church
activity center with stations for various spa treatments, including
massage therapy, manicures, pedicures, facials, a color analyst
and hairstylists. Fifty women participated in the first event.
Women from Church on
the Hill in Vallejo, Calif., conduct an outreach to help meet
physical and spiritual needs. Last year, 70 women and 60 girls
from varying socioeconomic backgrounds, lifestyles and cultures
The church chooses
women and girls from area churches, homeless shelters, safe houses
and domestic violence groups, as well as single moms or schoolteachers
to become “queen for a day.” Each “queen”
is matched with a volunteer who meets with her prior to the event
to get acquainted and shop for a new outfit for the chosen woman
to wear the event day. Then the women are treated to a makeover,
a catered luncheon and gift presentation. Girls are treated similarly
with the addition of workshops addressing issues such as abstinence,
self-esteem and peer pressure.
As Women’s Ministries
director of Clinton Valley A/G in Clinton Township, Mich., Dawn
McReynolds began mentoring women in the church. But last year
she established the Aurora Women’s Center in Harper Woods,
Mich., as an interdenominational center to make differences in
women’s lives. Participants set six-month goals and take
classes toward those goals.
“We believe that
Jesus Christ showed us the perfect example to follow in changing
people’s lives,” says McReynolds, who now attends
Troy (Mich.) A/G, which also helps to provide mentors for the
the in-house mentoring system, asks Christian women from the community
to become mentors for women in the program. Clients undergo an
intake and goal-setting process with the program director and
the director of mentoring services. Next, a carefully chosen mentor
who has been in a similar situation to the client leads the client
through the program. Mentors will meet with clients at least once
a month to go over the client’s action plan and to see how
well the client is doing in her classes or where she needs help.
The Women’s Center
facility can take eight women at a time in biblically based workshops
each lasting 90 minutes, and offers up to 10 workshops per day.
Teachers are volunteers from area churches, and subjects are divided
into courses on such topics as relationships, self-esteem, résumé
building, data entry, office relationships and skills, interview
techniques, dressing for success, basic English and grammar skills,
and a state-required finance course. The clients also can access
a food pantry and receive four business suits after graduating
from the center. All programs are free.
Once clients graduate
from Barnabas Connection, the Aurora Women’s Center helps
them determine readiness to attend Henry Ford Community College
for free general equivalency diploma classes or college-level
classes at the University of Michigan-Dearborn site. Clients can
attend the university, which usually costs $15,000 per semester,
for only $200 including books.
Another part of the
program, Touch With Hope, is directed to single moms who want
to save money toward down payment on a house, a small business
purchase or to attend college. Touch With Hope is part of a ministry
initiated by the national Women’s Ministries Department,
in cooperation with Convoy of Hope. Through Aurora Women’s
Center’s Touch With Hope program, clients attend church
with their assigned mentor.
“We must be relevant
to those we want to reach,” says Arlene Allen, national
Women’s Ministries director. “Every born-again woman
should have at least one ministry of serving others.”