Leader to Leader, Leadership, Ministry

How to Disciple Women in Your Church through a Blog

June 30, 2016 | Posted by Emilie Finke

If there’s one thing I love to do, it’s to stalk good blogs. Strangers trendier, more talented, with better cameras and a weird amount of free time allow me a glimpse into their incredible lives. Reading about these bloggers’ lives, hearing their tips, enjoying their thoughts – it all makes me feel like I am one of their own. They do not know my story. They do not know my name. They are unaware of my existence completely. Yet through their words and stories, I’ve begun to feel like I am a part of their community, a part of their story.

I’m not alone in this sensation. The other day a woman was telling me a story about a friend of hers who had just bought some more chickens.

“How fun!” I laughed, “Where do you know her from?”

“Oh, I use that term loosely I guess,” she says, “I follow her blog.”

Guys. We are telling stories about bloggers as if they are our personal friends.

If blogs alone are bringing a sense of community and identity to their followers, how much more powerful could they be when partnered with real community and identity as daughters of Christ?

I was pondering that question about a year ago. I was at a new job at a new church in a new town. There was a lot of “new” going on and frankly, I was a little overwhelmed. As The Point’s new women’s ministry coordinator, (and also because I am human) I wanted to truly know and love the women in my church. I quickly found, however, one hour a week was not enough time to develop deep relationships. We started meeting together in small groups and had occasional fun gatherings, but something was missing. There were women at The Point who simply were unable to commit one more night of their week to anything, including church.

The way I see it, there are two reasons why someone connected to a church body would not be able to be connected to the subsequent community. Consequently, these are also the two biggest roadblocks to discipleship:

  1. Busyness
  2. Indifference

In terms of busyness: The reality is, we live in a busy culture. This may be unhealthy (it is); it may be slowly draining the life and joy out of our days (it is); it may eventually lead to the disintegration of our bodies, minds, and souls (it will), and we definitely should be working to change that reality. However, for the time being, we need to realize that this busyness, this life-draining and stress-giving busyness culture is our mission field. There are jobs and sporting events and meetings and travels and social obligations; there are groceries to buy and letters to write and homework to do and believe it or not, throughout all of this, some families are still trying to eat dinner together. People are busy. But they still need Jesus. They still need community. And even with all her flaws, they still need the church.

In terms of indifference: If people truly do not understand the benefit of being surrounded by and plugged into a group of believers, if they feel like one hour in a pew on Sunday is enough, they either cannot see the beauty of Christ-centered community, they’ve been burned by Christ-centered community, or Christ has not yet grabbed hold of their hearts. It is our job to pray for them, show them the beauty and purpose of healthy, Christ-centered community and continue to reach out to them in love through alternative avenues.

I didn’t want to just continue gathering with the people who wanted to gather, emptily wishing more people would come, and turning a blind eye when women chose to stay unconnected. Instead, I started to write.

“Hello, you beautiful and creative works of art!”

I’ve been using weekly email blogs as a way to connect wanderers to the whole for almost a year now. I write candidly about my own life, my failures and my delights. I encourage them. I try to point them to Jesus and to other blogs that can point them to Jesus. I throw in an embarrassing story so that they can laugh at their desks and get a dirty look from the less fun coworker next to them. I add in a recipe or a craft they can try because life is more fun when it involves food and crafts. I do not use it as a newsletter. I do not have an agenda. I do not try to subtly trick people into coming to events. People don’t need more spam, more lists, more to-dos! Instead, I tell them how much I love them. I remind them how much Jesus loves them. I tell them that whenever they are ready, there is a community of women ready and waiting to embrace them with tangible arms and drink tangible coffee and cry tangible tears and laugh tangible laughs and eat a lot of deliciously tangible cupcakes. Until they are ready and even after they are, every Monday I get to invite the community of women God has given me to a virtual coffee date.

It is casual and low key. I aim to be absolutely authentic, writing as I would to a good friend. I avoid “churchy” talk and instead just focus on Jesus.

The women who are firmly connected to The Point, who come to the events and the connection groups and have relationships with each other – they are filled and pointed to Jesus. The women who aren’t, they can now connect by just the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger. They can be a part of the whole. The invitation is there. They now know my stories, and through this outreach, I’ve been blessed to hear some of theirs.

As for me, I get to dig into the Word and read the words of others who are full of the Holy Spirit. I get to be refreshed and refueled on any given Monday. Mondays don’t have to be mundane. Community doesn’t have to be fragmented. People don’t have to be disconnected. Technology doesn’t have to be evil and it doesn’t have to be distant. No, Mondays can be rejuvenating. Community can be whole. Technology can be a helpful tool to bring outlying people together. And when authentically paired with an invitation to tangible community, blogging can be an effective discipleship tool for the 21st century woman.

AUTHOR
Emilie Finke
Emilie Finke is a daughter of Christ with a heart for millennials. She graduated from Concordia University Texas and is currently serving as worship leader, women’s ministry, and social media coordinator at The Point Church in Knoxville, TN. She loves good coffee paired with good music on a long road trip, conversations that get way too personal way too fast, and any well-placed pun. But Jesus is even better than all that. Check out more of her thoughts on all things life and Jesus at meanderingsandramblings.com.