"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?" Luke 15:4
Am I My Sister's Keeper?
Are YOU your SISTER'S keeper?
You ARE your sister's keeper.
WE are OUR sister's keeper!
Women without friends in church are likely to become dropouts.
How do you become friends again with dropouts? Begin a reclaiming ministry with these tips. Download brochure, Am I My Sister's Keeper?
Why Do Women Stop Attending Church?
Before you begin a reclaiming ministry, consider some of the reasons women stop attending church. This will help you as you consider reaching out to them.
Women may stop attending due to…
- Discouragement, either in their spiritual lives or because of something that has nothing at all to do with the church
- Disputes with other members or with the pastor
- Disagreements over doctrine, church standards, or worship styles
- Hurt feelings
- Divorce or separation from spouse
- Transition to a new stage of life, such as marriage or a new job
- Move to another town with no follow-up between churches
- Their children don’t like church
- Lengthy illness, either themselves or a loved one
- Lack of involvement in the church
Many women stop attending church because church was not a friendly place for them. They were wounded by lack of caring.
How to Begin a Reclaiming Ministry
- Make a list of women who are missing from church.
- Pray over the list.
- Ask God to direct you to the women He wants you to reach out to.
- Talk it over with the pastor and enlist his or her support.
- Obtain church board approval.
- Present the plan of a Reclaiming Ministry to the church body so they will be supportive and will be prepared to see missing members back in church.
- Form a committee to organize and oversee the ministry. Some of the team members, called Mentors, are each responsible for contacting and befriending a woman on the list.
- Reach out to the women on your list in friendship and love.
- Remember: The parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15 illustrates how important a single missing person is to God. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked from making a connection with the woman you commit to befriending.
Prayer is the key to a successful Reclaiming Ministry.
Reach Out to the Women to Be Reclaimed
Things to remember as you contact the women you wish to reclaim:
- For the initial contact, send or take a small gift such as the General Conference Women’s Ministries devotional book or another gift.
- Smile often and let her know you’ve missed her.
- After the first contact, follow up regularly by phone, email, social media, text message, or greeting card. Invite her to lunch at your home or a restaurant.
- Be genuinely interested in her and everything that is important to her, especially her family.
- Be a good listener. Allow her to talk about herself.
- The church’s Women’s Ministries department or the Reclaiming Ministry team should plan social events and small group studies to invite the non-attending women. The first social event should be away from the church to keep anyone from being uncomfortable.
- Your job is to love your friend and accept her unconditionally.
- Never lecture your friend about her lifestyle or appearance. Remember, lectures will repel; love will win them.
- Do not betray her confidences.
- If she is angry at the church or someone in church, don’t try to defend anyone. Instead, allow her to vent her anger.
- If she has been hurt, let her know you’re sorry. Never try to pretend the offense didn’t occur or suggest that she is overreacting. This will invalidate her feelings.
- Avoid arguing about church doctrines, standards, or anything.
- Invite her to participate in community outreach projects and other ministry events.
- Give your friend to God. It is your job to love her. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict.
Loving as Jesus loves means keeping up a friendship with non-attending and former members even if they never return to church.