Women’s Ministry: Unlocking the Potential, Sally Valleskey
In the late 80s, 38% of American women attended church regularly, compared to only 25% of men. That is a 13 point gap. In this decade, even though the percentage of men who attend church regularly has declined, the attendance gap between men and women has shrunk. How is that possible? Simple. The percent of women who attend church regularly has declined even faster than men. Currently, 22% of men attend church regularly, compared to 29% of women, a 7 point gap.
Why are women leaving the church more quickly than men? Certain research groups (e.g. Pew Research Center, the Barna Group) will attribute this phenomenon to things like the growing number of women in the workforce or the decline in the birth rate among Millennials. These may play a role in our circles too. However, exit surveys of women who have left WELS congregations indicate another major cause. Many women do not feel their gifts are being well-utilized by their church. Some women leave for another congregation they believe will better make use of their talents and willingness to serve. Others simply quit church altogether.
In this session, we will discuss the need for women’s ministry. We will look at various potential women’s ministries that make use of all the various talents of the women in your congregation. We will see that within the Biblical roles God has established for the genders, it is possible to construct women’s ministries that help address delinquency, increase evangelism, nurture new members, and assist in fostering Christian community.
This is vital for our congregations. It is more than simply trying to retain our female WELS members. In most WELS churches, there are more active women than there are active men. We honor how women have served so well in the past. In today’s world, women’s experiences continue to expand in the home and workplace. Drawing on these experiences we’re eager to find ways women’s gifts can be used creatively in the church as well. God desires all gifts to be used in zealous Kingdom work!
Thus, this is a servant group that is needed for zealous Kingdom work!
Sally Valleskey has had the privilege of being active in women’s ministry for many years—presenter, Bible study leader, serving on various committees. She has worked closely with others in leadership to develop women’s ministry both in her own congregation as well as being a mentor to women in congregational leadership across the country. Sally is a member of the WELS Women’s Ministry Committee since 2008, serving as chair of the Congregational Ministries Team and Ministry Mentor through the Talk on Tuesday program. She is eager to connect with women who are looking for information on how to start/revive women’s ministry in their congregation, and loves the one on one conversation and brainstorming that allows insight and sharing. She is passionate about this type of congregational assist to make sure all women are being reached and encouraged in their use of gifts in response to the gospel message of God’s grace!
[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. 2 Timothy 1:9
Sally is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in art education. After teaching a number of years, she is recently retired from 25 years as administrative assistant at Abiding Word Lutheran Church, in Houston, Tex. She served from 2002-2006 on the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS) board of directors. Her husband, Stephen Valleskey, is also retired from 49 years of pastoral ministry, with world mission experience in the field and for 15 years on the synod’s Board for World Missions. Sally and her husband have four grown children and seven grandchildren.