the shape of leadership

Reaching a New Generation of Girls

More than ever, we need Girls Ministries

Lori Warning on September 11, 2018

Intentional ministry to girls through the local church has been happening in the Assemblies of God since 1956, when leaders chartered the first Missionettes Club (now Girls Ministries). For more than 60 years, AG women have been stepping up to make a difference in the lives of young girls and teens.

Snapshots from those early years remind us times have changed. Hairstyles and clothing are different — and so are the photos themselves. The fuzzy, black-and-white prints are a far cry from the digital images we now capture on our smartphones and share on social media.

Of course, photography isn’t the only thing that’s radically altered. Cultural changes have led to a shift in service structures in the local church. When I was a young girl in the mid-1970s and early-’80s, we went to church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night. This was in addition to any special services the church may have had. We had a saying in our family: “If the doors are open, we will be there.”

It worked for us, but it’s a different world today. Many churches have moved away from Sunday night services. Even midweek services are no longer the norm everywhere. This gives pastors and leaders fewer opportunities to invest in and influence kids. Meanwhile, kids are increasingly tuning in to other voices.

On average, children in America receive their first cellphone at age 10, according to a study by the research firm Influence Central. And most kids will be accessing the internet on their personal devices long before they have a driver’s license. In other words, today’s leaders have less time to teach and more distractions to compete with — and many of today’s kids have shorter attention spans.

We must recognize the need to reach and effectively lead girls to become strong, godly women.

Despite all these changes, two things remain the same:

  • God uniquely designed and created each girl for His purpose.
  • The mission and heart of Girls Ministries is to win young ladies to Jesus Christ through love and acceptance.

Churches and leaders must remain intentional about reaching kids, and specifically, about meeting the unique needs of girls. This requires a time apart from the large-group setting for interaction within a smaller group designed just for girls. Godly women leaders can use these opportunities to discuss relevant issues, study the Word of God, and lead girls as they grow and mature.

September 9–15 is National Girls Ministries Week in the Assemblies of God. It’s an ideal time to examine the effectiveness of our ministry models and consider how we can create times for women and girls to develop healthy, mentor-based relationships.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with a young lady preparing for her first year of college. She was an honor graduate of each age level of Girls Ministries. I asked about her experience and what Girls Ministries meant to her. The young woman spoke about the relationships she developed through the years with peers and leaders. She talked about memorizing countless Scriptures, and even having the opportunity to serve as a helper with the girls in an early elementary club. Her face lit up with each memory shared.

I thought about how this young lady would draw from these experiences in the coming weeks, months and years. How many times would she recall a Scripture as a source of strength and help? How many of those girls would continue to be part of her world for years to come? How would the relationships with her leaders shape the young woman’s future?

Now, more than ever, the Church must step up just as it did in 1956. We must recognize the need to reach and effectively lead girls to become strong, godly women. When and where do you start? Start today, start now — it begins with you!

At the National Girls Ministries Department, we are prepared and available to assist you. For more information, visit the National Girls Ministries website or call 417-862-2781.


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