In September 2015, Judith Mercer heard God say to her, “Start a women’s group. “
A relative newcomer to Welland, she’d found out about the Open Arms Mission when dropping off items at their intake depot . . . downsizing meant she had lots to give away! Impressed with their community outreach (food bank, coffee drop-ins) she went and asked Open Arms if she could start a women’s Bible study.
They said yes!
Judith lost no time. She put up a big announcement at the Open Arms Centre/bookstore that said a women’s Bible study was starting. Four women came to the very first Bible study. Three left. Only one woman showed up regularly that first year.
But she didn’t give up. “I just kept at it, being with whoever was there and it grew one at a time and so this year (2017), it’s grown to seven core women and others that drop in,“ she says. ‘I did the Groups of Hope workbooks, then Ephesians, then Esther. And I kept praying.”
What’s kept her going? “God asked me to do it!” she exclaims.
In fact, she’s started another group at Open Arms Mission. This group focuses on arts and crafts: no-sew blanket-making, knitting and this spring – jewellery making. Judith and her helpers teach just enough to give women who come – refugees, women from the domestic shelter – the confidence to keep going with their projects. Women come when they can.
Here’s what Judith’s learned about starting a women’s group/ministry
- Pray a lot!
- Look around and go where there’s stuff already happening.
- Use a book that’s already published – you don’t have to invent the wheel.
- As long as there’s one person there – keep going.
- For the most part, it’s word of mouth that will bring people to the group.
- Keep praying.