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Not your mother’s women’s ministry

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The Perfect HousewifeWhen Wanda Froese’s husband Terrance became director of ministry for the Saskatchewan Conference of MB Churches last April, and the couple began meeting with MB leaders across the province, she noticed a common thread: “Women in ministry are lonely. They need a place to connect.”

“I have always been a ‘hole-filler’: I find needs and try to fill them,” says Froese. “I realized I have the tools to meet that need.” The office administrator had been taking courses in social media marketing.

So in January, Froese started an online community through a website (skmbwomeninministry.com) and Facebook group “SK MB Women in Ministry.” In the first month, the site had 100 visitors and 500 views.

A pastor’s wife for 34 years, Froese has plenty of leadership experience. “You name it, I’ve done it…except men’s ministry,” she laughs, adding that she has helped set up men’s ministries as well. Most of her work has been starting worship and children’s ministries; until now, women’s ministry “hasn’t been a calling of mine, but that’s the door that’s opening.”

In addition to serving other pastor’s wives, Froese is intentional about gearing the online community for women in paid or unpaid ministry leadership roles. “There isn’t a place for them,” says Froese. “When pastors get together, they’re mostly men, and the women may feel awkward. At pastors’ retreats, their husbands may not want to come, and they may not want to come alone. There’s a disconnect.”

Froese is aware of many resources for leading a women’s ministry, “but I haven’t found much for women who are in ministry.”

The Saskatchewan MB Women in Ministry website offers blog posts about relationships with God, self and others; coaching opportunities with Froese and retired West Portal pastor Irma Barkman; a members-only forum; and links to information about L2L, SKMB and other discipleship and training opportunities.

Froese’s Facebook posts “bring a biblical perspective to bandwagons,” answering, “How do I, as a woman in ministry, interact with this current issue and project a godly view?”

“My desire is that it wouldn’t focus so much on women’s issues, but on ministry issues, on the resources and relationships women need to help us become better leaders,” says Froese. “We need to learn to go to God for our emotional needs; when we come to each other, it’s for connection to help us grow closer to God.”

Froese chose to be ironic in her branding. “I deliberately posted pictures from the 1940s and ’50s to show that stereotypical women’s ministry is not what we’re doing,” says Froese. But the images of cupcake parties of yesteryear contain another message: “Everything we do is based on the past, and on older women mentoring younger.”

The group’s first in-person meeting was a “women in ministry lunch” at the Saskatchewan convention. “My goal is that, as people start connecting online,” says Froese, “when they see each other in person, they have a starting point.”

—Angeline Schellenberg

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