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Say Yes to the Cupcake: Why We Need Food & Fun in Women’s Ministry

I am a women’s ministry leader and I have a confession to make: I love cupcakes. And ice breaker games. And door prizes.

Does that make me shallow?

I also crave transformational Bible study and deep spiritual conversations about the things of God. I love to discuss theology. I long to pray in intimate circles of Christian sisters about things of eternal value. I want to impact the world for Christ.

In recent years, there has been a movement in the Christian community to cut the “fluff” from women’s ministry. For instance, this open letter to Women’s Ministry by Sarah Bessey has been shared thousands of times and republished on other websites such as ChurchLeader.com. (See “Why We Don’t Need Women’s Ministry.“)

Even though the article was originally posted several years ago, every once in a while it still pops up on my newsfeed. And a friend from church emailed me the link, wondering what I thought about it. So I decided to think about it. Really think about it. Here’s my response in a nutshell:

Cupcakes and theology are NOT mutually exclusive. There is room – and need – for both in women’s ministry.

Serious Discipleship is Top Priority

Basically, I agree with the heart of Bessey’s article. Women always need deep, spiritual connection to other believers. We need encouragement to fulfill God’s purposes for their lives and to grow into Christlikeness. We need accountability and equipping. Solid biblical teaching and sound, godly leadership.

Yes, all women need these things. This should be the heart and soul of our women’s ministry. It is in fact, the church’s calling.

We Must Engage the Felt Need

But if we’re honest, we’ll acknowledge that not all women recognize this need in their lives. If we want to reach all the women in the church – and the community – we must also minister to the felt need of cooking, friendship, and yes, maybe even crafting! We must connect with the women who aren’t ready to jump into the deep end of the spiritual pool. We must provide a way for them to get their feet wet.

A church’s women’s ministry can be  both deep and wide. Let’s provide in-depth Bible study. Let’s train teachers and mentor moms. Let’s help mission efforts in our community and around the world.

We Need Connection Points

But let’s also reach new women in the community and women in the church who don’t yet recognize their need for a deeper faith. For instance, my church has a yearly “Table Top.” You know, that dinner where women show off their table decorating skills and act as hostess to a table full of women. It’s fun, it’s festive, and yes, some think it’s frivolous.

But the guests hear a strong Gospel message and are given the opportunity to get involved in specific mission efforts. Women who won’t come to Bible study or a spiritual retreat accept their neighbor’s invitation to Table Top. And the women in our church who hang out on the fringe of things come. They meet and mingle, and move a little deeper into the spiritual water.

Jesus often paved the way to deeper things over a dinner party. And He bonded with the guys in a fishing boat. He fed the crowds and the twelve with both physical and spiritual food.

Food and fun can foster relationships. Few of us will pour our hearts out to strangers or ask some woman we don’t know to be an accountability partner. But give them an opportunity to bond over a cupcake and then they’ll reach out when a crisis hits.

There’s room for cupcakes and spiritual depth.

We can have the cupcake and eat it too.

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9 Responses to Say Yes to the Cupcake: Why We Need Food & Fun in Women’s Ministry

  1. Wilma Thomas September 17, 2015 at 7:31 am #

    Kathy, just read your response to Sarah Bessey’s article and I think that you did a great job! God has given you a great gift and I think you are using it well!
    You did an excellent job in explaining how important all the different aspects of a good “Ladies Ministry Program” are — including cupcakes! So excited to know that I can have my cupcake and eat it too.

    • Kathy September 17, 2015 at 7:47 am #

      Wilma, thank you for stopping by and for the kind words. In my experience, food and fun have played a key role in fulfilling the spiritual purpose of women’s ministry!

  2. Cynthia Hopkins September 17, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    Kathy, thanks for writing this. I think most of us feel the tension between deep and “shallow”…that’s why I always write Monday posts before List Wednesday rolls around:) As far as cupcakes and crafts go, I never think of those, but I am so thankful for the people who do! When we do life together, we’re a whole lot more apt to DO LIFE together.

    • Kathy September 17, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

      Cynthia, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I love what you wrote about our willingness to “DO LIFE” together when we do everyday life together!

  3. Nell Ann September 18, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    I am so glad you pointed out that cupcakes and theology are not mutually exclusive. We do not have to choose one over the other. Surely those who are not into cupcakes can look past the cute stuff to the depth and width of the Gospel and Christ’s love for all women – that should be evident and experienced within the church.

  4. Lisa Hilgemeier January 22, 2018 at 11:52 am #

    I love how you pointed out that Jesus met people where they were and brought them into deep relationship with Himself. There is a loneliness at both ends of the continuum-a longing to belong when standing in the waves at the shore and a longing for encouragement when floating In the bottomless places in the middle of the lake. And always a desire for understanding and community in every depth. Thank you for always pointing us to Christ.

  5. Jamie Monkhouse Parker January 22, 2018 at 12:34 pm #

    I agree. Cupcakes and theology are not mutually exclusive. I plan to use that line. However, it’s not for everyone. Aren’t we blessed to live where we can choose. If you’ve had a few too many cupcakes, you might:

    1) Choose a co-ed group.
    2) Start a small group study of your own. No cupcakes allowed.
    3) God speaks to us in all kinds of ways. Get more involved in service. Ask God to open doors of service you have never even considered. Then, have enough faith to walk through the open doors.

    We all have different gifts and personalities. We all reach out….and are reached…..differently. Thank you, Jesus. We’re not boring.

    I, personally, keep my circle small…..BUT…..one of my good friends has a really big circle. She always knows where to go for a quiet cup of tea and I always know where to find a cupcake.

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