Girls Ministries – continuing to break new ground
Oftentimes it's hard for established ministries to create a new stir of interest in the Assemblies of God - or in any denomination - as people come to believe that that the older the ministry, the less relevant it becomes.
Assemblies of God Girls Ministries Director Candy Tolbert agrees. "Ministries that embrace a stoic position that resists creativity and refuses to address cultural trends and fashions will soon find themselves on the outside looking in," she explains. "We've found that by listening carefully to our audience and adapting to serve their changing needs, our programs and materials have become increasingly appealing - even to groups outside of the Assemblies of God."
Tolbert points out that Girls Ministries leadership training books - originally developed to train women to work with girls - are packed with so much practical, relevant material that they are now sought-after resources used to train men and women in all areas of children's ministry.
"We pay very close attention to what those who are working with girls are saying - as typically their needs, reflect the needs of all those working with children and teens," Tolbert says. "Girls Ministries is constantly evolving as we work to supply our leaders with the types of tools and resources they are requesting."
Katie Mattiuzzo, Girls Ministries Teen Girl Specialist, provides a simple example of a small, but effective change. "After a positive response to our Girls Only Club T-shirt redesign, we redesigned the Friends Club T-shirt," she says. "We learned the original T-shirts had lost some of their appeal - fashion and style had changed - so we created some new looks. The new Friends Club T-shirts have been instant hits - we're placing our second reorder in less than 6 months."
Tolbert says that those who grew up involved in Mpact Girls Clubs and Teen Girl Ministries (formerly known as Missionettes), would recognize the values and biblical standards of the programs, but today would find the means and methods of communicating those truths vastly different.
"We have blogs, email newsletters, videos, downloadable materials - we even have an online magazine that deals with all kinds of teen issues, from dressing modestly but fashionably to addressing theological questions and even practical helps with dealing with bullies," Tolbert says. "New ways, new means, new look, but the gospel message is always there, never deviating."
Tolbert admits that overcoming the stereotype of an "established ministry" can be difficult. "Sometimes people rely upon experiences that are decades old to make their evaluation of the relevancy and effectiveness of a ministry," Tolbert says. "I encourage those who have questions about Girls Ministries to look through our website, send us an email or give us a call with any questions they might have. We've broken a lot of new ground in the past few years and have new projects in development now. I believe God is working incredible things through this ministry and the leaders we serve."
For more information about Girls Ministries, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 417-862-2781.