What Churches Need To Know About What Women Want

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Leaders love learning.  They have an insatiable quest for knowledge.  With that as a backdrop, earlier this week I read an article on the behavioral patterns of women and I needed to more.

Erica Eden wrote an article on FastCompany.com entitled Smart Design: Why Girly Designs Directed At Women Often Backfire.  Her premise, developed from the development of a Nike women’s timepiece, is women don’t always enjoy being isolated or told they are “different”.  Sometimes they wish to remain gender-neutral.

Here are some statements from the article regarding the roles of a woman in a given day:

“She feels differently about her femininity whether she’s getting ready for a dinner party, at kickboxing class, or paying household bills.  While everyone has different moods and modes in their lives, a woman’s range is by and large more expansive.  In one day, she might go from wearing hiking boots to high heels, from breastfeeding to home improvement.” 

Eden adds, “Things go wrong when we presume that all women want to express their femaleness at all times of their lives…By understanding her gender mindset, in the moment she’s using a product, it may be the best choice to create a gender neutral or even masculine mindset.”

Finally, she states, “These women want a watch that expresses femininity in a bold way…able to strike the right balance between performance and fashion.”

I don’t claim to know what women want.  Just ask my wife.  But Eden’s article fascinated me.  I never knew so much was involved in the design and purchase of a watch.  If it is that complex, what is involved in why a woman likes a church.  We think we know but we could be very wrong.  So I set out to find some answers.

I spoke with four women – a grandmother 60+ years old, a middle-aged mother, a single professional, and a United Methodist female pastor.  I told each four about the article and asked two simple questions – What do you like in a church?  What are you looking for?

Their answers fascinated me.  Here are some responses:

  • Grandmother – “I don’t like the question.  You can’t add a spiritual truth to a wordly survey.”  She did add though that she likes, “a warm, inviting atmosphere.  Bible based music, no secular music, something that draws you to God, not dry and dead.  I like a pastor who does expository preaching, makes you bring your Bible, and is not afraid of issues.”
  • Middle-aged mom – She likes, “a church that is fun.  Exciting worship music, a place you can clap.  Needs good bible teaching.  Good hospitality.”
  • Methodist pastor – She didn’t like the premise as she feels women are not expansive.  She did reveal that she likes, “a Godly pastor with character.”  It was interesting that she added nothing else.  She just wants a Godly man in the pulpit.
  • Single professional – She likes, “a worship service with substance, that draws you and is uplifting.  Not old hymns and organ music.  I want affinity group relationships of about 5-10 women.  The message needs to connect and tell me what is happening in the Bible in a modern context.”

The commonalities were each wanted great leadership, great music, and friendly people.  This supports Eden’s article as this is also what men want.  It would appear though that if you have these three, your church may be positioned to have major impact in the lives of women.

What I also found fascinating is what was not said.  None of the four stated children’s programming when selecting a church.  For the record, something for children would have been my #1 answer.

This was a quest for learning for me.  I’m dying to hear what other women have to say.  What do you like in a church?  What are you looking for?

Thanks for your responses and don’t forget to take advantage of the many ways to subscribe to this site.

About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

3 Responses to “What Churches Need To Know About What Women Want”

  1. Welcoming… A church that shows radical hospitality.

  2. I am curious about the comment from the United Methodist pastor. Did she say “Godly man” or did she say someone who is Godly?

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