Mama Caro

Stephanie "Mama" Caro's humorous, straightforward style keeps her busy presenting at conferences, training events, camps, mission trips, retreats, churches, etc. She is Senior Consultant for Ministry Architects and author of "Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches" and "99 Thoughts for the Smaller Church Youth Worker." Her next book, “Ten Solutions (to Ten Common Mistakes Small Churches Make)” comes out in 2015. Stephanie is a contributing author to several ministry resources in addition to her regular column “Smaller Church Youth Ministry” in Group Magazine. Stephanie and her husband, Steve, live in Houston, TX.

(From my friend, Amanda Berger. Read part 1 first. – Stephanie)

Part II – Where to Start:  Getting a Girls Group Going

Doing things together helps a group to bond in a very special way.  My favorite way to engage young women is through cooking, baking, crafts, and other creative arts, mainly because that is an extension of who I am. The best ministry happens as an overflow of what we are passionate about and I think it is valuable for girls to see women using their gifts.  So, as you think about who may lead your girls group, look for unique gifts and people using them to pursue their passion.

Why creative arts?

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It is my belief that we bear the imprint of our Creator, and therefore, everyone has the ability to get creative.  Creative arts offer girls an opportunity to participate in an activity where there is no right or wrong answer.  There’s only trying.  Creative arts offer you the chance to engage young women in an activity, to offer affirmation of what they have created, and the chance to see a girl lit from within with possibility. You will see the girls shine accomplishment and be proud to go home with something they made.

At The Soul Sisterhood Retreat (my girls’ camp) we use sewing, scrapbooking, jewelry-making, baking, photography, knitting, writing and cooking as ways for girls to try something new and see if they can find something about which to be passionate.  Having a passion outside of school or friends helps girls to get away from the drama and judgment that can get in the way of them trying out new things.  Not every project goes right the first time—but the stakes are low and when something doesn’t turn out quite right, it makes for a funny story and we can grow from trying again.

You don’t need to be an expert in arts/crafts to make this work.  There are millions of great, easy ideas on the internet, but even better, use this as a chance to engage other adults in your youth ministry.  I guarantee that there are people in your congregation who would be willing to lead a beginner’s knitting night, show a group of girls how to create a beautiful scrapbook page, or do a little painting.  It’s a perfect way to celebrate the talents and hobbies of your faith community.

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  • […] Small Church Girls Ministry – Part 2 […]

  • Steph and Amanda-

    Love the thoughts and am curious what you think about this-


    Careful! Both of you are friends of mine!!

    • Hi John! This is an interesting link you’ve shared, and I think it has value. Now, Ms. Scott has clearly seen where women’s ministries can be ineffective, smoothing over deep issues and important callings that women face, and not meeting those needs. One of the things about it though, is knowing that the context of every church is different. At the church where I serve our ministries were learning and service heavy, adding something more art-focused and introspective has proven to be very important for our young women. I also think it depends on how you are using it. At camp, our crafts/art are rarely done just for the sake of making something. We use the art projects as a means of meditation, of helping the girls to look inside of themselves and to connect more deeply with God. The projects work alongside teaching sessions, Bible study, and small groups to really get at the inside of who each girl is and what God created them to do in this world. I believe that this is so important in a world that is so noisy with technology and false cultural messages. The key to it though is intention. Is there a reason why? What does it teach? How does it help connect us more deeply to our Creator?

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