A Great Need and a New Endeavor

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by Kristi Stoughton

sunset-3087474_1920I hear the same thing every time I speak at a retreat or conference. The exact words may vary by circumstance, but the heart cry is the same …

“My daughter stopped going to church when she went to college; she says that Christianity just isn’t relevant to her anymore.”

“I thought my sister would come back to God once she settled down and had a family, but she seems more determined than ever to stay away.”

“Young women just aren’t getting involved in our … <Bible Study, Women’s Ministry, Church Activities> … Why is it so different from 20 years ago?”

“I keep praying for her …”

“Do you think she’ll ever come back….?”

“My heart aches …”

It’s the same story. Again and again.

Where are our young women?

Women’s ministry leaders in New England have observed that in recent years, younger women (20s and 30s) are less likely to engage in Christian community than in years past. This observation has been confirmed by studies conducted by Barna Group, which found that 59% of young adults who grew up in Christian churches end up walking away from their faith and/or the organized church within their first ten years of adulthood. In just the last decade, the number of unchurched Millennials has increased from 44% to 52% and the gap is continuing to widen.

The need is great.

We at by design ministries feel a burden to reach these young women who feel disconnected from the church and from God. To that end, we are launching a new program called “WeConnect” that would help young women to connect with God, the church, and each other. We want to see a new breed of young women leaders in the church who are passionate about bringing other women along to grow together in a vital and mature relationship with Jesus Christ.

So how will we do this?

In the first phase of the project we will seek to discover young women’s personal reasons for disengaging with the church and to find out their needs and concerns. This phase will involve research, developing a list of contacts in this age group, interviews, and surveys. The second phase would involve collating/distilling the findings and then sharing the information with Christian leaders for the purpose of building a team of leaders who are interested in reaching out to this age group. The third phase would be the development of the plan and curriculum for this program.

And then what?

Based on the findings regarding the program offerings that would meet the needs of the women, events could include small “Connect” groups, opportunities to serve and reach out to the local community, retreats, and an annual conference.

Our goal is to train up some of these young women to take key leadership roles in the ministry. We hope to initiate a pattern so that once these young women are mentored and trained, they in turn will mentor and train women younger than themselves and be better equipped to reach their peers for Christ.

We at by design ministries care deeply about these young women and we want them to have a real, vital, growing, loving relationship with God. We see God moving, and we are excited to be involved with Him in His work!

Maybe you feel the same way.

If you, too, are passionate about young women reconnecting with God and with the church, we want to invite you to get involved!

Volunteer your time. We’d love to have you help with the practical tasks of administrative work, networking, hosting, advising, and other areas. If you have a heart to serve, we need you!

Support by design financially. This is the hard part. Wouldn’t it be great if finances were never a concern? However, with any ministry venture comes expenses. Maybe God is calling you to invest in eternal things by sharing the financial blessings that He has given to you. A monthly commitment (large or small!) or even a one-time gift would be much appreciated and would go far in this Kingdom work. It’s easy to donate online at www.bydesignministry.org/give. (And remember that any gift toby design ministries is tax deductible.)

PRAY! Committing to pray regularly for by design ministries and WeConnect is perhaps the greatest gift you can give. If you would like to partner with us in this way, please email us at info@bydesignministry.org and we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop!

Thank you for caring about the spiritual health of this younger generation. We love them, too. We are excited to be embarking on this new facet of ministry and we can’t wait to see what God is going to do!


img_0430 square cropKristi Stoughton, Director of WeConnect, is a native of New Hampshire, where she currently resides with her husband and their two sons. As a speaker for women’s events, Kristi has a passion for women to know God’s love deeply. She loves to share about the joyful, exciting, heartbreaking, beautiful, victorious, rollicking adventure that is Life in Christ! Kristi hasn’t yet met a craft that she doesn’t like, and thanks her husband for his kind indulgence as she gleefully stockpiles crafting supplies she “might need some day.” Kristi loves playing her guitar and singing on her church’s worship team as well as serving with her musical “sister chicks” as the worship team for women’s retreats and other events. You can visit her online at www.krististoughton.com.