In 1889, Mrs. Ella L. MacGeary of Verona, Pennsylvania was challenged about the needs of the women in her church to do something more than just go to church. She immediately rose to the challenge, recognized the need, organized the women into a society and called it the Women's Foreign Missionary Society. It was focused around a central goal and theme: to spread and promote the work of missions and missionaries. It soon spread across the country until nearly every Free Methodist Church had a WFMS.
In the 100 years that followed, the women of the Free Methodist Church rolled bandages, cut quilt blocks, sewed, prayed for and raised money for the cause of missions around the globe. However, as this century was coming to a close, changes were coming so fast and furiously everywhere, it became evident that there was a need for change in the women's organization also.
In 1989 the structure was changed to include meeting the needs of women everywhere. Women's Ministries International (WMI) became any ministry done by women and focused on ministry being done to or for women. The things that did not change were some basic fundamentals: God's Word is the basis for all we do, our purpose and mission is to reach people with the Good News of the Gospel and we are blessed by God in order to be a blessing to others. Warren Wiersbe said, "Ministry happens when divine resources meet human needs through loving people to the glory of God." That's the way WMI feels.
Today, Women's Ministries International takes on a wide variety of programs and activities to meet the needs, wants and interests of women both inside and outside the church, in the United States and globally. The women in the church need to grow and have relationships with women and at the same time reach out to women outside the church to love, care for and bring them to Jesus. It may still involve some of the original activities done for global missions, but is not limited to that. Pamela Heim says in her book, Leading Women's Ministries, "In most churches, women comprise more than half of the membership. If a church is to be a praying church, its women must pray. If a church is to be an evangelizing church, women must share the Good News. If a church wants to make disciples, women must disciple women. A church simply cant be healthy and effective if its feminine majority is not doing its fair share to build the kingdom of God." Women's Ministries International helps grow churches in reflecting a strong commitment to meeting the needs of women everywhere in Jesus name.
There are many reasons WMI engages women in ministries:
(1) Generally women are more likely to be evangelized by women.
(2) Women need to take primary responsibility for disciplining other women.
(3) Women's ministries meet the unique needs of women.
(4) Jesus charged women as well as men to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).
(5) Women's ministries provide opportunities for women to discover, develop and use the full range of their spiritual gifts.
(6) Women's ministries are encouraged in Scripture (Titus 2:3-5)
(7) In women's ministries Jesus is our model. (Luke 7:37-8:3; 8:43-48; 23:46-49, 23:55-24:11; 10:38-42; 13:10-16; and John 4:7-30, 39-42, and 20:10-18)