Side By Side Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I start a chapter?
A false perception exists that women married to doctors or dentists must surely have the "perfect life." It’s a common misconception we know is not true. Sometimes life as a medical spouse can be very difficult and many women struggle with resentment, exhaustion, loneliness and isolation. It's not that these feelings don't occur in all marriages, but we do believe that medical marriages face unique circumstances which bring those emotions about.
That's where Side By Side steps in. We believe there is something special about the support medical spouses can offer each other. There is a sense of understanding that exists in a Side By Side chapter that might not exist in even the most well intentioned ministry chapter. And with that understanding, we provide a welcome environment to everyone, regardless of their spiritual background. Some of our members would never come to a "Bible study," but they'll come to Side By Side. Why? Because at Side By Side they find women who understand what they are going through; they find help and companionship; they find friendship and a home away from home.
But our main goal is to reach women for Christ. We believe God has given us a unique ministry platform, a unique opportunity to reach medical spouses for Christ. We seek to serve Him right where we are, within our sphere of influence; at Side By Side, that happens to be medical spouses. We invite you to join us in reaching out to the medical spouses in your community and loving them as Jesus does.
What are the membership eligibility requirements?
Our ministry is specifically designed for spouses of physicians and dentists. This includes spouses of medical and dental students, residents, fellows and practicing healthcare professionals. Being evangelical in nature, we do have an open door policy. We do not prohibit anyone from attending, medical or otherwise. However, our ministry goals will not change. We are and will continue to be an outreach ministry to the spouses of physicians within our community.
At the present time, we are a women's ministry. However, we acknowledge the growing, legitimate need for a ministry to female physicians' husbands. We would welcome a separate branch of Side By Side to minister to them and meet their specific needs. When God raises up a godly man who feels called to pursue this new branch of Side By Side, we will happily cooperate in helping develop it.
What resources are provided?
We want to help you establish this ministry established in your community. We will put you in touch with the Regional Director for your area who will be there to guide you each step of the way. After receiving your signed Statement of Faith, we will also provide you a Ministry Manual which outlines the how-to's of the ministry. In addition to that, we will provide prayer support, networking through our CMDA affiliation and monthly encouragement through our On the Side e-newsletter. Learn more about our resources.
What will my chapter look like?
There is no "right" way for your chapter to look. Each chapter is unique as it meets the unique needs of its community. There is no "right" demographic; your chapter may have women who are older or younger in training or near retirement. Your chapter can meet year around, seasonally or during the school calendar year.
And remember your chapter size will begin small. This ministry started with six women around a kitchen table. Minister to those attending and God will grow your chapter as He sees fit.
Can I lead a chapter?
Our leaders are women just like you. We come from a vast variety of backgrounds and denominations. We are moms; we are professionals; we are students. There is no one type of leader. All you need is a heart for the Lord and a heart for our ministry. We do require all leaders to fill out an informational questionnaire and sign the Statement of Faith and seek to live out the ministry goals of Side By Side to the best of their ability, with God's help and the accountability of their peers.
Leaders do not have to be formally trained or have a theological degree. Check out our resources for more information about books we recommend on leadership and leading small groups.
Is there a cost involved?
We require a one-time charter fee to officially become a local chapter of Side By Side. As each chapter will vary in size, we have implemented a payment plan. At the present time, we do not require annual dues. However, that may change in the future.
10 members or less
More than 30 members
We do not want "cost" to get in the way of forming a new chapter. Please contact us if this charter fee creates a problem for your chapter. Other costs you may consider in starting your chapter is the cost of childcare and books. We recommend having your members contribute to these costs by paying for their own childcare and books, but leaders will often supplement the costs.