As a women’s ministry leader for over 20 years, I have had my share of organizing events, planning activities, and presenting proposals for ministry strategies. All of these responsibilities were carried out as I served in a lay leadership role and were necessary for the ministry to proceed.
As someone who, for most of my life, has served in a volunteer capacity in the local church, who loves the local church and who now teaches college students on the topic of ministry, I have a seasoned perspective on ideas about ministry that I wish I’d realized earlier in my ministry leadership journey.
Oftentimes as a lay leader, you may have been asked to fill a position because someone noticed you have a skill set or particular gifting, or maybe you’re a person other leaders know they can count on.
Perhaps you’re invited to serve in a leadership role, and you find yourself in charge of a ministry team and not really sure what you’re doing there or what to do first. Believe it or not, this is what we often find to be the case in women’s ministry leadership. It can be an overwhelming place in which you find yourself and you may feel pressure to default to planning ministry. Before you know it, you’ve planned some events and activities but haven’t really paused to consider God’s perspective. You’ve planned the “what” but perhaps haven’t stopped to ask, what is the “why” of the ministry?
“So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7
As Arkansas Baptist Women, our theme this year is “Growing Together.” There are several verses in the Bible that use the terms, “being rooted and grounded.” This process applies not only to us as individual believers, but it can also serve to establish our ministry objectives. You may have a lot of ideas and those are great, but just like anything that is going to grow, it is first necessary to establish a healthy root system for a thriving ministry.
“As leaders in the planning process, we need clear direction from the Lord. When we plan without the Lord’s direction, we make the ministry process more difficult because we spend time, energy, and resources on human efforts that never produce long-lasting outcomes. As we abide in Christ, and His Word abides in us, spiritual fruit will be produced, and the Father will be glorified. (John 15)” — from “Ministry to Women: 5 Keys for Effective Growth”.
As women’s ministry leaders, we are positioned to carry out the most important ministry objective we’ve been given: to love and serve women with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I used to think ministry was about planning, organizing, and implementing. And don’t get me wrong–all of those things are necessary and vital in the planning process. But here’s how I’ve come to redefine what I believe is the most important aspect of ministry: “Ministry to women is meeting them where they are with the hope of the Gospel and walking alongside them in their faith journey.”
Before we begin to plan all the ideas we have, we need to ask, “what is the ‘why’ of this ministry?” As you think about your ‘why,’ here are a few practical tips to consider:
Before we plan:
- Pause. Instead of feeling pressure to jump right in and plan, take time to pause and give space for the Lord to work in His time. Resist the urge to default to the ‘doing’ of ministry.
- Pray. Ask the Lord for His guidance as you seek His plans for the purpose and spiritual direction of the ministry. Invite your team members to join you in this process. As you watch for His move and join Him, you will be encouraged as the Lord becomes the leader in your ministry to women.
- Prepare. As the Lord gives His direction, take time to assess and evaluate the current ministry plans. Take advantage of ministry resources that can help you in this process and seek input from key women in your church and other ministry leaders in your area.
Arkansas Baptist Women have developed a set of resources specifically designed for training and equipping women who serve as women’s ministry leaders in the local church. You can find these resources at absc.org/women. You can also connect with women’s ministry leaders in your area through our network groups at absc.org/wmnetworks.