Depending on the size of your women’s ministry, you probably have ladies of all ages and stations in life–not to mention differing personality types. It can be overwhelming to consider the variety of women in your care, and all the issues and relationships that they represent. Take a look below at this incomplete list of women that probably are in your church:
- Single (never married, divorced, teens, widowed)
- Married (newlyweds, with kids, without kids, etc.)
- Working professionals
- Stay-at-home moms
- Moms of teens/prodigals
- Empty nesters
- Women with an unbelieving spouse
- Different cultures
- Those dealing with chronic illness and pain
- Those dealing with addictions (past or present)
- Those in financial crisis
- (this list never ends!)
Now all of those can be multiplied by various ages and races represented, as well as all of the relationships each represents. It would be impossible for me to come up with a way to minister to this variety of women!
But God is not overwhelmed. His Word encompasses and can speak to all of these women where they are at, no matter what challenges they face. So if you are teaching God’s Word faithfully, it is truly up to Him to use His Word to minister personally to each individual. So if I can’t provide the perfect program or event for moms, or those struggling with addictions, God is not limited by my limitations.
Out biggest calling is just to love any woman He puts in our paths.
In the world, we talk of “climbing the ladder of success.” Leaders in the secular world are often strong and gifted individuals, achievers who have found success or distinguished themselves in some way. Often they are self-promoters who set goals for themselves and strive to achieve them.
But we know that the Biblical measure of success in no way resembles that of the world. In fact, it is often the polar opposite. The Bible says that it is the humble who will be raised up; the true leader is a servant. Jesus–submitted, humble, serving and loving–is our role model of true leadership.
When looking for leaders in your women’s ministry, it may be tempting to look at those with natural leadership skills, articulate communicators and results-oriented achievers. But may I suggest that the first place you look is not up–at those who flaunt their gifts, demand respect and desiring a public position. Instead, look low. Find someone who is already serving your women. What woman is showing their commitment to your women by being available and humbly serving in whatever capacity needed? That is the type of leader you need!
They are all around us–the “we know a better way” folks. We all have those women who, from their vantage point, always know a “better way” to do the things we are doing. Often, their ideas and suggestions are valid, and could be helpful in the right time. But it does seem that these women are never available in the planning stages–but are more than happy to step up and offer their opinion after the ball is already rolling. You have a plan for decorations, and are busy implementing that plan…and along comes that person who knows a better way and has a better idea.
What is your response going to be? I know it’s frustrating, and it’s tempting to see their input as criticism of what your are doing. We can’t give in to the response our flesh would like to give! Instead, be kind, be graceful, be loving. A simple “we’re going to do it this way this time” should suffice, followed by an invitation to be a part of the process for the next event.
My husband has the “unfortunate” ability to predict the outcome of movies and TV shows. He is rarely surprised by a plot twist; somehow he instinctively knows who the bad guys are and what will happen before it happens. Sometimes I will ask “Have you seen this before?” His answer is “No, it just makes sense.” And normally within a few minutes, it happens just as he has predicted.
Me–I’m perfectly content not knowing ahead of time, and being surprised as the story unfolds–at least when we’re talking movies or TV.
However, when it comes to retreat or event planning, I prefer NO surprises. I appreciate being able to predict the course of events, and to plan ahead for any contingencies or unforeseen glitches. Of course, we do try to anticipate potential problems and plan for them. But there are always “plot twists” — things that come up that are totally unpredictable and out of our control. A speaker gets ill at the last minute; the venue makes a last-minute change; the equipment doesn’t work or is incompatible; a skit prop doesn’t make it to the venue; or, at the very least, you have a bad hair day… You can pretty much count on something happening.
We’ve been there many times. My advice? Remember that what we consider a “plot twist” was ultimately orchestrated by our loving Father, who is in control. Do your best and commit the rest. These “plot twists” are not a surprise to Him. Sometimes I think God allows something unpredictable so that He can work in a new way in our midst, and then He will get the glory.
This week, I read a very interesting article in the magazine we get from our homeowners’ association. What the HOA president shared can be applied to us as we put together our women’s ministry leadership team. Our HOA is run by volunteers, and it is at this time of year that they start focusing on who will be on the Board for the next year. What do they look for? In the president’s words, they look for someone at the “intersection of Willingness and Capability.” There are plenty of capable people who are not willing; there are others who are willing, but have not proven their capability. Does that sound familiar? His answer? The best place to look is at those who are already serving.
When looking for potential leaders in your women’s ministry, it may be tempting to look at those women in your church with natural leadership abilities–strong, articulate and confident. But I suggest that one of the primary things you look for is one who is serving. Find those in your women’s ministry who have been proving themselves faithful in serving and in willingly submitting to authority.
Of course, there are other important qualifications to consider–choose carefully!