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!
One of our goals in women’s ministry is to serve and build up the women of our church body. As we plan for Bible studies and others women’s events for the coming year, we try to consider women in all stages and walks of life: younger women or older women; women who are single and those who are married; career women or stay-at-home moms; women with special needs, etc. As much as possible, we want our studies and events to be all-inclusive, open and applicable to all women. To that end, last year we added two regular Saturday morning events during the year, hoping to draw in those women who are unable to join us for events taking place during the week. Also, for that reason, the same women’s Bible study is offered both morning and evening to accommodate working women and stay-at-home moms. Our prayer is that the options available would draw in women “on the fringes.”
But at a recent leadership meeting, we were encouraged with this: “Work with what you have.” Yes, we want our women’s ministry to accommodate as many women as possible. We want to be continually drawing new women, helping them get excited about the Word of God and the fellowship and accountability of studying in a group setting with other women. We need to be inviting and encouraging women to attend. However, our focus should be on those who are coming, who have already shown their desire to grow spiritually by being there.
I think of Jesus, who ministered to all who came his way. But His efforts were centered on the 12 men the Father had given Him to disciple and prepare and raise up.
If God has given you five women who consistently attend your Bible study, work with them. Teach them. Disciple them. Encourage them. Concentrate on depth of ministry, not width. Work with what you have.
What burdens you? We have family cares and worries, jobs, health issues, heavy responsibilities, even bad habits and besetting sin that weigh us down. One of the interesting things about the Christian life is what the Bible has to say about burdens. We are to cast all of our burdens on Him, because He cares for us (I Peter 5:7). If we are heavy-laden, Jesus tells us to come to Him and we’ll find rest because His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30). He wants to carry our load for us. We are told not to worry, but to pray, and He will give us peace (Philippians 4:6-7). And of course, Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us that we are to lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us so that we can run the race, unencumbered. Sounds like God wants us free of any burdens that could overwhelm us and slow our progress.
Oops! Not all burdens! There is a burden we are to carry. Galatians 6:1-2 reminds us of our responsibility toward others, to remind and restore those who do carry burdens. And then? “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” As Christian women, and in ministry, we need to be obedient in giving Him our burdens so we are able to help our sisters with their burdens.
February 2015. So…how are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions?
I have always been a resolution maker…and a resolution breaker. The word “resolution” comes from the word “resolve” which actually has something to do with finding a solution and solving a problem by deciding on a new course of action. I want to make a resolution to solve the problems of ME… and we know THAT isn’t something that I can actually accomplish, certainly not by will power, nor permanently!
So, I moved on to “prayer goals” which are a lot like resolutions except that we bring these to God asking Him to accomplish these desires in our life. Definitely a step in the right direction–realizing that I can’t solve the problem of ME in my own strength.
I’ve had decades to be convinced that I can’t accomplish transformation by my own mental fortitude and determination. So maybe it is time to die–in the Biblical way. Die to ME, die to my efforts to “self-help” and DIY.
Here is what A.W. Tozer (The Crucified Life) said: “The crucified life is a life absolutely committed to following after Christ Jesus. To be more like Him. To think like Him. To act like Him. To love like Him. The whole essence of spiritual perfection has everything to do with Jesus Christ. Not with rules and regulations. Not with how we dress or what we do or do not do. We are not to look like each other; rather, we are to look like Christ.”
Important for all of us, leaders or not!
I was planning to write a blog concerning specific ways we can show our women that we care about them. I still may do that. But I heard this song (from a 1980’s sitcom) again this week, and I think the lyrics hit the nail on the head as far as “step one” in caring for our women.
You may recognize these familiar lyrics:
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name…
And they’re always glad you came…
You wanna be where you can see your troubles are all the same…
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.”
I think that song writer was onto something! Maybe the very first way that we can show our women that we care is by learning their name….and letting them know that we are glad they came…and being open and honest so they know that they are not alone in their struggles.
How can we create that caring atmosphere in our women’s ministries? I know we all want it–we want everyone to feel welcomed and comfortable in a safe environment that encourages open sharing. I think it has to start in our leadership and trickle down from there. We as leaders need to do what it takes to learn names and go out of our way to welcome people. We need to be open and honest about our daily walk and daily struggles and temptations so that we can all come to the foot of the cross together in weakness and humility.