Pray for Your Event Speaker

Posted March 25th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

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I was nearing the end of the message when I felt the first tickle. I cleared my throat and continued. But the tickle grew more persistent. Someone handed me a glass of water, but the need to cough grew stronger. While a volunteer read a Bible passage, I turned to the wall, hacking loudly behind my hand and praying fervently the coughing fit would quickly end.

The speaker you have scheduled for your next women’s conference or retreat desperately needs your prayers – before and during the event. She may have spiritual struggles, family issues, deadlines – or allergies!

We all know prayer is vital, but we often allow the busyness of those last days of event planning to distract us from the event’s primary purpose – the spiritual growth and encouragement of your women. Dozens of details press in and each day we tell ourselves we will “pray later.”

Be purposeful in praying for your speaker. Put it on your to-do list. Ask your team to join you in prayer and help them know how to pray for her.

Devote Yourselves to Prayer

Here are six specific ways you can pray for your speaker and her ministry to your women:

Message Preparation – You want the message she gives to touch hearts and meet the needs of women. Pray God gives her wisdom and discernment as she studies and prepares. (Colossians 1:19)

Physical Needs – Pray for your speaker’s health, relationships, travel safety and even her technology tools. Every area of her life can impact her ministry. (Romans 1:9-13)

Spiritual Protection – The enemy does not want your speaker’s message to be powerful and effective. Pray that God will “protect her from the evil one.” (John 17:15)

Spiritual Growth – Your speaker is still growing spiritually. Pray she will grow in her knowledge of God and live a life that pleases Him. (Ephesians 3:14-19; Colossians 1:10-11)

Message Delivery –Life isn’t left behind when your speaker approaches the front of the room. She may be dealing with a scratchy throat, a rebellious teenager or a packed schedule. Pray she can deliver God’s message with clarity, boldness and grace. (Colossians 4:4-6, Ephesians 6:19)

Message Effectiveness – This is the end game! Pray her message will hit its mark and bear much spiritual fruit. (Colossians 1:10)

Don’t forget to let your speaker know you’re praying for her. It’s great encouragement.

Question: How are you purposeful in praying for your ministry’s event speaker(s)?

BONUS: Leave a comment and you could win Kathy’s book, Unshakeable Faith. Winner will be selected randomly from comments submitted before Wednesday, April 1.

Kathy HowardKathy Howard is a women’s ministry leader in Houston, Texas. She is also a speaker and the author of six books, including Unshakeable Faith and Embraced by Holiness. You can find her blog and free discipleship resources at kathyhoward.org.


Form a 911 Prayer Team

Posted March 18th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

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Turmoil surged. Tears poured. Confusion erupted. Negative thoughts bombarded my mind. I felt like I was in a war zone. Dropping to the floor, I cried out for God’s strength and protection from this oppression.

God, there is no way I can speak at this women’s retreat! I am too weak. How can you use me if I feel this way? I just want to crawl into a hole.

All of a sudden, Psalm 91:1 pops into my head: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Opening my Bible, I decided to read all of Psalm 91. In seconds, I found myself praising God for allowing me to suffer through this mental chaos and utter confusion. My weakness opened the door to a fresh experience with Jesus. That evening, as I walked onto the stage, Jesus strengthened me from head to toe in the shadow of the Almighty. He gets all the glory!

The next day I shared my experience with one of my close friends. With a gentle answer, she said, “Carla, when this happens to you, call or text me so I can pray for you!” I told her I didn’t realize what was happening at the time, but agreed to call or text her if it happened again.

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This conversation lingered in my mind. Later that evening, I read Psalm 91 again. I focused on Psalm 91:1 and to my surprise this is what I saw: 911. My heart leaped with excitement! Thoughts ignited. The next time I experience one of these spiritual warfare attacks I need to text PRAY 911 to my prayer team! I jumped up and started praising God for how He works in and through our situations.

I challenge each of you to use this same method. Ask God to raise up an emergency prayer team, so that in the midst of a difficult situation, circumstance, or spiritual attack, you can text PRAY 911. They don’t have to know the details, God knows it all. He gives us the opportunity to participate in eternity here on earth through prayer. Standing in the gap for one another is a two-way blessing. Share this new idea with others. And, as God leads you to form or join a PRAY 911 team, don’t hesitate to live sold out for Him and pray for others.

Question: Do you have a team in place to pray for your women’s ministry?

BONUS: Leave a comment and you could win Carla’s award-winning book, My Prayer Chair (available in English, Spanish or audio). Winner will be selected randomly from comments submitted before Wednesday, March 25.

CarlaMcDougal-80pxAward-winning author and speaker, Carla McDougal, founder of Reflective Life Ministries, has a passion for encouraging women to live every day for Jesus. As a former women’s ministry director in the Houston, TX area, Carla understands first-hand the demands, obligations and responsibilities involved in ministry. Her real life experiences motivate women to discover God’s hand on their lives.  FacebookTwitterBlog


Be Purposeful to Remember Names

Posted March 11th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Denise AlvarezPrint

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Gary remembered my name. He was a member of an association I served and, from the first time we met, he remembered me. He was purposeful to use my name in conversation each time we spoke and I always walked away feeling like he cared, not just about the information I had or my position at the association but about me. When I left my position there, Gary was one of the people I called to bid farewell to because, over time, he had shown a sincere interest in me and even my family. And it all started with remembering my name.

Remembering a person’s name demonstrates sincere care and interest. As a women’s ministry leader, remembering a woman’s name means you are letting her know you care about her as an individual, as a child of God. And with the impetus of caring, you are opening the door for her to be in relationship with you and the women within your church or ministry.

Remembering a Persons Name Demonstrates Sincere Care and Interest

Since it is so important, we should all be able to just decide to do it and that’s that, right? Ha, not for most of us! It seems that the majority of people don’t have a natural knack for remembering someone’s name, not to mention that oftentimes kids or husbands or menopause seem to steal what little ability we once had. But that doesn’t mean we are beyond help. Here are a few common tips for remembering names:

1. Repeat her name back to her. For example, “It’s great to meet you, Debbie.”

2. Silently repeat it to yourself. Repetition is one of the best memory tools we have.

3. Comment on the name, if possible. Perhaps it’s the name of your hairdresser. Making that connection out loud will help you to remember it.

4. Use it occasionally in the conversation. For example, place her name at the end of a question directed to her.

5. Write it down after exiting the conversation. Make a note in your phone or notebook and include specific notes about the conversation or other identifiers such as “Mary’s sister” or “grew up in Hartford.”

You may be serving at a church that has thousands of women or perhaps you have less than 100. Either way, as a leader in women’s ministry, you will come into contact with women you do not know on a regular basis. My encouragement and “tip” for you this week is to be purposeful to remember her name and call her by name the next time you see her. Your care will be a reflection of the care our Heavenly Father has for her.

Question: What methods do you employ to remember names?


Don’t Say Yes to Everything

Posted March 4th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

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As I was driving to my next appointment, I found myself fantasizing about being in the hospital. Yup. As the patient. In a bed. With no responsibilities. “Then I could take some time off of work,” I thought.

Whoa. Did I actually reach the point of thinking being in a hospital was the only way out from under this work load? That was sick. I was sick. Sick with burnout. How had I let it get this bad?

As a women’s ministry leader, the answers are actually obvious to me. I let it get out of hand because:
1) I love my job and want to do it well
2) I am doing this all for God and can’t let Him down, and
3) As a general personality flaw, I can’t say no.

I know intuitively this burnout isn’t healthy. I can recognize it in others almost immediately and show them love and grace as I teach them to say, “No.” But I can’t seem to do it myself. The result is a watered-down, halfway ministry that doesn’t fully bless anyone.

Its Ok to Say No
So I need to take some of my own advice:

It’s okay to say NO. In fact, by saying no, you may open the door for someone else to say yes. And even if no one else says yes, the world will still turn the next day.

Taking care of yourself is NOT selfish. Getting a manicure, reading a book, enjoying a movie, time with friends – those can be valuable, important times of refreshing your soul. You will be better at everything if you are refreshed.

God does NOT want you exhausted. We are under the impression that God will say no for us. God promises to love us, not to manage our schedules.

Saying no is NOT weak. In fact, as I practice it more and more, I hear, “I love how you can say no and be okay with it. I wish I could do that.” Saying no isn’t a sign of weakness.

A friend of mine has a list she keeps of things she doesn’t do. I am going to start one and the top of my list will be, “I don’t say yes to everything.” I can find much better and more fulfilling ways to rest than being forced into a hospital bed. I’m actually looking forward to saying no.

Question: How have you mastered saying no? Share in the comments below!

Anne WatsonAnne Watson is Women’s Ministry Director at Preston Trail Community Church. As a former perfectionist and sleep-in-on-Sundays girl, Anne is passionate about helping women bury the bodies of their past experiences to step forward into the future God has for them.


Thank Volunteers in Personal Ways

Posted February 25th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Denise AlvarezPrint

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Whether your ministry is planning events, leading Bible studies or putting together a community outreach, my guess is you aren’t doing it alone. Hopefully, you have a team of people working together to accomplish what God has put before you to do. And, hopefully, you are taking time to thank your volunteer team for all they do!

While saying thanks is a must, this week’s tip is to go one step further and thank your volunteers in personal and meaningful ways. By making it personal, you are showing an extra measure of care for your volunteers. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Handwritten Cards – Sending handwritten cards has become a lost art. Take an afternoon to sit down and write a card to volunteers to specifically thank them for their contributions of time and talent. The key here is be specific about what they have done and how it has blessed you and others. That’s what makes it personal!

Coffee or Tea – Maybe you buy a cute mug and fill it with her favorite blend of coffee or tea. Or, maybe this means you invite her to get coffee or tea with you. Taking time out of your day to just chat over your beverage of choice and share how her gift of time has blessed you is a great way to say thanks.

Favorite Snack – If you know a volunteer loves Oreos, get her a package and personally deliver it as a gesture of thanks. She’ll be touched that you remembered such a detail.

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If you’re at a church that utilizes 50 to 100+ volunteers to plan events, I realize you aren’t able to thank each one in a personal way. This is where the key of leadership comes in – you thank your team leads who thank the individuals on their team.

For example, if your volunteers are divided into teams such as host, check-in, planning, day care, etc. and each of those teams has a team leader, you should thank those team leaders in a personal and meaningful way. Then, encourage them to be thanking those individuals on their team in personal and meaningful ways. Isn’t training others to reach their own God-given leadership potential what being in leadership is all about?

What are some of your favorite ways to personally thank to volunteers?


Let God Be the Puzzle Maker

Posted February 18th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

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Round puzzles. Square puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles. Crossword puzzles. Heart puzzles.

All puzzles have one thing in common – the pieces fit together to complete the whole. With one segment removed, it distorts the full picture. Just as a missing link weakens the chain, an omitted puzzle piece alters the final image. Yet a puzzle with all the pieces connected perfectly can make a beautiful picture.

This real-life puzzle analogy reminds me of life as a ministry leader. Let’s do a simple comparison:

The Misplaced Piece – Sometime we, as the connected pieces, try to fit others into ministry positions rather than allowing God to create and finish His Kingdom Puzzle. The result – disunity and disarray.

The Lone Piece – Sometimes we try to mold ourselves into positions. We end up forcing it to work rather than allowing God to fit us into His Kingdom Puzzle. The result – confusion rather than harmony.

The Takeover – Trying to fit our puzzle piece into “all” the positions distorts His Kingdom Puzzle. The result – exhaustion.

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Beautifully designed to accomplish His purposes, God’s Kingdom Puzzle is best created by Him, for Him. His beautiful mosaics form an exquisite panorama of His glory.

Take a moment to reflect on this truth in light of your role in ministry. Are you letting God be the Puzzle Maker? Do you find yourself trying to fit into places God hasn’t designed for you? Or, are you trying to force others into His Kingdom Puzzle and fit positions they weren’t created to accomplish? Ask God to show you His plan and purpose for you as you serve Him. Remember, He is the ultimate puzzle maker. His designs bring perfection and completion.

From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16

How are you doing at letting God be the Puzzle Maker?

BONUS: Leave a comment and you could win Ribbons of Rainbows, a new children’s book by Reflective Life Ministries, along with their Reflecting Him Bible study. Winner will be selected randomly from comments submitted before Wednesday, February 25.

CarlaMcDougal-80pxAward-winning author and speaker, Carla McDougal, founder of Reflective Life Ministries, has a passion for encouraging women to live every day for Jesus. As a former women’s ministry director in the Houston, TX area, Carla understands first-hand the demands, obligations and responsibilities involved in ministry. Her real life experiences motivate women to discover God’s hand on their lives.  FacebookTwitterBlog


Become a Tower Builder

Posted February 11th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

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When my son was a toddler, one of his favorite games involved building towers of wooden blocks so he could knock them down. He had a certain proclivity for a specific type of tower – those built on the foundation of one, single block. As I would pile blocks on top of the other, only a few would make the stack before it would become unstable. I would then begin to show him how to build a sturdier tower, with a larger number of blocks across the base. These towers provided stability for the upper blocks as I stacked them. When he tried to knock these down, one single blow of his arm didn’t crush my structure.

As a leader, if you’re looking for long-term stability and sustainability in your women’s ministry, become a great tower builder. Put intentional thought into your structure, especially your base. You can do some truly amazing things as God works through you individually. However, as your ministry grows, you will discover that one person, no matter how talented, can only do so much. If you build a leadership team that helps support your vision, you establish a long-term, successful ministry.

As you pray for God’s guidance in putting together a leadership team, here are some questions you should consider:

1. What are the areas of women’s ministry for which I need leaders? (Events, Discipleship, Mission Projects, etc.)

2. What (spiritual) gifts and talents will assist me where I’m not strong as a leader?

3. Who in my church can help me build a multi-generational ministry?

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In Psalm 61:3, David writes of the Lord, “For You have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy.” (ESV) Throughout the Bible, towers provide a place to defend against enemies, and often a place of refuge and safety. Make no mistake about it – our women’s ministries are vulnerable to the same types of attacks. Satan wants to take us down! One of the wisest decisions you can make as a leader is to establish a strong leadership team that will provide a band of defense against Satan’s attacks as well as a place of refuge and support system for you.

Pray about who the Lord might have join your team, as you continue reaching women for Jesus in your church and community. We are better together!

What challenges do you face in building a ministry leadership team?

SaraRobinsonSara Robinson is Director of Women’s Ministries at First Baptist Church Somerset, Kentucky. She was drastically changed through her encounter with Jesus, and now passionately leads women on their personal journey of faith in Christ. Sara is a wife to her very own Dr. Phil, mom to a miracle child, coffee enthusiast and lover of shoes, accessories and all things Sephora.


Keep a Samples Folder

Posted February 4th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Denise AlvarezPrint

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It’s time to plan the design materials and theme for your next ministry event, or maybe even for the ministry as a whole. Where do you turn for ideas and inspiration? Pinterest, maybe? While I love Pinterest, I also value having a hard copy of materials. There is something to be said about feeling the paper between your fingers and viewing the colors up close and personal. Therefore, this week’s tip is to keep a samples folder nearby to turn to when you need inspiration.

Where do you find samples?

All types of samples likely come across your desk or in your mailbox on a regular basis. You just don’t see them as a sample yet. Before you toss a flyer or advertisement in the trash, get in the habit of asking yourself a few questions:

  • Do I like the color scheme?
  • Is there a font being used that catches my eye?
  • Is the information organized in an easy-to-read fashion?
  • Does this piece deliver a message effectively?

If the answer to any of these questions is a yes, then put it in your sample folder.

Another way to gather samples is to be on the lookout when you are out and about. Maybe it’s a restaurant to-go menu or a flier at your favorite coffee shop. When you visit another church, go to their information center to see how their ministries present their information. When you start looking, you’ll be sticking samples in your purse on a regular basis.

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Now, what?

Once you have a good stash of samples, it’s a great idea to put together a system of organizing your samples. This will help when you’re looking for a sample registration form instead of a sample poster layout. Some common categories could include color schemes, event posters, registration forms, Bible Study, fonts, papers and then a miscellaneous for those items that you love but don’t fit into a specific category.

Before you know it, you’ll have a file full of organized samples to inspire you at just the right moment. And the next time you are looking for that perfect color scheme or font, you’ll be ready!

What’s your favorite way to find color and design inspiration for ministry materials?


Coach Well

Posted January 28th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Susan LawrencePrint

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Partnering in ministry is essential. Our ministry team can look like the Bad News Bears because of
disorganization and untapped talents and gifts. With a basic playbook, you can become a better coach
and help others become better coaches (and players), too.
1. Set high expectations. We shy away from putting “too much” on our volunteers, but people want to
be part of something significant. They want to know what they’re doing matters.
2. Know your players. Coaching is more than standing on the sidelines and yelling instructions to the
players. A good coach knows the players’ strengths, weaknesses, and struggles in order to help everyone
work well together.
3. Avoid comparisons. Comparisons lead to feelings of inadequacy and superiority. Build up the team
as a whole but also encourage and challenge individuals, appreciating them for their uniqueness and
equipping them to grow into their capabilities.
4. Be authentic. Let people know you, including mistakes and struggles. People aren’t looking for perfect
leaders, because they can’t personally relate or measure up to perfection.
5. Ask for input. Gather ideas and feedback from the people you coach. Give them the opportunity to
invest in the team.
6. Plan ahead. There’s a lot of planning and preparing that goes into a game, but the game is a fraction
of the time spent together as a team. Grow through the ups and downs of the planning process instead
of focusing on the outcome.
7. Take the lead. Be the leader you want each of your team members to be. Model healthy
confrontation, initiative, and humility.
8. Appreciate effort. Look past the “success” or “failure” and acknowledge people’s efforts. People
often put in the same amount of time in both situations, regardless of the outcome.
9. Choose words well. Replace “I don’t think…” and “You shouldn’t…” with “What if we tried to…,”
“Maybe you could…,” or “Another option might be…” Negatives put people on the defensive. Your goal
is to work alongside people.
10. Celebrate. Remember trips to the ice cream shop or pizza place after the game, whether you won or
lost? Celebrations can be simple and occasional. If you celebrate too often, it’s not as special. Surprise
your team!
[CALL TO ACTION] Who are you coaching, and who is coaching you? Give and receive well today!

Partnering in ministry is essential. But sometimes our ministry team can look like the The Bad News Bears because of disorganization and untapped talents and gifts. That’s why this week’s tip is to coach your team well. We’ve even provided a few practical ways to coach well below. With a basic playbook, you can become a better coach and help others become better coaches (and players), too.

1. Set high expectations. We shy away from putting “too much” on our volunteers, but people want to be part of something significant. They want to know what they’re doing matters.

2. Know your players. Coaching is more than standing on the sidelines and yelling instructions to the players. A good coach knows the players’ strengths, weaknesses, and struggles in order to help everyone work well together.

3. Avoid comparisons. Comparisons lead to feelings of inadequacy and superiority. Build up the team as a whole but also encourage and challenge individuals, appreciating them for their uniqueness and equipping them to grow into their capabilities.

4. Be authentic. Let people know you, including mistakes and struggles. People aren’t looking for perfect leaders, because they can’t personally relate or measure up to perfection.

5. Ask for input. Gather ideas and feedback from the people you coach. Give them the opportunity to invest in the team.

6. Plan ahead. There’s a lot of planning and preparing that goes into a game, but the game is a fraction of the time spent together as a team. Grow through the ups and downs of the planning process instead of focusing on the outcome.

7. Take the lead. Be the leader you want each of your team members to be. Model healthy confrontation, initiative, and humility.

Become a Better Coach_womensminstry.net blog8. Appreciate effort. Look past the “success” or “failure” and acknowledge people’s efforts. People often put in the same amount of time in both situations, regardless of the outcome.

9. Choose words well. Replace “I don’t think…” and “You shouldn’t…” with “What if we tried to…,” “Maybe you could…,” or “Another option might be…” Negatives put people on the defensive. Your goal is to work alongside people.

10. Celebrate. Remember trips to the ice cream shop or pizza place after the game, whether you won or lost? Celebrations can be simple and occasional. If you celebrate too often, it’s not as special. Surprise your team!

What are some of your favorite ways to be a great coach for your leadership team? Share in the comments below!


Watch for Warning Signs of Burnout

Posted January 21st, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Susan LawrencePrint

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The time and energy ministry takes can infect your family and friends or result in burnout and
resentment. Watch for warning signs that ministry danger is ahead.
Living in a Bubble
Living in a bubble might seem like a good, safe way to do ministry, locking some things in and other
things out, but what about the things God wants to flow in and out of your life? Putting yourself in a
bubble is a control issue. Giving your life to ministry is about giving up control. God gives you choices,
but choices and control are two different things. Control might give you a false sense of security, which
might feel better than vulnerability. Only God can give true security. Vulnerability isn’t a bad thing in
your relationship with Him. It makes you more sensitive so you can anticipate what He can and will do as
He uses you for His work.
Over-Spiritualizing Everything
You notice lessons and purpose in just about everything, and you want to share the challenge and
application with others. Why wouldn’t everyone around you want to hear your insights? Just because
God encourages and challenges you in everyday situations doesn’t mean the lessons He has for you are
the best fit and timing for everyone around you. Thinking you have to teach, share, and apply everything
is an attempt at control. Let God decide the critical timing of lessons and choices in others’ lives. You
have a choice, too. When you choose to listen well, you will know when to stand up, sit down, speak up,
and shut up.
Is It Worth the Cost?
Jesus taught on the importance of counting the costs of giving our lives to Him. When we count the
costs of ministry, we often think of time, effort, organization, resources, and teaching. What about
the things that aren’t quite as easy to count—our pride, preferences, comfort, control, understanding,
agenda, and goals? What are you hanging onto? When you identify it, you will find your stumbling block.
Jesus doesn’t ask you to give your life to ministry. He asks you to give your life to Him. Ministry simply
comes out of the life you live for Him.

The time and energy ministry takes can infect your family and friends or it can result in burnout and resentment. That’s why this week we’re encouraging you to watch for warning signs that ministry danger is ahead. Specifically, watch out for these three common warning signs:

Living in a Bubble

Living in a bubble might seem like a good, safe way to do ministry, locking some things in and other things out, but what about the things God wants to flow in and out of your life? Putting yourself in a bubble is a control issue. Giving your life to ministry is about giving up control. God gives you choices, but choices and control are two different things. Control might give you a false sense of security, which may feel better than vulnerability. Only God can give true security. Vulnerability isn’t a bad thing in your relationship with Him. It makes you more sensitive so you can anticipate what He can and will do as He uses you for His work.

Over-Spiritualizing Everything

You notice lessons and purpose in just about everything, and you want to share the challenge and application with others. Why wouldn’t everyone around you want to hear your insights? Just because God encourages and challenges you in everyday situations doesn’t mean the lessons He has for you are the best fit and timing for everyone around you. Thinking you have to teach, share, and apply everything is another attempt at control. Let God decide the critical timing of lessons and choices in others’ lives. When you choose to listen well, you will know when to stand up, sit down, speak up, and shut up.

Letting Pride Get in the Way

Jesus taught on the importance of counting the costs of giving our lives to Him. When we count the costs of ministry, we often think of time, effort, organization, resources, and teaching. What about the things that aren’t quite as easy to count — our pride, preferences, comfort, control, understanding, agenda, and goals? What are you hanging onto? When you identify it, you will find your stumbling block and help keep yourself from experiencing ministry burnout.

LifeToHim_womensmnistry.net blog

Remember, Jesus doesn’t ask you to give your life to ministry. He asks you to give your life to Him. Ministry simply comes out of the life you live for Him.

How do you protect yourself from burnout in ministry? Leave a comment below!


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