Strategically Select Team Members

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

Filed Under Leadership, Teams

Four vital members that help bring balance and diversity to a women's ministry team

Does your women’s ministry team do a great job of creating excitement for events, but have difficulty managing the details involved in the planning process? Or, does your team work tirelessly on program details, such as table arrangements, food selections, and brochure designs, only to be discouraged by sporadic attendance or spotty interest? If either scenario sounds uncomfortably familiar, it is possible you lack diversity on your women’s ministry team.

We are all drawn to people who think like we do. But when you are assembling a team of women to organize and promote events, diversity is important. Be strategic as you select members for your team. Let’s consider some vital members that help bring balance and diversity to a women’s ministry team.

Vicky the Visionary helps other women visualize the great works God can accomplish through an event. Her inspirational communication style motivates the team to look beyond what has been done in the past to the realm of new, fresh ideas. Vicky is all about the “why” of an event and often acts as a cheerleader and encourager for others on the team.

Sarah the Strategizer has the God-given ability to take the vision God reveals to your team and break it down into a series of sequential, achievable steps. Working together with sisters-in-Christ to plan a God-honoring event is exciting, but that excitement can fade to complacency without a well thought-out plan. Sarah is goal oriented and helps provide the framework necessary to meet deadlines and put together a successful event.

Tammy the Team Builder has the supernatural ability to find and match up the right people with roles on a team and responsibilities related to an event. Tammy has a knack for identifying women’s gifts and talents, and seems to instinctively know how to assemble a team that can operate effectively as a mini-body of Christ.

Amy the Administrator is an organizer. She has the administrative gifting to organize people, processes, and resources associated with planning an event or program. Once she is mobilized and given clear perimeters and expectations, she will manage the details necessary to ensure the program runs smoothly.

As you pull together your next women’s ministry team (or teams), be careful not to restrict your recruiting efforts to women who think just like you do. Be strategic and keep these member-types in mind as you prayerfully assemble a diverse, dynamic team of women who will work together to plan God-honoring events for the women of your church and community.

Question: How do you strategically select team members? Share in the comments below!

Mindy FergusonMindy Ferguson is a national retreat and conference speaker who teaches God’s Word with passion and conviction. President and founder of Fruitful Word Ministries, Mindy is the author of five books, including the Eyewitness Bible Study series, published by AMG Publishers. She has served in women’s ministry leadership for 20+ years and her greatest joy is spending time with her husband and their two adult children.


Reach In to Women In the Faith

Posted July 29th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

Filed Under Planning, Relationships

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While outreach and evangelism are critical for any church ministry, let’s not forget to minister to the women whom are already in the faith and within arm’s reach. God’s Word says,

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone – especially to those in the family of faith. Galatians 6:10 NLT

As such, I have 10 thoughtful in-reach ideas for your women’s ministry:

  1. Host a work night to make frozen dinners for a sick, busy or new mom. Not only does this make a great fellowship, but it will certainly help a sister out!
  2. There is nothing more touching than receiving a “God Box.” Get your DIY skills on and fill it full of encouraging items, like a praise and worship CD and chocolates.
  3. Shower someone with cards! Ask women to send a card with a nice note and scripture to someone in need of cheer.
  4. Put together a sustenance basket. Fill it with magazines, crossword puzzles, a Bible, snacks, a roll of quarters and other items that will sustain a family while they sit with a sister at the hospital.
  5. Offer to babysit for large and foster families so the mom can get a real break. Several families can be served at one time.
  6. Hold a mini-church service at a bedridden sister’s home, complete with singing, prayer and Bible study. Include much laughter.
  7. Send care packages filled with helpful items to your collegiate girls. Provide names and phone numbers for when they need a listening ear or encouragement.
  8. Periodically host a meet and greet for some of your newer female church members to better connect with them. Consider hosting it in someone’s home for a cozy atmosphere.
  9. Pause your Bible study class or fellowship to lay hands on and pray over a woman who is either sick or overly burdened. Please bring tissue.
  10. Host a woman’s night of worship. You can bring me a casserole, send me a card or call me, but nothing ministers or refreshes me more than a corporate worship session with other women.

Remember, in-reach is just as critical to the overall health of the women’s ministry of your church as outreach.

Share With Each Other: How do you reach in to the women in your church? Leave a comment below.
GinaDuke_80pxAward-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and Director of Women’s Ministry at First Baptist Church in Portland, Tennessee. Through her book, Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray, she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. Click here to learn more about Gina’s new ebook project, Publishing Dreams.


Stay Connected Through the Summer

Posted July 22nd, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

Filed Under Resources

Let's keep ministry moving and women relating all summer long

Yesterday, I met with some of my Bible study teachers. When Megan arrived, she settled in a chair, looked at the ladies gathered around the table, and, with a sigh, announced, “I have missed being with women!” The rest of us felt the same!

Summer is a great time for families and relaxation. But, the erratic schedule and unique dynamics of the season sure puts a strain on women’s ministry and our relationships with each other.

However, as women’s ministry leaders, we can proactively work to stay connected to the women of the church and keep them in contact with each other. Then, when “normal” returns in September, we won’t have lost momentum. And, you can do it from wherever you happen to wander this summer by taking advantage of technology and social media.

Here are a few ways to continue ministry, maintain contact, and foster relationships between the women of your church during the summer:

  • Online Bible Study – Organize an online Bible study group for summer. Use a closed Facebook group for women to share insights and ask questions anytime that works for them.
  • Prayer – Organize your women into small prayer groups. Assign a leader to keep things moving. They can share requests via group texts or email.
  • “Spontaneous” Fellowship – Use your women’s ministry’s social media accounts to publicize “spontaneous” fellowship events. For example, plan a picnic at a local park for moms and their kids. Since families keep a super flexible summer schedule, don’t publicize the event in advance. Instead, blast social media with invitations the night before and the morning of the event. Keep it simple! Invite them to bring their kids and a sack lunch. The point is simply to get your women together.
  • Meet New Friends – Again, take advantage of your ministry’s social media accounts to foster relationships between the women of your church. Once or twice a week, introduce a woman and her family to the women of your church. Share a photo, hobbies, and interesting facts. The goal is to encourage the women to connect with each other and make new friends.

With a small amount of effort and the right tools, you can keep ministry moving and women relating, all summer long!

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.


Bridge the Generational Gap

Posted July 15th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

Filed Under Leadership, Mentoring, Relationships

bridging the generation gap in women's ministry is about fulfilling the Titus 2 commission

Just about every women’s ministry in the country wants to know the answer to the question, “How do I get all the different generations involved and working together?”

While there is no set answer or perfect program, I’ve learned and seen some things over the years that can increase our chances of bridging the generational gap in women’s ministry. Join me in keeping the following items in mind as you plan for the coming year:

Model It — Identify some leaders in each generational segment and spend time with them. Encourage these women to rally their peers to branch out and get involved in the work of the ministry. Discuss with them how best to inspire others their age to branch out.

Share the Vision — Paint a picture for the ladies of what ministry could and should be like if we were all working together to reach the lost world. Dream a dream with them of how each others’ strengths can build up the Kingdom in general. Take advantage of opportunities to teach women to have a ‘we’ mentality not an ‘us vs them’ mentality and to focus on the positives about the other groups. Remind ladies that it’s not about trying to turn the other generation into them — they’ve got that covered. It’s about leading them to use their unique giftedness to do what God has called them to do. It is time for the older women of the church (yes, that’s us over 40) to free the younger women up and unleash the Holy Spirit in them to do what only they can do as we do what we are called to do. Together ,we can reach so many more for the Gospel.

Provide Opportunities — Be intentional about planning. Offer fun, challenging, fulfilling events that include inter-generational interaction. This can happen in the way that you assign tables or pair people together. If you have an event where women sit at tables, then provide questions or topics for them to respond to that will embrace different ages and stages.

Celebrate — Whenever you have the chance, celebrate and tell the stories of life change that happens across generations. Try to include both perspectives and make a big deal out of the relationships that develop. You can do this type of celebration live at events and gatherings, or you can tape short videos that tell neat stories and post them to a social media page or send as an email. When women see how someone like them was blessed be reaching out across generational lines, they will be looking for ways they can get involved as well.  My husband always says it this way: “Celebrate what you want repeated.”

As you implement the ideas above, be sure to keep the end-goal in mind. The reason we aim to bridge the generation gap is to fulfill the commission given us in Titus 2. Remembering this will provide the passion and heart we need to bridge the generation gap.

Share With Each Other: If you have ideas to bridge the generation gap, leave them in the comments below!

Rachel LovingoodRachel Lovingood is a wife, mom, author and speaker. With a passion to see people dive into God’s Word, her teachings are based in the Word and lead people to experience true life-change through application of Scripture. Rachel founded Impact Resources which offers strong, Biblically-based resources for students and adults. Learn more at rachellovingood.com or find her on social media (rachellovingood).


Be a Dependent Dreamer

Posted July 8th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

Filed Under Resources

We must dream big dreams and depend on a big God.

Admittedly, I’m a dreamer. Often, I’m caught in thought – planning, wondering and imagining a variety of things. Most of the time they are ministry related. The words of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech cause my heart to beat faster, as the dreams God places inside me begin to form picturesque visions in my mind.

As a Women’s Ministry leader, I believe God wants us to be “Dependent Dreamers.” We must dream big dreams and depend on a big God.

In closing out chapter three of Ephesians, Paul pens a beautiful doxology. “Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” (Ephesians 3:20 KJV).  I like KJV here, specifically because it uses two words to talk about how God wants to supersede our dreams and expectations – exceedingly and abundantly! He doesn’t just want to add a pretty centerpiece to our women’s conferences and make sure the color schemes match, He wants to rock our ministries! The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the grave is the same power working in us and through us to lead our women’s ministries.

I’m as guilty as anyone of limiting the Lord and not giving Him enough access to my life or ministry. Could it be that we think our plans are better than His? Are we scared of what He might ask us to do? As you plan and prepare for the upcoming season of ministry, I want to encourage you to dream bigger. Let’s think outside the proverbial box and see how God shows up in exceeding and abundant ways!

Action Step: What are three dreams you would like to see fulfilled in your women’s ministry? Write them down.

Lord, You are the author of our dreams. They are birthed in the deep recesses of our hearts, created and formed by You. These dreams we write down today, we offer to you for Your glory. We know that You are able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or think or imagine or dream according to the power that works in us.

Do your thing Lord. We are depending on you! Amen.

Have you experienced God superseding your dreams in women’s ministry? We’d love to hear about your experience. Comment below to continue the conversation.

Sara RobinsonSara Robinson 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.


Listen Well

Posted July 1st, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Denise AlvarezPrint

Filed Under Leadership, Relationships

James 1:19

The other day someone was telling a story and I was so intrigued that I asked a lot of questions. The problem was not the questions but it’s the idea that my many questions – sometimes voiced mid-sentence – did not convey what I wanted. I wanted her to know I am interested in what she was saying but, instead, my questions said that I’m not listening.

I wish I could say this didn’t happen very often, but I’m realizing it does. And I also realize that good leaders, good friends and good spouses all have one thing in common – they are good listeners. Perhaps that’s why we are commanded to be “quick to listen” in James 1:19. So, I am on the journey of purposefully becoming a better listener.

Thankfully, listening is a skill that can be improved upon. Let’s consider these tips to becoming a better listener:

  • Remove Distractions: Multitasking and listening do not go well together. If you want to be a good listener, be intentional about pressing the pause button, putting all else aside and giving your full attention to the person speaking to you.
  • Hold Questions Until the End: If you are afraid you’ll forget your question, keep a pen and paper and quickly jot down your thought. If you need to do this, it’s a good idea to let the other person know up front so she isn’t surprised when you start writing while she is speaking. Of course, don’t write so much that the speaker thinks you aren’t paying attention – just a note to remind you what you wanted to ask.
  • Make Eye Contact: If you are purposefully making eye contact with the other person, then it is a little easier to be intentional about listening to what is being said.
  • Listen Objectively: This one can be extremely difficult but it’s also very key to listening well. If you allow yourself to get caught up in emotion, then you forfeit the ability to listen. Anger may cause you to lose the ability to hear anything at all because it has put up a wall. On the flip side, excitement may make your mind swirl with ideas so that you don’t hear anything else that’s being said to you.

It will take practice and intentionality, but we can all become better listeners. And, the positive effects will be felt and even seen as your team and those around you feel heard and valued.

Question: What methods help you to be a leader that listens well? Share below!

BONUS: Leave a comment and you could win a copy of A Woman’s Guide to Hearing God’s Voice. Winner will be selected randomly from comments submitted before Wednesday, July 8.

Denise-Alvarez-webDenise Alvarez serves as the Executive Director for womensministry.net, a service of Jennifer Rothschild Ministries. She is passionate about loving leaders well and equipping members of womensministry.net to be the women God is calling them to be.  Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest


Value People Over Perfection

Posted June 24th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

Filed Under Resources

WMN_Blog_June_LeadingWell

I stood in exhausted shock after the first women’s ministry event I coordinated. I was the hero of the day, and I couldn’t quite take it all in. After waving good-bye to the last gushing attendee, I looked at my friend Peggy and said, “I have no idea what to do with all of that praise.”

She smiled wickedly. “Don’t worry. The criticism is coming.”

She was right.

Within weeks I heard that there were a group of women in the church commenting negatively about my leadership. The euphoria of the past event was a fast-fading victory in the face of harsh criticism.

“This isn’t what I signed up for,” I whined to God. Things had seemed to be going so perfectly, but now I couldn’t see anything except the negative. There’s nothing that drains the joy from leadership like conflict with others.

During that time, God directed me to the book of Acts during my morning reading. It wasn’t very far into my study when I realized church leadership has been messy from the beginning. Peter and John were imprisoned, and Stephen was stoned. Peter and Paul argued over traditions. Paul and Barnabus parted ways when they couldn’t agree on ministry partners.

God makes it clear in the Bible that ministry isn’t perfect in any way, but my over-glamorizing and perfectionism has led to disappointment over and over. Worse, it’s caused friction with my team or the women I’m leading.

Relationships shatter when we value perfection over people.

Fortunately, I was ready to learn a new way of thinking when I faced being the object of gossip. Although I wanted to cling to my grudge against the women talking behind my back, a wise mentor urged me to forgive them and to pray for a renewed love for them.

She helped me to give up the hurt caused by imperfect circumstances. Once my emotions were under control, I began to put myself in their shoes. The conflict ended with a healing conversation in which I was able to let these women know that I cared about their concerns and I’d always give a listening ear if they came straight to me.

Ministry is messy, but Jesus gave just two commands that cover all the others, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10: 27 NIV)

If we’ll love God, prioritizing time to strengthen our relationship with Him, and we’ll love people by prioritizing them over our own ideas of perfection, ministry will still be hard, but it will always be worth it.

Share in the Comments: How have you learned to value people over perfection?

BONUS: Leave a comment and you could win a copy of Amy’s new book, Breaking Up With Perfect (releasing July 7, pre-orders available now). Winner will be selected randomly from comments submitted before Wednesday, July 1.

AmyCarroll_80pxAmy Carroll’s passion is leading women to deeper delight through the matchless pleasure of rich relationship with God and others. Amy is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries’ speaker team, author of Breaking Up with Perfect and the director of Next Step Speaker Services. Visit Amy at her blog to join her in a journey toward more joy.


Set Boundaries to Find Balance

Posted June 17th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

Filed Under Resources

WMN_Blog_June_BusyRace

There was a time in my life when I took pride in the fact that I could do many things at once. I remember wearing my baby in a sling around my chest while bathing my other two children, making dinner and talking to my sister on the phone. All. At. The. Same. Time. I thought I was SuperMom!

How delusional was I? I don’t know when it started but somewhere in my early adulthood I adopted the belief that I needed to be busy at all times. And that accomplishing more “things” in a day was a sign of success. So I embraced the challenge and taught myself how to multitask in an effort to win the “busy” race I had unintentionally entered.

There’s No Trophy for Winning the Busy Race

Eventually, like most women, I learned the truth. That there is no trophy for winning the “busy” race. In fact, there’s not even a finish line to cross. The multitasking woman simply feeds on her own accomplishments and continues to get busier and busier until she falls apart.

And that’s what happened to me. I eventually fell apart. Physically, spiritually and emotionally. It wasn’t pretty, but it was the wake-up call I needed to drop out of the race and find some balance in my life.

If you’re like me, then you struggle to find balance because the edges of your different worlds collide all day long. You flip flop from your role as a mom or wife or friend to your role as a speaker or ministry leader or business owner. You go back and forth all day long, changing metaphorical hats more frequently than you check your email. You multitask as a means of survival. It’s a dizzying existence. And exhausting!

What’s the solution? Set Boundaries

For me, the solution has been setting boundaries. When I create boundaries around my time I gain a little bit of control and a lot of clarity. I can’t say I’ve achieved perfect balance – in fact, I’m probably still way too busy. But I’ve developed a few habits that help keep me on track:

1. Set regular work hours. Even if they change every week, it’s important to know when you’re working and when you’re with family.

2. Identify office space. If you work from home, try to create a specific space that’s only for work. Then you can leave it behind when you walk away from the space.

3. Don’t answer work calls, texts or emails on personal time. And don’t do personal errands or make personal calls on work time.

They might sound like simple solutions but I promise they are easier said than done. And they work. I admit I still have a long way to go. But I’ve come a long way since my baby-wearing, toddler-bathing, dinner-making SuperMom days!

Leave a Comment: What boundaries help you to find balance in your personal and ministry life?

TheresaCeniccola_80pxTheresa Ceniccola is The Christian Mompreneur – a mentor to moms running a business that supports their values of faith and family. As founder of the International Christian Mompreneur Network, she empowers entrepreneurial moms to build profitable businesses with wisdom and grace. Learn more at ICMNetwork.com.


Spend Time Enjoying God

Posted June 10th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

Filed Under Leadership, Resources

WMN_Blog_June_SpendingTime

I sat across from my friend, Maggie, wondering where my attitude had gone wrong. She was a new Christian, and as she shared God’s work in her life, she bubbled over with joy. Her enthusiasm seemed to put my weariness under a microscope. At the end of our time together, we shared prayer requests. I hesitated to be vulnerable because I didn’t want to squash her zeal. Finally, I decided to confess.

“Maggie, I wish I felt the same way you do,” I said. “I’m spending time with God as I prepare to teach. I’m praying for the women around me. I’m doing His work, but I’m slap worn out. There’s no joy, and this leadership thing just doesn’t seem worth it.”

From Effective to Perfectionistic

As a leader, I’ll bet you’re wired a lot like me. You’re probably highly organized, extremely motivated, and energetic. Those are great characteristics, but the downside of those traits is perfectionism. We work. We say “yes” to everything. We sweat the details. We don’t want to burden anyone else, so we do it ourselves. Before long, we’ve fallen into the pit of perfection.

It’s so easy to cross the line from being an effective leader to being a perfectionistic leader. Although the boundary is thin, I start to realize I’ve crossed the line and fallen into the pit when the details are never quite right. When nobody else can do it as well as I can. When others become obstacles. When I’m constantly grabbing the reigns. When I feel unappreciated. That’s when exhaustion sets in and leadership just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. How do we get to this place where our good intentions have twisted into bad attitude?

That day with Maggie, she nailed the problem. My spiritually young but wise friend looked at me and asked, “When was the last time you spent time with God to just enjoy him?”

Mercy.

In our drive to do all for an audience of One, it’s easy to neglect time with the One we love.

Instead of spending time with God simply for the pleasure of knowing Him, I had only been seeking Him for the perfect completion of my projects. When we’re living in the loving, deep relationship God desires with us, leadership will have joy amidst all the challenges. It’s only when we default to our own works and perfection that we lose the power of God’s perfecting work in our ministry.

Sister in leadership, I want to encourage you today. You weren’t created to be a ministry machine, so kiss perfection good-bye and embrace the joy God has in store for you!

Share in the Comments: How does this tip resonate with you?

BONUS: Leave a comment and you could win a copy of Amy’s new book, Breaking Up With Perfect (releasing July 7, pre-orders available now). Winner will be selected randomly from comments submitted before Wednesday, June 17.

AmyCarroll_80pxAmy Carroll’s passion is leading women to deeper delight through the matchless pleasure of rich relationship with God and others. Amy is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries’ speaker team, author of Breaking Up with Perfect and the director of Next Step Speaker Services. Visit Amy at her blog to join her in a journey toward more joy.


Create a Safe Place for Women to Share Their Story

Posted June 3rd, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

Filed Under Resources

WMN_Blog_June_CreateSafePlace

Years ago, I taught my first workshop on a mended heart. Nearly 500 women had signed up for the workshop. They walked into the room chatting and laughing. On the outside they seemed to have it all together.

But after the workshop?

Many of them held crumpled tissue while others wept openly. A line formed down the aisle and around the room. One woman after another shared stories of past hurts. Some had buried them, afraid to be seen as unworthy in some way. Others had built walls that said everything was okay, when on the inside she felt a mess.

Brokenness has many faces. It might be the woman standing on the sizzling asphalt with a sign that declares to the world that she is in need. It could also be the woman sitting next to you on the pew. For each, healing often begins as they share their story.

How do we create that safe place in our ministries for women to share their story?

1. Offer Rest Over Recipes

Sometimes when we hear a woman’s story, our response is to try to fix that hurt. If you do A+ B, it’s going to equal C.

Yet most of these women have been trying to heal for a long time. They’ve tried recipes and formulas, and it didn’t equal “C.” They’re tired and feel like it’s never going to happen. Rather than recipes, offer a foundation of rest.

She can rest in His love. He came to heal (Luke 4:18-19). She can rest in the fact that she’s in a partnership with God, and He’s bigger. She rest as she stops running or hiding. God meets us right where we are.

Sure, there’s hard work ahead, but a strong foundation shifts her focus from what she has to do to what’s already been done for her on the cross.

2. Share Our Own Stories

Whether you share your own story, or invite others who once felt broken to tell theirs, she will be in a community of women who understand. The painful parts of your own story tell her that it’s okay to be honest. The Jesus parts let her know that hope and transformation is possible.

It’s okay to acknowledge that healing is a process. It’s truthful to admit that you might hit obstacles that feel impossible.

When we weep and laugh together, discovering who Jesus is in the hard places as we heal, it’s a beautiful thing.

Leave a Comment: How do you create a safe place for women to share their stories within your women’s ministry?

Suzie EllerSuzanne (Suzie) Eller is an author and speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Invite the women in your ministry to join Suzie and the Proverbs 31 Ministries team in a free five-week online Bible study beginning June 22nd over The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places. Click here to find out more.


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