Help Women Understand the Men in Their Lives

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

Filed Under Relationships

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A women’s ministry leader once told me, “With a woman, if something is unsettled in her marriage or dating relationship, it’s like nothing is right with the world until that is resolved.” Whether it’s a single woman wondering why her latest date won’t call her back or a woman married fifty years, we are relational creatures. It is so hard to thrive in life, if we’re not thriving in relationships!

So, how do you help women thrive in relationship with their spouse?

In more than thirteen years of research, I’ve found one secret that can make all the difference: help women understand a few key things about men.

For women, everything can change when we learn a few simple, eye-opening truths about the way men think and feel. If we can help women “see” just a few of those things, and apply them, it is amazing how much more they can enjoy their relationships.

Here’s an example you can use to help the women you lead understand the men in their life:

Men look confident but secretly have more self-doubt and vulnerability than we realize. He most wants to be good at what he does and to know that his spouse thinks he is good at what he does. Feeling appreciated is like oxygen to a man. Yet at the same time, a man’s most private question is, “Am I any good as a husband, a father, a businessman? Am I adequate? Do I measure up?” And every day, he looks to the woman in his life for clues to the answer to that question.

How do you take this simple truth and help the woman who comes to you apply it in her life?

Ask her to consider how she speaks to him. For example, a simple question such as, ‘Why did you let the kids stay up so late on a school night?’ can actually imply, ‘I think you’re incompetent, you do not measure up as a father, get out of my way.’ Remind her that he likely deeply wants to be a great dad – but also doubts his ability to be one. And now, in his mind, she just confirmed he’s incompetent, so it will be a whole lot better next time not to try.

Yes, according to research, that is truly how men think. All the time.

Help her to rethink her choice of words and tone. For example, to say, “Thanks so much for taking the kids while I went to my women’s Bible study but help me understand: you know it’s a school night, did you want some more ‘dad time’ with them? What was going on?”

And there is even another possible way for her to respond: Just say, “Thanks” and don’t ask the question at all! Encourage her to choose to trust that he is capable but may just have different judgment from her – and that is okay. It is so hard for us to let go enough to do that, but it frees a man up to be a dad the way he desires to be, the way God has called him to be.

Tell the women you minister to, the vast majority of married men (more than 99% on my surveys) deeply care about their wives. He wants to be the man his wife needs. A dating relationship is a bit different, but among the single men in my research it was clear a man is looking for a woman who will be safe with his tender heart, and can believe in him despite his inevitable mistakes. Tell your women to choose to believe in her man and watch him become so.

Question: How can you help women apply this simple truth in their relationships?

Shaunti_Feldhahn_80pxShaunti Feldhahn is the best-selling author of research-based books about men, women and relationships, including For Women Only, For Men Only and The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages. A Harvard-trained social researcher and popular speaker, her findings are regularly featured in media as diverse as The Today Show, Focus on the Family and the New York Times. Visit shaunti.com for more.


Become a Balanced Leader

Posted April 8th, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Jennifer RothschildPrint

Filed Under Resources

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Would you describe yourself as balanced? Okay, hold down the laughter!

I could write a book called Totally Stressed and How I Achieved it While Seeking Balance! I’m sure not balanced enough to write a book about balance, but I know someone who is. In fact, He summed up the three things we need for balance in a single sentence in His book. You guessed it! The someone is God, and the book is the Bible. And the verse is Micah 6:8. In it, God says…

Do justly.

To do justly, we implement rightness toward our family, ministry and ourselves as we fill in the blank spaces on our calendars. Sometimes it means we say, “No,” so we can say, “Yes,” to our God and our families. To “do” justly also means we DO something rather than shrinking away from the ever present challenges and demands of life. We use our limited time and resources reasonably because we know that it is God who gives us these things. When we do, we acknowledge that His gifts are indeed good.

Love mercy.

This pulls our hearts in. Mercy mandates forgiveness and forbearance. When we love mercy, we lose rigidity and celebrate the good news that none of us has received what our sin really deserves. Loving mercy helps us not obsess over a perfect house or a perfect ministry. It helps us stay flexible with our time and clarifies our priorities. Loving mercy protects us from the tendency to be legalistic and militant in the way we do life and ministry.

Walk humbly with God.

This is the best part because we simply position ourselves for an intimate journey with God. We don’t run ahead with our agenda and commitments but rather walk with Him as a sincere follower with a modest mind-set. To walk humbly is to be unimpressed with our titles, accomplishments and even our burdens.

God is The Balanced Leader.

When we follow Him, He leads us to imitate Him. We are at our most imbalanced when we are the most prideful. Pride makes us impatient, rigid and forgetful of our deep need for God. Those who truly walk humbly with their God can’t help but do justly and love mercy and become the balanced leaders God uses.

Let’s keep God’s standard and God’s pace so we can be balanced leaders!

Question: How do you maintain balance as a leader in ministry?

Jennifer RothschildJennifer Rothschild is a best-selling author and Bible study teacher and founder of womensministry.net. She speaks across the globe sharing inspiring, relevant, and practical messages that empower women to live beyond limits. Learn more at jenniferrothschild.com and freshgroundedfaith.com.  Facebook Twitter Blog


Embrace Different Nationalities in Your Ministry

Posted April 1st, 2015 @ 5:00 AM by Guest ContributorPrint

Filed Under Resources

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Do you have different nationalities represented within your ministry or community? This week I’d like to encourage you to embrace the different nationalities and give your women the chance to share about their heritage.

Recently, we did this at our church by creating a “Trip Around the World” event and it was well attended and enjoyed by all. We have a large international community but, if your church is not ethnically diverse, you could partner with other local churches or have women within your church sign up to study and represent different countries or regions.

Our “Trip Around the World” had many elements that helped make it an international experience for our women. As you know, event themes can be a hit and a great starting point for the direction of your event. Here’s how we made our event unique to our women:

Greeting – Customized passports which were dated the day of the event were created for each attendee. As each person entered the event, the passport was stamped with our church stamp.

Food – We encouraged the women to bring a dish or two that was native to their country of origin. If you have a large church, you could consider having them serve desserts or appetizers as it may be cost-prohibitive to ask your women to cook for 200 people.

Decor – Memorabilia such as pins, flags and souvenirs from each of our own countries of origin were placed around the event space and added to the experience for the attendees.

Connection – We had a time for sharing about their heritage and many women told stories from their past and funny things that they did as children while they were growing up. Some sang funny songs and a couple of people did quick skits. It was a great opportunity for us to connect with one another and learn something new.

As with any event, be sure to keep your purpose top of mind. This can be a great outreach opportunity or even a meaningful way to create connections among the women in your church. Either way, it’s important for us to always remember that our purpose is to help women to know God in a deep and meaningful way. This event theme is a great opportunity to remind your attendees of how God has created each one of us differently and given each unique experiences that He will use for His glory.

Question: How do you embrace different nationalities represented in your ministry?

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Melderine James-Gayle is Women’s Ministry Leader and serves on the
Board of Directors at Victory World Impact Ministries in Scarborough,
Ontario, Canada.


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

Filed Under Resources

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.


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