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.
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?
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.
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.
Award-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. Facebook | Twitter | Blog
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?
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?
Sara 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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
What are some of your favorite ways to be a great coach for your leadership team? Share in the comments below!
Filed Under Resources
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.
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.
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!
Filed Under Resources
As you know, intentional time spent with one woman can create a quiet yet far-reaching ripple effect. Therefore, this week’s tip is to take time to connect and invest in someone’s life today. Here are a few ideas to help you apply this tip in your life:
1. Cook together. Grocery shop together. Share tips while in the kitchen. Enjoy the meal together or make enough to take home to both families. Even clean-up will be more fun together!
2. Make a standing date. Set a biweekly or monthly date. Swap planning responsibilities for variety or grab coffee and a snack at the same restaurant every time. You’ll soon anticipate your regular time together.
3. Give mom a break. Offer to hang out with a young mom on a regular basis so she can get things done around the house while you occupy the children. Your willingness to spend time investing in her children will pour encouragement into her.
4. Serve together. Find a way you can help someone you both know or serve a community agency.
5. Work out together. Try a new exercise class together or hold each other accountable by expecting to see each other at a weekly class. Meet at the local gym for regular workouts or enjoy early morning strolls together.
6. Swap support. Find out what projects others are working on and lend your support. Ask for help so others are comfortable asking you, too. As you support each other, you share the weight of responsibilities while also getting to know each other.
7. Gather a group together. Get together with additional people so you avoid isolating yourselves. Attend an event or study with other women or host friends for coffee and dessert.
8. Organize photos together. As you categorize photos into years, family members, or projects, you’ll get closer to each other as you share memories.
9. Learn from each other. If you want to know how to create an event or share someone’s photos on Facebook, just ask. If you want to gather ideas for closet organization or landscaping, just ask. If neither of you knows the answer, search for it together.
10. Remind each other. Serve as sticky notes for each other, extending accountability by following up when someone shares plans for an apology, organization, service, and so on. As you touch base with each other on a regular basis, you’ll stick together through struggles and triumphs.
Do you have additional ways you like to intentionally connect with other women? Share them in the comments below!
Welcome to the womensministry.net blog and the new home of the Tip of the Week by womensministry.net. If you’re receiving this via email it’s because you are a subscriber to our Tip of the Week email. You’ll still receive a tip each Wednesday in your inbox along with a link to a coordinating womensministry.net member-only resource.
As you can see, we have a fresh new look for Tip of the Week and for womensministry.net. It’s a work in progress so you’ll find more updates on our website, blog and Directory of Gifted Communicators in the coming weeks. We’d love to hear your feedback! Email denise(at)womensministry.net and let me know what you think. In the meantime, enjoy our first tip for 2015 below!
Denise Alvarez, womensministry.net Executive Director
Simplify One Step at a Time
It’s officially the new year, that time when we often resolve to do things different, then feel like we fail when our determination falters. The same thing happens in ministry. We dream big, then get frustrated when reality disappoints us. Don’t despair! This week’s tip is to simplify using these simple steps. By simplifying you are much more likely to meet your ministry goals for the new year.
Step One: Declutter
Big dreams are fun, and it’s important to imagine what God might be doing in our ministries. However, when we begin to put them into action, all the details are too much to handle. Ask yourself: What is the “one thing” that is non-negotiable about this ministry? Determine one thing that will grow that area or meet that need. God might spur you to develop a new program or to change something that is existing.
Step Two: Pray
Give it to God. When you start to take control, give it to Him again. Control and responsibility are two things that often get twisted together. God has given you the responsibility to lead, but part of that responsibility involves following Him. He’s the one with the best perspective and all the power. You might not understand or be completely comfortable with what He’s guiding you into, but you’ll grow through humble obedience.
Step Three: Invite
Ask others to get involved. Start with one person. She might say “no,” but don’t get discouraged. God intends for us to live life, including ministry, alongside others. Avoid making it about “them” walking alongside you. Become a “we.” What others have to offer you and the ministry is just as important as what you haveto offer. If you’re already surrounded by a great team, reach beyond it. Even when teams are great for a season, we need to consistently grow.
These three basic steps might seem like no-brainers. You might say, “Been there, done that. Give me a better idea.” But back-to-the-basics might be just what you need to get started in 2015!
How do you prepare your ministry for the new year? Leave a comment below!
Filed Under Resources
If you’re on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen an abundance of photos with text overlaid on top. You’ll oftentimes see Scripture and quotes written on top of a photo. Within the past couple of years, this process for sharing text has become more and more prominent… because we’re visual people! See a view examples below.
But, why is this important for those of us serving in ministry? Using photos can give us a larger audience when it comes to encouraging our women and promoting events. Whether you’re sharing a blog or making an announcement, using a photo will multiply your audience.
For example, did you know if you share a photo on Facebook it will be seen by more people than if you simply share a quote or a link? And, your click rate will be higher if you add a photo to your blog post.
Next time you’re promoting your event, consider adding the event information on top of a photo. If you need an easy program to do so, we recommend PicMonkey. This free online resource allows makes simple photo editing and makes adding text to photos incredibly easy.
Here’s the challenging part: finding the right photo on which to add text.
Some photos are too busy to allow the text to be readable. I’ve found that it’s important for me to keep a growing file of photos that I can pull from when I’m looking for a background. It’s important to find royalty free photos.
Receive weekly photos to your inbox with StockVault.net. This free resource sends photos each week to your email, and if you think they might be helpful for design down the road, simply add them to your file.
The larger your file, the easier it will be to design a photo for your next event, blog post, or encouragement. I’ve found that looking through my file will oftentimes give me the inspiration I need to design an image.
Subscribe to StockVault.net emails, and you might just find yourself inspired too!
Question: Where do you find your photos for design?
I’m a to-do list maker. I write out what I have to do for work, I jot down my shopping list, and I make lists of goals and never-really-going-to-happen projects. After I finish, I need a list of my lists!
For most of us, our lives have multiple projects going on simultaneously. Along with work, our ministries, families, and friends require a lot from us. Keeping everything straight and getting everything done can be challenging.
I recently started using the program Nozbe to capture all of my to-do’s. The best part of digital system is the ability to manage many different projects all within in one larger list. It’s easy, too.
Here’s how it works:
Some of my lists include projects for my work, a list of household to-do’s (bills to pay, returns to make, etc), and a list I call “Someday-Maybe” – a list of things I want to remember next time I have some extra time.
Within each project, you can add tasks. Nozbe makes it easy to quickly add the specific steps for each project. For example, in my life project, I have a list of calls I need to make and specific appointments to make.
Track Due Dates
On each task, you can note when the project is due. Also, you can specify if the project is reoccurring. This option is helpful for work, as I do certain tasks each week, and Nozbe adds these tasks each week to my list. Also Nozbe can remind you of tasks that only surface every few months (e.g. oil changed, quarterly newsletter, etc).
Check ‘em Off
I bet we’re all guilty of adding something to our to-do list just to cross it off, right? When you complete a task with Nozbe, you get the joy of checking it off and seeing the task archived.
There are countless other ways to utilize Nozbe by adding tags, context, and utilizing the mobile app. But, the important thing is having one consistent place to capture all of your tasks.
Try the free version of Nozbe here. You can set up your new to-do lists in minutes!
Question: How do you manage your to-do lists?
keep looking »