My husband and I have had the privledge of doing full time ministry for 15 years. Over the last couple years it hit me that I am not a youngin anymore. The Lord kept pressing on my heart and mind the responsibility I have to share the experience He's given. Though I am no where close to real veterans who have 40 years of experience under their belt, that doesn't excuse me from sharing what He has entrusted to me from the 15 years.
So if someone were to ask me what my best practices for a successful women's ministry were, these would be at the top of my list.
1. Remember What God Defines as Success. It can be easy to mix up success with numbers. But to God, success is taking initiative in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results up to God. If we are growing in wisdom by seeking out knowledge and experience and walking by faith in putting what we learn into practice by the strength He gives us, that is success. The choices of other people don't define what ministry success is.
2. Keep the End Goal in Mind. The end goal of any ministry, women's ministry or any other is to make disciples who make disciples for the glory of God. This is the great co-mission Jesus has assigned to all believers. If we don't keep our eyes on the goal, it is easy to be controlled by the tyranny of the urgent, swayed by peoples opinions and just putting events on the calendar to make sure there is something to do. When we keep the end goal in mind, it helps us know what to say yes to and what to say no to. It helps us think through what our critical events need to be in order to make multiplying disciples.
3. Use Events Strategically. Events can be very strategic to the end goal or they can be a distraction. To use them strategically, they need to be seen not as the end goal in an of themselves but a step to get one step further in the Great Commission funnel. Here's a video explaining that. Events provide opportnunities to meet people and get into spiritual conversations. They also can be a way for women to grow into stronger disciples and they could possibly be a way to train others in how to make multiplying disciples (like the Missional Women Conference).
4. Have a Leaders Bible Study From my experience the times when I had a specific time for the women leaders of the ministry to connect with each other, get into God's Word, and I had a place to consistently cast vision and provide training, those were the years the ministry was the strongest. There is a unique bond that happens when people come together who are living on mission together and have time to get into God's Word and encourage each other. And having that personal time to affirm their steps of faith, pray for each other and provide a visionary reminder of what the end goal is goes a long way. Vision leaks and a weekly Bible study I found to be a perfect place to continually fill that bucket. Here is a little ebook I wrote on Leading Effective Bible Studies.
5. Connect with Key Leaders Individually and Regularly. Ministry can get very difficult at times. Individual time with a leader can be a time to process hard situation, pray for, affirm and encourage them in truth. It is also a time to share your heart with them and draw them out by asking them questions. It also provides time and opportunity to communicate about any personal issues that need dealt with and provide personally fit training where needed in ministry skills.
6. Equip and Model. Provide places to equip your leaders and future leaders. Plan a once in a while weekend training or a weekly training on things they will need to know in order to be able to lead and do the Great Commission. And then, not only teach them how to do ministry (like share meet people and get into spiritual conversations, share the Gospel and disciple someone) but take them out to do it so they learn first hand. Seeing someone do something hard by faith tears down a thousand lies and walls built up.
If this is a little overwhelming to you, don't worry. Right now I am in the process of creating a Ministry Kit that will provide each of these elements of training and casting vision. It will walk you through each step and provide you with some helpful worksheets to plan your ministry year. I'm not as quick as I used to be at developing resources with 5 1/2 kids in tow now, but it will get done. So if something like this would be helpful to you shoot me an email and I'll add you to the special in the know pre-release group. and I'll keep you updated.
Laura, the founder of Missional Women is married and has five kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 13 years serving with Master Plan Ministries where she is the Women's Development Coordinator. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, and A Devotional Journey through Judges, a devotional to accompany the free online Bible study at TheBookofJudges.com. You can find her on facebook,twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram and her author site.
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