This is a guest post from Cyndee at Women’s Ministry Toolbox.
The lessons haven’t always been fun or easy, but God has taught me so much in almost 20 years of ministering to women.
From my days as a “mommy group” leader to serving on three different women’s ministry teams in three different churches in three different cities, I’ve had many opportunities to learn from my mistakes and gain wisdom from my mentors.
I pray God will use these reflections to affirm and strengthen your leadership in women’s ministry.
Here are 9 things I’ve learned in 19 years of women’s ministry:
1. Women love interaction.
Women don’t just want to sit and listen, they want to actively participate. Consider including a hands-on service project, guided discussion group, and intentional icebreaker game to meet their needs. Resist the temptation to pack your schedule or agenda too tightly.
2. Circles are better than rows.
Women need to sit face to face to make connections and build relationships. Whenever possible, create circles and get your women out of rows. If you must sit in rows for a speaker’s teaching session, physically move the chairs into circles (as far apart as possible) or move into separate rooms for even greater confidentiality and deeper sharing.
3. Icebreaker games with purpose provide connections.
Carefully selected icebreaker games allow women to bond over shared experienced and preferences. Provide opportunities for your women to discover new things about one another. You’ll find bunches of great icebreaker games on this website as well as on this page at Women’s Ministry Toolbox.
4. It’s really hard to be a guest.
We’ve moved several times over the last 7 years and I’ve had many opportunities to be the “new girl”. Ask God to give you eyes to see things from the perspective of someone who knows no one and hasn’t a clue where to go or what to do. You may decide you need to add signage, table leaders, and additional greeters.
5. Leadership teams matter.
God does not want to us to do ministry alone. The Bible is filled with examples of believers working in teams to spread the Good News (just look at Jesus). We have the opportunity and responsibility to create spaces for women to serve in their area of gifting. Bathe your recruitment process in prayer and trust God to fill them in His perfect timing.
6. It’s nearly impossible to over-publicize an event.
Women today are busy and overscheduled. We can’t send enough reminders or create too many social media posts. Place reminders in as many places and spaces as you can (bathroom stalls, Sunday bulletin, Facebook group, Instagram, email, church newsletter, etc.).
7. A personal invitation carries the most weight.
Most women prefer to attend events and activities at which they’ll know at least one other person in attendance. Encourage your women to invite their friends and neighbors. Make sure they have all the necessary information to pass along (date, time, cost, location, purpose).
8. A healthy women’s ministry knows how to recruit and utilize their volunteers well.
Many leaders grumble that no one wants to help, yet I find often they’ve never really asked. Make your volunteer needs known. Express your thanks and appreciation. Provide training when it is needed. Above all, make it a fun experience so they’ll want to volunteer again!
9. Outer-focused ministries thrive.
Women’s ministries that are focused on building relationships in the community outside of their church building find their women are more open to serving and eager to share the Gospel. Ask God who He wants your group to serve on a regular basis. Consider the local women’s shelter, a nearby apartment complex, a new church plant, or the teachers at a local school.
I am so thankful for these last 19 years – the good and not-so-good. It’s given me a deep well of experiences to draw from and share with other women’s ministry leaders.
In the spring of 2013, God took my persistent prayer for free online resources for women’s ministry leaders and turned it into a calling. At His clear prompting, I launched the Women’s Ministry Toolbox as a resource to equip and encourage women’s ministry leaders. Over the years God has expanded this ministry to leaders to include e-books, Bible studies, online courses, and, most recently, a free online Facebook group. I’d be honored to have you check out all of the resources at Women’s Ministry Toolbox.
Cyndee Ownbey serves as a mentor to thousands of women’s ministry leaders through her website Women’s Ministry Toolbox. For the last five years, she’s called Charlotte, North Carolina home, where she lives with her husband of 22 years and the younger of their two teenage boys. She has written two Bible studies and created a variety of women’s ministry resources, including The Prayer Warrior Boot Camp and the Bible Study Facilitator Training Course. An elementary teacher by trade, she enjoys teaching from God’s Word and has a passion for helping women’s ministry teams create events and activities that teach their women to pray, study the Word, share their faith, and engage in discipling relationships.