Hunting for Leaders

Hunting for Leaders

If you take some time to speak with hunters, you will learn a few things:

  1. Hunters are purposeful.  They do not just step out in to the wild haphazardly.  They know what they are hunting, where they are hunting, and why they are hunting.
  2. Hunters know what weapon is required for each individual hunt.  Not every arrow, spear, trap, snare, or net is created for universal use.
  3. Hunters learn about what they are hunting.  They take the time to understand their prey. Where does it live, what does it eat, how does it move about the landscape, what does it sound like, what will scare it off, and what will draw it closer?

When we are on the hunt of new leaders, we need to apply a modified version of these points.

Be Purposeful.   Understand why you are searching for this new leader.  Are you looking for your replacement?  An assistant?  Building up a new ministry team?  Responding to new growth or need?  If you know the why behind your search, it will help you identify the right places to seek new leaders.  Understanding the why, will also help you spot the who!

Know Your Tools.  In other words, understand what is going to secure new leaders.  Is this a paying position?  Will you be providing tools and resources for their spiritual and leadership development?  What are you going to use the seal the deal, once you identify the leader?

Learn About Leaders.  Hunting for new leaders does not consist of putting a call out for just anyone who wants to join the team, or putting up a sign up sheet in the lobby, and taking anyone who signs up.  Take the time to learn about the potential leader.  What are her strengths and weaknesses, what does her spiritual walk look like, talk with her about what gifts and talents she possesses, pray for God to reveal how she would fit as a solution to your leadership needs, and what type of development does she already have or would need to step into leadership?

Hunters will lie in wait observing, sometimes for weeks ahead of their actual hunt.  They do this to understand the habits of the game they are hunting, and to make the animals more familiar with their scent and presence so that they are comfortable on hunting day.

A good leader is also watching and waiting, paying attention to the people in their ministry or organization.  As we watch and take in the information we learn about a potential leader, we will be able to determine if and when they are ready for the next step.  We also want our leaders to become comfortable with our presence so that when they are leading and we pop in to check things out, we don’t make them nervous.

A tribe that celebrates a successful hunt, is not just celebrating the prize of food they are bringing home to their families.  They are also celebrating the culmination of all the work that went into preparing for the hunt.  In fact, many will tell you most of the work when into the preparation before the hunt.  A tribe foresees a need to replenish the food stores, prepares the tools, trains the new hunters, and when the time is right they set out to put all the preparation into motion.  If the tribe waits until they are out of food, their hunters may not have the strength needed to endure the hunt.  Or, if the hunt fails, the entire tribe will suffer.

A good leadership team should not wait until a moment of desperation to seek out a new leader.  Waiting until a vacancy appears could mean that the team is running out of time and energy to get their work done.  In desperation and exhaustion we can give up, give in, or make poor choices.  If we put effort into preparing future leaders that have already been identified, prepared and developed; then we are just waiting for the moment all of that preparation is put into motion.

Don’t hunt for leaders when your team or ministry is starving.    Put the time and effort into preparing future leaders.  Do this, your tribe will be healthy and strong.

Leading in the Storm

Leading in the Storm

There have been a few times in my life where something major was going on in my personal life in tandem with active ministry responsibilities.  One of the first responses from others is the desire to take away my burden by giving me time off from ministry, canceling ministry plans for a future date, etc.  The intentions are good hearted, out of a desire to make my life easier during a difficult season.  However, as leaders, we must be careful to not to assume that is the right course of action.

Yes, with most certainty, there are going to be women who need a grace filled pass to let things go, or step down for a season or even forever.  However, there are women like myself who find that our responsibilities (work, school, or ministry) help to take our mind off the circumstances we are facing.

When Another Leader is Facing a Storm:

  • Don’t make assumptions.  Ask if she needs time off, or would like to continue in her role/capacity.
  • Inquire how you can support her personally (meals, running errands, etc.) as well as in her ministry work (assistance, volunteers, etc.)
  • Check in with her occasionally to see how things are going, if she needs help, or resources.

Unleashed

Hillary Clinton

Whether it is the women on your leadership team, or the women sitting in the pews each week… they are waiting.

I don’t know if you can sense it, but I can.  When I slip into a local women’s event hosted by one of the local churches or sit in during conversations with other leaders… there is a pulse.

Our women are feeling called to move, but many are not sure what for.  They are signing up for studies, starting prayer groups, reading more, talking more, finding places to serve, and for those who don’t have the opportunity to do any of these thing… they feel a longing they can’t understand.

Your women are waiting to be unleashed.

So, what can we do?

  1. Connect your women to one another, in relationships & community.
  2. Encourage your women to dig into the Word on a deeper level.
  3. Foster solid prayer habits in your women.
  4. Engage the women in opportunities to serve.

Connect Women:  Host events at your own church, go as a group to other women’s events, encourage the women to have lunch or coffee with one another, and as a leader help set the precedent by being an example of this.

Women in the Word:  Offer not only topical Bible study groups, but find ways to help the women dig deeper.  Look into curriculum for study groups that will take them to the next level, consider hosting or attending a workshop on study techniques, create a discipleship plan, and help the women discover resources that can help with their personal study.

Praying Women:  Prayer habits can make for a great brunch topic, group study, or workshop.  There are great books and resources on the value of prayer, and how to pray.  Create a prayer room in your church building, develop a women’s prayer group, utilize prayer chains, and set the example by employing prayer in your women’s events.

Women who Serving:  Find opportunities to serve in your community on your own or with your leader team.  Share testimonials from these service opportunities with your women, and then invite them to join you in future service project.  Encourage the women to share their ideas or organizations that are close to their own hearts with you.  As they make suggestions, they will also help generate excitement from other women in the church to participate.

The women are ready to be unleashed, engage them & equip them… then watch them flourish for the Kingdom.

Developing Female Leaders

devfem.jpgThe development of female leaders is the core of what the Women’s Ministry Council does.  We recognize the value of women in leadership, but the lack of equipping materials and resources for those who are leading within the church.

I am super excited about the book “Developing Female Leaders” by Kadi Cole.   I was able to get an advance look at this amazing book, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about the content and direction of this book.  God has equipped His daughter’s for Great Commission work, to be present in their communities sharing the Gospel, and His Word calls us to the discipleship of other women.  In order to be prepared to do such things, we need the support and encouragement of our church leaders in the development of women to answer the call.  Additionally, God has equipped many women with skills used in the secular market that are valuable assets with in the church.  By embracing women and their God given gifts, we see the full measure of God’s goodness at work for the Kingdom.   ~Gena McCown, Women’s Ministry Council Founder.

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When We Are Broken

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Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Titus 2:7-8

By Gena McCown

The other day, my friend Aimee Nelson and I were having quite a long conversation.  We were talking about the importance of how leaders behave in the public arena.  I don’t just mean people with large platforms and social media accounts with countless followers.  I, also mean the every day leaders, like you and me.  The ones who are in the trenches, in the small neighborhood churches & community organizations.  The ones who are serving the least of these, the overlooked.  The leaders who volunteer for our organizations who represent us in our cities.

A few years ago, I was in a grocery store.  I heard a man berating another person, it was quite loud and genuinely rose concern in me enough to investigate.  As I turned the corner I saw a man in his 40’s/50’s berated his elderly mother who was in a wheel chair.  I was able to assess that she didn’t appear in any danger, and intervention other than making him aware that someone was paying attention to him was not necessary.  I also noticed the t-shirt he was wearing.  It was for a local ministry that serving in our community, and I happened to know the leader.

When I got home, I called my friend and explained that I saw one of their volunteers at the grocery and described his behavior toward his mother.  My friend was mortified and based on my description was able to identify exactly who the person was.  I assured there would be a conversation.

When you walk out of your door wearing your organization’s tshirt, place a Bible verse bumper sticker on your car, or hand out invitations to your next church event… you are acting as an ambassador for the Kingdom.  People will associate what you do, how you behave, the words you use with Christianity.   Which is why the Word takes the time to address leaders & our conduct.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

James 3:1

The larger your platform becomes, the more weight those words carry.  We live in an age where, thanks to technology, pretty much anything from our past could come back to haunt us.  We can be thrust in the public spotlight and within minutes the whole world would know about us.  This happens to every day people, who are losing their jobs over public rants and actions that get captured on video… sent into the social media realm, and the news goes viral.  Shared.  Retweeted.  Reposted.  Forwarded.  Hashtagged.

Unless you have been on a social media blackout, with your head buried in the sand, you won’t have missed the sweeping news that seems to be happening quite frequently over the last few years of high profile leaders who are having their sins exposed, splayed on the table for the world to judge.   In some instances we are seeing the bandaid being ripped from a festering wound.  Many of us knew there were issues, but maybe not how bad they really were until we had to face the stench of it.  Others, they catch us off guard.

How are we to respond?

First, I choose to live in a mindset that despite how much I love God, how often I serve in my church, my calling to share the Gospel with others, to encourage other leaders, and to walk upright…. NO ONE IS EXEMPT FROM TEMPTATION.   As Priscilla Shirer addresses in her study Armor of God, the enemy has a very specific plan or strategy for each one of us based on our known weaknesses.  He knows which buttons to push.  If I keep this in mind, I never allow myself to think so much of myself and my own ability that I could not be vulnerable to stumbling myself.

Second, I choose to not use the falling of a high profile leader to be an excuse for casting judgment, slander, or increasing my own platform.  God does not expose sin for the rest of us to gloat or condemn.  He exposes the sin so that we know who to pray for & how to pray for them.  These fallen leaders need our prayers, people standing in the gap as they are forced to face their sin and the consequences.  There are not only leaders affected, but their entire ministries.  Not to mention their employees and volunteers, their church members, and especially their spouses and children.  It is not for us to cast these people into a pit in which they can’t ever escape, but rather a call for those of us who are still standing to pray for those who have fallen in.

Third, I choose to recognize that the Lord didn’t expose the sin so that these leaders would be disqualified and buried under the trash heap.  Instead, sin was exposed so that these leaders can repent and return to the fold being remade in Him.  Whatever the consequences and whatever the lesson learned, if they truly and genuinely repent and seek reconciliation and reparation (if required) then restoration is possible.  Certainly they may never regain their original standing and position, but that doesn’t mean that God won’t use them as an example to others about how those who stray… who become lost… can be found.

Being a leader means that there will be attention and focus on us, no matter whether there are 100 eyes on you from your local congregation or 100,000 eyes on you from your television program, conference keynotes, or book sales…

How will you walk?

Gifts & Talents

Say Cheese!

As leaders, we can sometimes get hung up in seeking volunteers that fit the holes in the ministry which we feel need to be filled.  We may look for highly capacity leaders who have more than one gift, can multi-task, and work well under pressure and deadlines.  In looking for these leaders, we can easily overlook our women who have other gifts and talents that can fill needs we may not recognize exist.

For example, in a time where Social Media is a huge part of our promotion of events and connecting with one another between our Sunday services, have you ever considered looking for women to volunteer as photographers for events and gatherings?  Perhaps a young woman or two that have a natural gifting for using the various social media platforms with ease?  There could be a woman who is sitting across from you during Bible Study or that you passed by during a Brunch that has a gift for creating flyers and graphics that you can use for your event promotion.

Ephesians 4:11-13 explains that each of us serves a purpose in the body of believers and the ministry work we have been called to.  We are one body with many parts, and each of those parts has a function within the body unique to itself.   While the examples list in the verses do not include “social media influencer” and “graphic artist”, they certainly are not excluded either.  If there is a need in the body, a place for a member to function in their gifts and talents, we can certainly make room.

We do not want to just make space in our ministry for women to be physically present, we want to make a place for women in our ministry to be relationally connected and spiritually productive.

Better Together

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Over the years, the Women’s Ministry Council team members have met with women in various sized churches.  Some are small churches, meeting in shopping plazas or school auditoriums.  There are the mid sized churches who often have on going events for their women, will host simulcast events, etc.  Finally, there are the large churches who have the space and funds to host their own conferences and bring in high profile guest speakers.

The smaller churches, especially those who lack their own building, will often utilize local events and conferences to attend as a group in lieu of fellowship events.  Or, they may be limited to just a few opportunities per year to gather since using the space costs additional funds or may not be available.  Medium sized churches will usually host in house brunches.  Simulcast events or mini-conferences may be once a year, due to the cost and amount of work.  Larger churches will often have the funds, space, and the volunteers but due to the size and scope their events are often an annual occurrence.

So, what does that mean for the women in our churches and community who are looking to gather with one another and fellowship, dig deep in to the word, longing for encouragement or to be challenged in the months between?

If you were to do an internet search for women’s conferences, or Christian conferences, the good news is that you could probably find something to do every month of the year.  Authors and speakers will often speak at large conferences, those with large audiences may even tour the country.  Some have gone so far as to simulcast their conferences live for those who are not near a city where they can see the event live.  Ministry leaders may host their own conferences, ladies nights out, and workshops.  These options are just the tip of the iceberg.  Many other smaller ministries, authors/speakers, and others are hosting local and regional events.

There is no doubt, that as a ministry leader, you have not had someone share with you an upcoming conference or event.  “We should go to this together!” or “Maybe we could be a host site for this event in our city?”.

There are so many good events to consider, but as a leaders it is impossible for us to host everything or attend every event.  Events take a lot of preparation.  Some require fees that, even though they will be recouped when tickets are sold, still freeze up the ministry budget.  There is planning leading up to, preparing the space, attending to the speakers needs (if live), and then afterwards there may even be some follow up.

If we all try to do it on our own, it is too much for one church to bear the brunt of all the work.  But, what if we were all working together?

Imagine sitting at your local café.  Twelve Women’s Ministry leaders from different local churches are seated together.  Everyone has their calendar/planner opened, pens at the ready.  The meeting leader hands out a list of potential events that churches could host in the next year.  The list includes cost, specific dates when applicable, etc.  Month by month, they discuss the options.  One by one, each Women’s Ministry leader claims an event that their church will host.  At the end of this meeting, there are 12 churches, hosting 12 events, over 12 months.  Yet each is only responsible for ONE during the year.  Each has selected an event that works within their budget.

Perhaps if we worked together, we wouldn’t need to pick and choose.   We could share the load, many hands making light work.