The Graceful Exit

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The Women’s Ministry Council works on an standard calendar, our ministry year runs January through December.  Every December, as we draw closer to the end of the year, there are two important things that happen.  First, at our last meeting of the year, I will put a call out for anyone who is interested in serving as part of leadership in the coming year.  Second, I send an email to our existing team members and offer a graceful exit.

Life changes.  Commitment levels change.  Availability to serve will change.  It is incredibly important to us as a team that everyone who is serving is doing so out of a desire to serve vs. a feeling of obligation.  I will ask our leaders to examine their availability and pray for God’s guidance in serving the next year.  I give them a couple of weeks to consider it, and then follow up for an answer.

I love welcoming new members to our meetings and on our leadership team.  I also love the ability to release a woman from her obligation to serve where God is leading her.  It is a beautiful gift to allow a fellow leader a graceful exit.

This is something that we should also embrace within our ministry leadership at the church level.  Sometimes we take for granted that a woman who was called will stay for the long haul, and we are unable to recognize that her season has come to an end.   We may even find ourselves in an awkward scenario where she is waiting for you to release her from the ministry, and you are waiting for her to broach the subject.  She may fear that she will be letting you or the ministry down by leaving.

If we are doing our jobs as leaders correctly, we should always be seeking and developing new leaders so that as we say goodbye to an outgoing leader … we are also saying welcome to an incoming leader.

Whether your ministry term runs January through December, follows a liturgical calendar, or the school year calendar…. consider how you can allow your leaders who need rest or relocation a graceful exit.

Connected Community

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Over the years we have had an opportunity share with our leaders some amazing organizations and ministries that can be partnered with for service projects, outreach, and more.  Some are local ministries and organizations from our community, here is a brief list of some of the ministries we have shared that are national and international.

Authentic Intimacy

Operation Mobilization

No Place Left

International Missions Board

Christian Leaders Institute

Embrace Grace

Hope Mommies

YouMom

One Child Matters

Samaritan’s Purse Women’s Programs

Learning

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Whether you meet in a café, church fellowship hall, or in someone’s home there are two purposes to this gathering.  Fellowshipping, as we addressed in our previous post, and Learning.

Leaders still need to learn about ministry work.  You can explore Biblical characteristics of leadership, as well as the practical functional side of ministry work.  Here are just some suggestions on topics that we have covered in the past of plan to cover in the future.

How to Write a Ministry Budget

Value of Worship and Prayer at your Events

Knowing Jesus Through His Word

Bible Literacy for Women

Leading Single Women

Leading Single Mothers

Being a Missions Minded Ministry

Community Outreach

United Body: Bridging the Racial Divide *

Mentoring and Discipleship Models

How to Share the Gospel Effectively

How to Plan a Women’s Retreat

Serving Teen Mothers

Serving Our Widows

Accommodating Special Needs Women, or Serving Special Needs Families

Praying for Your Church

First, speak with your leadership team and determine who is comfortable teaching on which topics (including ones not listed here).  Second reach out to the women attending and ask if there are any topics they feel qualified to teach, or if they know of anyone (in the church, community, non-profit, etc.) who might be a good teacher or speaker at a future meeting.  Take your list, and pray over it.  Pray that God would reveal which topics He would like you to teach on that year.  Pray that He would reveal to you anything that may not have been suggested.

We make it a point to give our women the entire year of meetings (for us it is just four) so that they can put them on the calendar to save the date.  However, you may find it easier to move one meeting at a time.

Another way we have developed our topics over the years is a byproduct of attending conferences.  Our leadership will walk through the Exhibition Areas or Sponsors Tables, while attending Christian Conferences, looking for topics that jump out at us.  You may even find free resources and tools from ministries that you can incorporate.  We’ve made wonderful connections with ministries that have sent us some of their left over conference giveaway/swag that we were able to distribute to our ladies attending with information about that ministry.

In our next piece in this series, we will share some of the amazing ministries that have sent us materials to share about their ministries with our attendees.  These materials have included ideas for service projects and missions trips, ministries they can start in their church to support various types of women in their communities, and so much more.

WMC and Fellowship

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When the WMC began our earlier meetings were packed full of content.  After the first or second year, we did a survey about the meeting format.  A common request was an opportunity to fellowship with one another, getting to know each other better.

Our first attempt to address this need was to create a separate event, for those who were interested in building relationships and not just training.   In the end, it just didn’t work for us.  Our ladies just didn’t have time to add another thing to the schedule.  We opted to change our meeting format to include a short time for fellowshipping.  Some of our ladies have left the meeting and then gone out to lunch together to continue fellowshipping.

Whether or not you make it part of the format, or if your ladies actually do have the time to carve out for special fellowship nights/lunches… it is an incredibly important consideration.

November and December seem to be the absolute worst times to add it in as an additional activity.  In fact we pretty much avoid December even for our quarterly meetings.  Most years the last WMC meeting of the year is the second Saturday of November.

Through fellowshipping, we have had an opportunity to speak with each other about our lives, families, ministries, churches, work, etc.   Not only getting to know one another at a personal level, but also learning about how we can pray for one another.

When creating your meeting agenda, or calendar year, consider factoring in fellowship opportunities at least occasionally.