A Heart of Worship

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We are excited this weekend to have a new speaker at one of events.  Sheila Thomas is going to be sharing with our local leaders about the importance of having worship as part of our Women’s Ministry events.

Do you put much thought, as a Women’s Ministry Leader about incorporating worship into your events?  Whether you are choosing a formal worship event, that is all about singing songs of praise and thanksgiving, or having a few minutes dedicated to opening an event in worship… here are a few quick thoughts to consider.

Events tend to be a place where we feel very comfortable inviting guests.  These guests may not be familiar with old hymnals, your church’s go-to song list, or even what is being played on local Christian stations.  Therefore:

  • Look for songs that are easy and do not have complex melodies that are hard to follow.
  • Select songs that use more common vocab words vs. “Christianese”, so that our guests understand what it is they are singing.
  • Print out the lyrics or have the lyrics displayed on a projection screen for those who are unfamiliar, never assume people have memorized the lyrics to a common song or can follow along.
  • Even though women do tend to naturally sing at a higher octave than men, consider the untrained voice may have difficulty with high notes and use them sparingly.
  • Consider the theme of your event, the emotion you want to evoke from the women, and select songs that fit the theme or desired response well.
  • Don’t be afraid to bring in a male worship leader for a women’s event.
  • If your church worship team is taxed for time already, consider using someone from the body who has this gift but can’t commit to the regular schedule of the worship team.  There may also be someone from your youth group that could lead worship.
  • Contact local Christian Colleges with music programs for potential worship leaders.   Many of these colleges require volunteer hours of their students, and leading worship may count.  This is a win for the student, to gain more hours.  It’s a win for the ministry too, as it helps offset budget concerns.  Make sure to ask the college if you are allowed to compensate the student for travel time/expenses or give a monetary thank you gift even though they are volunteering.
  • Consider balance in the planning stages regarding how much time you want to allot for worship songs, where in the course of the program do you want to utilize them (beginning, throughout, ending).

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Many thanks to Ligonier Ministries and their magazine “Table Talk“, for gifting the women in attendance this weekend a copy of their back issue Worship Matters“.  It is a great addition to our speakers thoughts on why we need to incorporate worship in to our programs.  It’s a valuable resource on a beautiful topic.

Pray Top Down

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A standard protocol for any ministry is to pray for God’s protection and favor over their work.  At a Women’s Ministry team meeting, we may pray for each others’ personal requests, for the event we are planning, and the women in the church. How often do you make sure to include praying for your Pastor, Staff, Church, and the Community it is serving?

So often we are focused on our own ministry needs that we forget that we are part of a bigger ministry in our community.  We are focused on our own ministry, and our own church… and we may forget about the other ministries and churches that are serving in our areas as well.  We also may be so focused on our role in serving in our ministry area that we forget that we are part of a body larger that we serve as well.

As we delve into the topic of Prayer & Worship in your Women’s Ministry at this weekends training event, we want to make sure that we don’t neglect to remind our leaders the importance of praying beyond your ministry.  We are grateful for The Good Book Company’s book “5 Things to Pray for Your Church”, which walks you through the ways you can be praying for your church, your role within it, and beyond your church walls.  The women attending our training event will be receiving a copy of this book courtesy of The Good Book Company.

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A posture of prayer needs to start from the top down.  As ministry workers who are part of a larger church body, before we begin praying for our own ministry needs and direction, we must begin with the church from the top down.  We pray for protection over the building, and we pray that our Pastors will be protected & have wisdom in shepherding the flock. We can even go a step further up, as we pray for our country and elected officials and how they will respond, represent, and protect the rights of the church.

As we lead the women in our church to a posture of prayer, and model the behavior and practice before them, we can also help them to foster a position of prayer over the church they call home.

Model the Prayer

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For some people prayer seems to come naturally, it pours off their lips like sweet nectar.  We can even be envious of another person’s ability to pray, as their heartfelt words sound like music to the soul.  For others, prayer is like walking through a room full of mouse traps with a raw egg on a spoon… hoping you can make it to the other side with out falling.  We can recognize the preciousness of what we are carrying (sweet words to the Lord), we understand the importance of our task (to honor and praise Him, to confess and surrender to Him), and yet the words just do not flow at all.

There are those whom the Lord has anointed the spiritual gift of intercessory prayer.  While we are not to covet or try and take a gift that was not intended of us, prayer is not an exclusive gift that only some of us get.   The scriptures give us multiple examples of people who cried out to the Lord, written prayers of the saints, and even Jesus himself was asked:  Lord, how do we pray?  He answered with The Lord’s Prayer.  Prayer is something that we are all called to participate in, and yet a common area new believers (and even some seasoned believers) stumble through.

Here is the GOOD NEWS… a prayer can be as simple as crying out the Lord… Oh, God!  For the Lord knows what is on our hearts and what burdens us.  He knows the trouble we face, He understands the words that we fail to utter in our despair.  The Lord is also patient, and He will listen as you unload every word running through your head… whether it is in eloquent sentences or broken up by sobs.  He mourns when we mourn, because He loves us so deeply.  He rejoices when we pray to Him in thankfulness and praise.  He hears the hushed tone Thank you, Lord as much as the loud Thank You JESUS for your blessings of which I do not deserve!

Yet, there is MORE good news.   When we want to understand more about how to pray, the scriptures are there to answer that need.  We will learn what TO DO and what NOT to do in our prayer life.  We have the example of The Lord’s Pray, and the prayers of others who have come before us.   In addition, we have books that can help us improve our prayer life.  Whether it is a book of sample prayers, books that have pulled out the prayers directly from the scriptures, and books that walk you through the process of praying from your own heart.

As Women’s Ministry Leaders we can help foster an attitude of prayer in our church by modeling prayer in our personal lives.  We can also help foster a posture of prayer in the lives of the women in our church by helping them develop prayer habits.  Prayer teams do not need to be made up of only those who excel in prayer.  They can be a great place to put women who desire to deepen their prayer life.  Prayer rooms can provide direction and resources, as well as women who are available to help model prayer to those who walk in those doors.

Another option is to begin an intentional step toward developing good prayer habits by adding Prayer to your Small Groups menu.  This weekend the women in attendance at our training event will be receiving a copy of Susan Hunt’s Prayers of the Bible study book and leader guide.  Not only is this a great opportunity to talk with your existing small group leaders, about having a small group focused on prayer… but it is a great introduction to get NEW small group leaders in place.  If you have a woman who is already a prayer warrior, but didn’t think she could be a small group leader… WHAT A GREAT WAY TO GET HER STARTED!  This would allow her to get her feet wet in the leader process while leading a subject that is already near and dear to her heart.

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Thank You P&R Publishing for your support in our upcoming Women’s Ministry Council training event on Prayer and Worship & their role in our Women’s Ministry programs!

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Lead Them to Pray

This week, in preparation for our Prayer & Worship Training Event , the Women’s Ministry Council invited member Jenny Andrews to contribute to the conversation.  Jenny is going to share with us practical tips for Starting a Prayer Team  in your Women’s Ministry. 
Before starting or agreeing to start either ministry in the church be sure to go before the Lord in prayer  about what it takes to start either or both. Both take time and both require diligence. Like any good steward we are called to count the cost of starting a ministry or team.
After you have done that if you are feeling called go see the Pastor who would be responsible for such ministry. My Senior Pastor was not over this particular ministry, the Associate Pastor was so I went to him. Or, connect with current prayer team leader and ask to how you can help.
I would ask a few important questions:
1. What is your vision for prayer in the church/women’s ministry?
          a. Most likely the pastor and other leaders are aware of the weak areas in the body of  Christ and they can help you be intentional on specific areas of prayer.  (i.e. prayer  chain, prayer team, prayer room, prayer night)
2. How can I help you in that vision?
Once you get those questions answered it is now time to pray about building a team for the prayer ministry.  Use the pastor’s vision as your guideline for the prayer vision for the year. Meet with them yearly around the same time the recast vision and assess prayer needs.
1. Start with key leadership and ask them if they are aware of any women who they would
consider women of prayer.
2. Begin looking for woman in your small group or in casual conversations who are desiring to pray with you and others.
3. Make a list of people and begin praying over them.
4. Make a list of responsibilities that would be required to be a part of the team.
          a. i.e. no gossiping, live life of godliness (not perfection), willing to learn.
          b. You can also look online fore prayer guidelines that will help you make up your list.
          c. Do a separate list of responsibilities for prayer team and for prayer room if you are   doing both.
 5. Send out personal invites to the potential team members for a meet and greet.
 6. Plan out a year of prayer events before meet and greet
          a. Have your dates in writing, you don’t have to have details of events or meetings       just that they are happening.
          b. Get on the church calendar schedule so they know you are having events.
 7. Pray for a potential assistant or co-leader for team they will help you tremendously.
8. At the meet and greet:
           a. Share the vision of the team/room.
          b. Share the responsibilities
          c. Allow them to have input on needs of prayer
           d. Share with them calendar
          e. Do brainstorm for prayer event ideas
          f. Look for potential leader to help you in this meeting
 9. Follow through with events
10. Keep team up to date on everything and encourage them often.
Remember this is not a to-do list it is a suggested list and can be tweaked to fit your particular church  body needs.
Study to show yourself approved. I would encourage you to study spiritual warfare as it  goes hand and hand with prayer. My encouragement would be David Platt’s series on Angels, demons and spiritual warfare. Pray for discernment and wisdom often as you will need it. Research praying scripture and praying God’s will in accordance with the bible.
It will be a slow process and it does take time but your efforts and diligence will pay off in the long run.  Remember to keep Christ as the center of you prayer team and never be afraid to ask for help in area unknown to you. Remain teachable and steadfast in prayer.
Prayer meetings can happen anywhere.   You can host them in the main sanctuary of your church, or even at a local park.  A popular trend is the establishing of a prayer room in your church.  This is usually a quite space, where women can come to pray alone or in groups.  Some are decorated and stocked with resources on prayers, and others are just a friendly space with some chairs.  A door that can close for privacy is recommended.   You may even choose to have a prayer garden or walk on your church property.  For some ideas on Prayer Rooms, visit our Pinterest Page.

Jenny Andrews is a wife of 14 yrs, a mother to 3 wonderful boys and a devoted followed of Jesus. She desires to encourage and equip women to be all that the Lord has called them be.  She enjoys speaking and teaching the Word of God. For more information you can find Jenny Andrews on her Facebook page.

How Do We Respond?

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In the wake of recent news, it is very apparent that there are some very deep hurts coming to surface.  It is also very apparent that not everyone is responding and reacting to this news with wisdom and self control.  However, a response is still needed from the church and it’s ministries in the wake of tragedies that we see in the news.

We have a community of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have suffered under oppression for too long, and even with the strides we have made to bring equality to the forefront… there is a deep vein of hurt that still sees how far we still have to go.  We have older generations who are seeing history repeating itself… and younger generations who are really seeing it for the first time.  And I mean… REALLY seeing it.

As more families are becoming interracial, white parents are for the first time beginning to understand the fears that have plagued black parents for generations.  And through this our eyes are not only being opened to the injustices and fears of our black communities… but also other communities too, from Hispanic to Native American.

We also see that the response of some have put in danger the very lives of those whom we rely on to protect us in our time of need.  We see these men and women putting their own lives on the line every day, and we know that they too have a family who worries every day.  They too, have a family who wants to see them make it home each night.  These officers are struggling as well as they are becoming more aware of the “bad apples” among their ranks and we are seeing many standing up against them.  But more needs to be done.

In the wake of this, how do we respond as a church?  How do we respond as a Women’s Ministry to our hurting family?

First, we throw down denominational lines and worship preferences.  We come together and support each other.  Perhaps you have a church that this in a rough part of town (or that is being targeted by hatred), you reach out to them and offer up your own church.  They can meet for their brunch at your church, or join your Women’s Ministry events, worshipping and fellowshipping together.  Stop the divide, by reaching out a hand.

Second, as leaders we reach out to their leaders and simply ask “How can we pray for your women?”.  Then do it.  We reach out and we ask questions, like… “Can you help me to understand how these events are impacting your community?  What can we do to be part of that change?”.  Then do it.

Third, we put our feet in motion when we need to.  If a local church is vandalized, we roll up our sleeves and help repaint it.   If they are in need of study materials, we do what we can to get those materials in their hands.  Not because they are “poor” or out of “pity”, but we do this out of love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are saying that we see you, your need, and family helps family.

Fourth, and this should have been first really, we need to be honest with our own selves that racism, discrimination, and social injustice still exists.  Not only does it still exist, it still hurts… and it is absolutely unbiblical.  Therefore we stand for justice and equality, because the Lord created us all in His image.

Finally, let us not forget those who are serving the public, every day, putting their own lives on the line.    How do we help them?   One of the simplest things to do is to head down to your local station, when shifts start, and offer to pray with officers on their way out the door.  Talk with other Women’s Ministries in your area and coordinate a rotation of churches showing up to pray.  Have a special breakfast honoring the officers in your area, drop off baskets of treats, anything really… that says “we see you, we appreciate you, keep doing good work”.

These officers are under immense scrutiny right now, and the good ones (which is the majority of them) are feeling that weight too.  Just letting these men and women know that we appreciate what they are doing can be a HUGE boost for their attitude, knowing the majority of the community is not vilifying them over the actions of others.

Ladies… be in prayer for our country.  I recently watched an interview with three pastors on this topic.  One of them said that God is bringing to the forefront a pain that has been lingering in the background for too long.  He is opening more eyes to see what has been here all along.  Though we have pain and suffering now, there will be joy in the morning.

Please use the comments section on this post to share you thoughts, ideas, feelings.  What are you doing to reach out to your communities?  If you are a church that is hurting, tell the rest of us how we can help you.  If I am totally off base, correct me… I want to know!  If I’m heading in the right direction, tell us what more we can do.  How can we pray for your church and community?  Be honest, be raw, let’s be a catalyst of conversation that leads to the change we need.

Welcome New Friends!

If you are stopping by our page for the first time, it may be a result of receiving one of invitations in the mail.  Welcome, to the Women’s Ministry Council site!

Our goal is to engage, encourage, and equip our local Women’s Ministry Leaders through quarterly meetings that provide training and resources.

Visit our other pages, or go directly to the Calendar {Events} page to RSVP for this or one of our upcoming events!

The first 30 women to RSVP receive a special Swag Bag at the event!

As you scroll through our Events page, click on the invitation that interests you & it will redirect you to the official RSVP page.

Would you like to see a Women’s Ministry Council in your area?  Contact us via our Social Media page for contact information!

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Ministry Spotlight: The Freedom Challenge

As Women’s Ministry Leaders, many of us want to impact our communities and the world in Kingdom worthy ways.  The Great Commission should be part of our WM program and offerings.  There are many local, nationals, and international opportunities to share the gospel, help others, and invest into the world we live in.

The first week of each month, the Women’s Ministry Council is going to begin spotlighting different ministries that would appeal directly to Women’s Ministries and the women in our churches.  This week, we’d like to introduce you to:  The Freedom Challenge.

If you have a lot of physically active women in your church… runners and hikers… this may be an impact ministry for you!  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of the amazing women who serve with The Freedom Challenge.  Their heart and dedication toward helping women and children find freedom is evident as they share their ministry with you.  Take a peek….

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What is The Freedom Challenge?

The Freedom Challenge is a movement of passionate women dedicated to freeing oppressed and enslaved women and children all around the world. We do this by participating in physical challenges that test our limits, while raising funds and awareness to combat these dark, social injustices and set women and children on the pathway to freedom.

Visit The Freedom Challenge website, by clicking here…