What is Your Focus?

tabledecor

Not that long ago, I was speaking with a woman who serves on her church Women’s Ministry team.  She shared with me that at a previous planning meeting, she was frustrated as they spent over 30 minutes trying to decide on the color of the napkins.

As part of my attempts to stay abreast of what happens in Women’s Ministry, I’ve joined various social media groups for Women’s Ministry leaders.  In my observations I notice a lot of backwards planning.   It starts with a catchy theme or pinterest worthy decor plan, and then they begin searching for the verse or topic that fits the theme.  Speakers are lined up to deliver a topic, but no one knows what will be said.  

Instead of starting in the Word, in prayer, and with God… they are beginning with decorations and trying to figure out how to put God into it.  It should not be this way at all. 

We would never dare to make the icing and decorations without first having a cake in mind.  Yes, while the cake is baking, we can begin working on the frosting and planning out the details of how the cake will be finished.  BUT, all that work is for naught if we forget to bake the cake.  In fact, we can’t even decide what kind of icing we need without knowing the type of cake first.

What if we began the process with:

  1. Prayer – ask the Lord to put a message, topic, or verse on your heart for your next ministry event.
  2. The Word – take the time to go through the Scriptures related to the message or topic, or to study the verse the Lord gives you in context.  
  3. Topic – once you have a clear topic/verse, then create a name for your event (if needed) that expresses the topic so that women know what to expect.
  4. Details – finally, create the hospitality details that will accompany your topic/message.

A great Women’s Ministry event can deliver the message, while you are seated in the sanctuary.  The table cloths and centerpieces, favors and games, and the atmosphere are the icing on the cake.  It does convey a message to your guests that they are welcome and loved, so long as that message doesn’t overwhelm the true message… The Gospel.

Don’t forget to register for #LeadHer2018 !  Seating is limited and we anticipate the event will sell out.  $79 includes a continental breakfast at arrival, plated lunch, and all conference materials.  And, we have some amazing things in store thanks to some soon to be announced sponsors.

October 6, 2018 in Hobe Sound, FL.  Click through the graphic for more information:

Add _God is within her, she will not fall._Psalm 46_5(89)

This Is Serious Business

Women's Ministryis a Calling

When I speak to people about Women’s Ministry, or quietly observe in various Facebook groups about Women’s Ministry, I wonder if we are talking about the same thing.

So much time is spent talking about decorations and favors, cute little themes… I wonder if this is Women’s Ministry or Pinterest Ministry?

I’m not suggesting that we disregard creating a wonderful experience for the women who attend our events, I am concerned when this appears to be all that we are providing.

Not being one prone to silence, I decided to speak up.  In one group, after reading countless posts over many months that discussed what verse would match their theme… I had enough and spoke up.

Think about this for a moment.  They had already decided a theme for their event, but now they needed to find a verse to teach from that fit the theme.  I can’t be the only one who feels like this is a backwards approach.  Shouldn’t the WORD be the forefront of the plans, and the decorations and theme the icing on the cake?

I asked  a simple question…

“What are you doing to disciple your women?”

Other than a few responses that related to Bible Studies and Small Groups, there wasn’t a lot.  For most, their event were their primary outreach and teaching tool.

I was encouraged, however, by the number of women who were honest…

We don’t.   But, I’d like to.  I don’t know where or how to begin.

We’ve tried but it didn’t take off.

Now I am committed to helping these women come up with a plan to kickstart discipleship in their churches.  The conversation is open, and the opportunity is endless.  But, what is prone to happen in these types of scenarios is a lot of conversation and research with a heavy dose of push back from the question of “what if”.

I’ve learned over the years, you can “what if” yourself into complacency and inaction.  If you are going to wait for every detail and facet to work itself out, nothing will ever get done. Sometimes the greatest “what if” to ask yourself is…

What if we don’t?

What if we don’t disciple our women?  What if we don’t challenge our women to dig deeper in the Word?  What if we don’t encourage our women to a more intentional prayer life?  What if we don’t steward our money, resources, and time toward The Great Commission call of Women’s Ministry?

Women’s Ministry is far more than fun themes and pinterest worthy decorations.

Author Gloria Furman, in an interview, referred to Women’s Ministry as being any occasion where women minister to other women.

How we minister matters.  Titus 2 calls us to minister to women through teaching, and how we live our lives.  Which means that what we teach through Women’s Ministry matters.  I would call all of our churches to examine how we are doing Women’s Ministry today, and weigh it against these questions:

  1.  Are we encouraging and providing avenues for women to learn to study the Bible, and offering a Bible Study schedule that provides enough variety and opportunity for women to plug in.  Do we encourage our women to sign up for these study groups?  Are we preparing women in our church to become teachers of study groups?
  2. Are we fostering a spirit of intentional prayer in our ministry?  Do we model prayer?  Do we have a prayer team who prays for the women in the church?  Do we take time to teach women how to pray?
  3. Are we creating space in our calendar of events to include service projects in our communities?  Do we call our women into action, responding to the needs around us?
  4. Are we providing opportunities for our women in leadership to receive training and support in this call?  Are we identifying future leaders among our women and investing in their development?
  5. Do we have a Women’s Ministry that is focused on The Great Commission?  Do our events center around the Gospel?  Or, do we fit the Gospel into our events?

You see, I believe that Women’s Ministry is not a simple little ministry that gathers once a month to learn about making the perfect centerpiece, surviving motherhood, or even feel good messages about how beautiful we are to God (granted those have there place and time).

No.  I believe that Women’s Ministry is serious business.  Being a Women’s Ministry Leader means that the Lord is trusting me with half of his flock.  Which means that I am called to handle the Word of God responsibly, and teach it to other women.  It means that I am called to go out and share the Gospel with the poor in Spirit.  It means that I am praying over our church, community, and the women I serve … as well as teaching them how to pray.  I am leading in order to build up more leaders who will go out to all the corners and share the Good News.   None of this call is something to take lightly.

It is a great and noble calling, to lead His daughters.  How we lead matters.

Lately, Women’s Ministry has come under criticism.  Women are tired of the same old same old, and they want something deeper.  Younger women are not interested in their mother’s type of Women’s Ministry.  They want to be a part of something that has significance, meaning, and purpose.

We are not being challenged to something new, but rather returning to the way it was.

The Old Testament has several points relating to how women ministered in their time.  We begin with Eve in Genesis Chapter 2, created to be a helper to Adam.  What is interesting is that the Lord made Eve as a response to Adam being alone.  God was with Adam.  There were animals with Adam.  Man was hardly alone.  Yet, God says that it was not good for man to be alone, which meant there was something Adam still needed. When Eve was created, Adam had instant community.  Women have been serving others in community ever since.

One of our primary roles of Women’s Ministry is to create a community and build relationships with one another.  This is why having events and studies are a great tool, so long as the event doesn’t trump the purpose of the event.  Through our events we can bring women into community and fellowship with one another, but also by encouraging them into the Word and prayer, we bring them into community with God.

One of the best, and simplest, definitions of community is COMMON + UNITY.  What are the things that we have in common that unite us?  As Christians and women, we are united by our uniqueness in how God created us.  Women’s Ministry draws us together in COMMON UNITY as we identify as daughter of the King.  Through that community, we are able to minister to one another’s needs, teach the Word and how to pray, serve along side each other, and spur one another forward.

We lift one another up and defend one another.

We sympathize and have compassion for one another.

We teach each other and grow in faith along side one another.

We go before throne for one another, speaking truth to our sisters.

Let our Women’s Ministries become more than just a monthly gathering, and instead become a community.  One where we gather at the well of Living Waters, drawing from it, together.

Breathing New Life to Women’s Ministry

New Life

This year, you will plan your church’s one hundred millionth women’s tea.  The women will arrive, potluck offerings in hand.  They will find a seat a table that is beautifully decorated, sipping on tea, and noshing on shared bites.  A singer will lead them in several songs to set the mood.  The speaker will address the group.  We will laugh.  We will cry.  We may feel convicted or inspired.  Then the ladies will pick up their purses, say their goodbyes, and head out the door.

It’s the same old Women’s Ministry routine you have been executing for as far back as you can remember.  Perhaps you really like these special events.  Or, it’s just “what has always been done”.   You see the same faces, you may have even long given up on trying to attract the women who don’t attend.

Or, maybe you lay awake at night… knowing there is something more to Women’s Ministry than what you have been doing. You can feel the Lord is calling you to something different.  You don’t know how.  Or what it would look like.  You just know that you are not satisfied with the same old, same old.

What if I was to suggest that the Lord is not calling you to something necessarily new… but instead the Lord is bringing you back to the way it was mean to be?

In the month of August we are going to look at the Biblical defense of Women’s Ministry (why we should have one), the Biblical Model of Women’s Ministry (what it should look like), The Detour (where we went wrong), and how to Reroute (find our way back).  We will also look at Significant Female Leaders in the early church through modern times.

It is time to breathe New Life into the Women’s Ministry.