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.

When Our Women Grieve

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Even though Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month ended, the pain and journey of the mothers who are grieving and healing still continues through the rest of the year.  We are taking a break from our “How to Start at Women’s Ministry Council” series to reflect on the words of our courageous friend Kayla Pesce.

If you missed Part One, read it here.

Part Two:

You’re probably wondering how I continued to co-lead that retreat while mourning. I sometimes wonder how I did too. The simple answer is I was extended immense grace in taking time off and surrendering certain responsibilities. Instead of teaching a break out session as planned I was able to focus on writing the devotional that each woman would use while at the retreat and the week following. This gave me a chance to read Scripture and seek God’s wisdom in a private space where I could be alone yet still providing spiritually for our retreat without exerting the effort of teaching.

Yes, this role shift was helpful, but the most practical help came from my sisters. The leader, our pastor’s wife, never put a single expectation on me in the sense that I had the freedom to say no and the freedom to fail without consequence. She allowed me to back out of responsibilities when they became too much, simply allowed me to grieve (however that looked that day), and most of all she grieved alongside me. The others (including all my friends) allowed me to struggle through what it looked like to continue my “normal” life with this new title of bereaved mother, and they too grieved with me.

These same women that cried with us in the hospital were now there to just do life with me again. Yes, there were stressful moments of the retreat that were hard to manage because of my grief, but there were also moments of rest and refreshment. I had the chance to share my story with a new woman I met, and I also cried with a friend while sharing a hammock by a lake. We danced our hearts out to 80’s music in neon pink tights and high pony tails, and we worshiped God together.

I did not fully realize the depth of their support during that time until recently when we began to plan our 2019 retreat. Again a core group gathered together to plan, and as I started to list the responsibilities I would take on I was caught off guard by the mama-bear style protection the other leaders approached me with. “Is this too much for you?” “Are you sure you can do this?” “Last year….” My immediate flesh reaction was defensiveness, because well, they must think I was a failure last year, right? I was hurt in that moment, and I responded rashly by saying, “but last year MY BABY DIED!” Almost immediately the Holy Spirit gently reminded me, “yes she did die, and that was hard, but you can trust them now because they were there with you then.”

I had to apologize to them, because it truly was never just MY trial to carry- this was OUR trial that we labored together and honestly, we are still laboring its after affects. As a women’s ministry team, as friends, and as sisters in Christ I think we all learned from this tragedy, our story, because we walked it together. Sometimes it was hard because grief is messy, but it was a beautiful picture of what God intended for our relationships on earth.

How can we learn to be leaders who support our women in times of tragedy and trial? I’d say start by taking advice from my friend’s actions: listen, empathize, cry with, help, extend grace, remove expectations, hold her up when she cannot stand, and remember to walk alongside her. And when Satan tries to intervene remain unified through the solid Rock on which you all stand.

“But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” Exodus 17:12

This was written in memory of Anna Joy Pesce, born into Heaven on October 7th 2017. May her life and memory always point to Jesus as Creator, Savior, and Sustainer.

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. THEREFORE, I also have lent {her} to the Lord; as long as {she} lives {she} shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there. -1 Samuel 1:27-28