To Teach or NOT to Teach?

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When you begin connecting with Women’s Ministry leaders from across the globe, a common question/theme begins to emerge.

“I am speaking on {insert topic} … do you have any suggestions?”

“I am supposed to give a devotion on {insert topic}… can you point me to one?”

Just because you are the Women’s Ministry leader, that does not mean YOU have to deliver every topic, teach every subject.  In 20 years of Women’s Ministry Leadership, I have only personally spoken twice to the women in our church.  Twice.   Yes, I do speak at other churches.  I have led Bible Studies.  However, I’ve never positioned myself as the sole presenter of information.  Why?  Because, I am not an expert on everything.  Other women have insight, education, experience, and testimony on subjects that I will simply never qualify for.

I’ve never been divorced.  I’ve never lost a child.  I have not battled addiction.  there are things I have endured, struggles to overcome.  I can speak about conflict in friendships, the changes that come with marriage over the decades.  My personal strengths bend toward apologetics and leadership development.  I know my lane, and I choose to stay in it.

The Lord may give you a vision for a topic to address, something that the women need to hear… but it doesn’t mean that He has appointed you the person to deliver that message.

As a leader, we should learn about the women in our church and ministry team.  Perhaps there is someone with the gift of writing and speaking that is better suited to deliver the messages.  There may be a woman who has walked a hard road that will speak truths about God in the midst of her crisis that will carry further than any word you would ever utter.  You may find that there is a woman with a depth of knowledge that surpasses anyone serving on your team, who sits down the row from you every Sunday morning.

It is our job to identify these women and equip them to share their experiences with others.  It is a gift to these women to be able to share from their life, how God has encountered them and become present in their circumstances.  It is also a gift to those who will receive the message, to hear from the perspectives of others.  When we invite women to share from within the body, we also open the doors of intimacy and connection among our members.  When we invite someone from outside the body to speak, we expand the world before our women to see that they are not alone or unique in their struggles.

Whether you are utilizing women from within your church to teach/speak, or invite someone in as a guest speaker, you are exercising wisdom in how you reach the women the Lord has put in your charge.  Knowing where your expertise ends and another’s begins is a solid leadership tool we should all embrace.   An added blessing, is that you are released from feeling the responsibility of knowing everything, all of the time.

Instead, reach out and connect with other leaders.  Share with one another, speak at each others’ events, introduce leaders from other churches to women in your ministry that have a story to tell.  We are all one body, of many parts, working toward sharing God’s love with everyone.  Our unique perspectives help us reach more people.

This does not mean that a leader can’t learn and present information on topics that she is not intimately involved in.  Rather, that we make sure before we tackle the subject, we first look to the women God has put in our lives to ensure there is not someone who has already been qualified in the topic.

Do You Know?

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When I was in retail management, we had a strategic plan for employees who wanted to advance through leadership positions.  It was called “G.O.A.L.S.” and the acronym stands for:  Growth – Opportunity – Advancement – Leadership – Success.

In the years since, I have used this acronym for quite a few different purposes, redefining it as needed.  Today, let’s look at what G.O.A.L.S. would look like for ministry.

GROWTH –   In previous articles we have addressed how numerical growth is not always a sign of success, especially in ministry.  It may ensure we can pay our bills and provide the volunteers to get work done.  The kind of growth we are looking for, as a ministry, should be spiritual growth.  Have we witnessed those who are under our care take steps forward in their spiritual walk.  Are they bearing good fruit?  Do they seem more confident in the Word?  Is their prayer life a higher priority?

OPPORTUNITY – There are two different types of opportunity that we can assess in our ministry work.  The first, is the opportunity to serve.  Have we made an effort to get to know the women in the church, and learn (or help her discover) their spiritual gifts?  Are their opportunities being presented to the women to serve within the church (or under the church in the community)?  The second, have we prepared our women for the opportunity to share the gospel?  We should be taking the time to train our women on how to recognize when the opportunity is presenting itself, and the confidence in how to share the gospel with others.

ADVANCEMENT –  To advance is to move forward, or move upward.  In assessing our ministry, we need to evaluate if we are providing room for advancement.  As a woman increases in her leadership ability, is there somewhere she can be placed to serve in that capacity?  Has the leadership created an environment where our team members are not trapped in long term commitment to serve with us, but instead have the freedom in knowing that if God is calling them up/out of ministry and into another we support that advancement.

LEADERSHIP – Have we created a pathway for the identification, development, and deploying of women in leadership positions within our ministry, church, or organization?  Leadership does not always look like a full time staff member with a title, leadership is one woman leading another woman in a mentoring relationship.  Leadership is overseeing a ministry or service area.  Leadership is taking on a task or project that the woman is gifted in.  Leadership is training other leaders.

SUCCESS – Ministry leaders should have an ongoing conversation with their overseers (Pastor/Elder/Deacon) about how the church measures success.  Additionally, the ministry itself should also have a measure for success.  We need to be able to look at each event, activity, offering and determine if it is successful or not.  This is how we know if an event should be offered again in the future, revamped, or scrapped completely.  Just because it is a “good thing” doesn’t mean it is a “God thing”.  We need to discern the difference, so that in all things we are working for His glory and His purpose.