Rest & Retreat Event, Part 1 of 2


The Women’s Ministry Council ended our 2017 year meeting in a new location.  CareNet Pregnancy Services of the Treasure Coast has opened up their new facility as hosts for the WMC meetings in 2018.  This is a blessing for us, and an answer to prayer.  We are so excited about this partnership and to be able to bring our leaders through the doors of CareNet and see how they serve the women in our community.

We were also blessed to be joined by Rozanne Brown of CareBag and Kenya Reinhard from 4Kids Treasure Coast, as guest speakers.

CareBag is a non-profit organization that serves the homeless in the Treasure Coast, as well as helping those transitioning from homelessness into housing.  What WMC loves about Carebag is not only that they are serving the least of these in our area, but it’s not just about giving them provisions but helping to restore dignity.   CareBag is currently fundraising for a mobile shower truck, that would be made available to our “neighbors without walls”.  Being about to shower isn’t just about being clean, but also about lifting up one’s mood.  Who doesn’t feel better after a good shower?  In addition, it allows these residents of our community to be presentable for job interviews as they try to stabilize their lives.  Please visit CareBag’s site to learn more about how you can help with the fundraising project, volunteer when CareBag serves out in the field, or other ways you can support the good work being done in our community.

Partner with CareBag as a Women’s Ministry by:

  • Follow CareBag’s Facebook Page for any immediate needs that can be met.
  • Host a collection drive for supplies that can go into CareBag’s that are delivered to the community.
  • Hold a fundraiser at your next Women’s Ministry event toward the Mobile Shower Unit.
  • Talk with your Pastor about financially supporting CareBag.
  • Volunteer in the community with CareBag as a ministry team.

4Kids Treasure Coast serves our foster community by connecting children with foster parents, support for those who are fostering, and those who move from fostering to adoption.  As they partner with churches, they are also able to create a network of support within the church as families open their homes to foster children.  Frankly, we need more Foster Families in the Treasure Coast.  4Kids is raising awareness on how we can all support this need.  You can become a Foster Family, donate toward building and equipping Foster Homes and Facilities, and also by supporting the Foster Families in your church (or encouraging more families to consider fostering).  For more information on becoming a Foster Family, or how to introduce fostering to your church… please visit 4Kids Treasure Coast’s site.

Partner with 4Kids Treasure Coast as a Women’s Ministry by:

  • Volunteering at the 4Kids offices stuffing information folders, mailers, and general needs.
  • Host a collection drive for items that foster children/families may need.
  • Fundraise toward the costs of building and equipping 4Kids Homes.
  • Create a stack of prayer cards for 4Kids to pass on to the children, foster parents.
  • Become a liaison in your church coordinating support for your foster family needs.  What a great position to add to your Women’s Ministry Team!

We’d like to thank Kregel Publications for donating copies of Letitia Suk’s book, Getaways with God, for our drawing prizes.  

Tomorrow, Tuesday, come back to the site for a recap on the remained of our “Rest & Retreat” event and information on how you too could win a copy of Getaways with God!


Look for the Helpers


Hurricanes.  Earthquakes.  Fires.  Flooding.  Protests.  Terrorism.

There is a lot happening in this world, but in times of despair believers cling to Hope.

That Hope compels us to not sit back watch the world fall apart around us, but instead to bring Hope to others.

We become “the helpers”.  Believers have always been the helpers.  Historically in the early church, our women took in the abandoned children.  We tended to the sick, forming the first hospitals.  In the wake of tragedy today, we see that our Faith Based Organizations lead the way in providing relief to those who have been impacted by forces of nature and political oppression.

We need not wait for the catastrophes to land at our doorstep in order to be a helper.

We are the helpers when we pay for her groceries, when take a collection of diapers, when we feed an empty belly, and clothe those who need it.  When we pool our money and resources to provide shelter and even comfort.

Women’s Ministry Council  #WoMinCouncil

There are people in your neighborhood right now, and they are looking for the helper.  The homeless man you pass every day on your way into to the coffee shop, he is looking for a helper.  The single mom who wants to attend small group, but lacks the means for childcare… she is looking for the helper.

How can your Women’s Ministry become a helper in your local community?

  • Find an organization to support as a Ministry.  Use your Women’s Ministry monthly brunches as an opportunity take a collection of goods or money for this ministry.
  • Look for volunteer opportunities for your Women’s Ministry to participate in and build up teams of women who will serve.
  • For larger causes, work together with Women’s Ministries from other churches.
  • Watch the news, check the paper, and keep a pulse on what is happening in your community.  There may be specific people you can assist.  
  • Talk as a team about how you want your ministry to respond to community needs or local disaster relief before it is needed.  Create an action plan, work out the details, and even work through a trial run if possible.  It’s good to have the plan in place, so that when the need arises we can respond immediately and efficiently.
  • Ensure that you have a list of recommendations for services (shelter numbers, abuse hotlines, Christian counselors, etc.) available to all leaders… including your Bible Study leaders.  This means we don’t waste time hunting down information and can act promptly.

We would love to hear your suggestions too!


Hospitality after a Hurricane


After a hurricane, or a crisis of any type, there are ways that we can be hospitable to our neighbors, community at large, and those on our church.

Here are some really simple suggestions to keep in mind, should you need to respond to a crisis in your area.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have taught us a few things.  After a natural disaster, members of your (or neighboring) community may not have access to:

  • Power
  • Water
  • Food
  • Shelter

If you have POWER:

  • It may be incredibly hot, offer up an afternoon in your cool air conditioning.
  • After a few days, it is amazing how a hot shower can change your mood.
  • Offer up room in your freezer to help a family save what food they can.
  • A mom with bored kids would be happy to charge up her devices.
  • A hot meal is never unappreciated after several days of canned soup and Vienna sausages.
  • Depending on how much time has passed, even offering up your washing machine and dryer can be a blessing to those who need to return to work or school.
  • If you have a generator, and you don’t need it because your power is still working, offer up the generator to a local family to borrow.  Particularly helpful to our elderly, special needs families, and those with illnesses.
  • Even walking the neighborhood with a thermos of hot coffee to share is a welcomed treat.
  • Allowing neighbors to charge up cel phones gives them the opportunity to contact family and let them know they are safe and handle any immediate arrangements.

If you have WATER:

  • Even if they have power, without water a hot shower is still out of the question.  If you have power and water, again… a hot shower or even use of your washing machine and dryer is a gift.
  • If you have clean water, considering passing on your bottled water to those families who don’t have clean water.  Or filling up 5 gallon buckets they can use for bathing until they have water again.
  • If you have power and water, make ziplock bags full of water and freeze them.  Share with families who need ice.
  • Homes that have received damage may need to be cleaned up, a few buckets of water can start the process.
  • Ice cold water is something great to share with the neighbors who are cleaning up their yards, linemen trying to get power and phones restored, etc.

If you have FOOD:

  • Create hot meals for those who have been living off sterno warmed soup and canned goods.
  • Donated your unopened canned goods to local shelters that may be housing residents displaced from their homes.
  • Workers from other states helping restore power, phones, and water won’t have homes to return to each night.  If local restaurants are closed, they may have trouble finding meals.  One thing we have learned is that these guys and gals deserve a good meal too, and many locals have taken on the task of feeding them.
  • In a best case scenario where your area has been spared, you can donate your food to other communities or your local organizations that help the homeless.

If you have SHELTER:

  • Sometimes, after the main storm has passed there is still rain and flooding.  Friends and neighbors may need temporary shelter until the remaining weather passes and the water recede.  
  • Before, and for a short time after, local animal rescues may need home to temporarily foster dogs and cats.
  • People who are at risk due to illness or age, may need a safe place to stay during or immediately after the storm, until family members and organizations can help them.

If you are a CHURCH:  

Becoming a hot spot where people at large can stop in to cool off, get a bite, a cold drink, and get assistance if possible benefits the whole community.  Those who need to access phone numbers, emails, and fill out online fema forms will be thrilled to have wifi.  Consider not only how your church can help people prepare for the storm, or even shelter during the storm; but how can you be there for your community the days and weeks after.

Team Series: Hospitality


Team Series:  Hospitality by Gena McCown

Hospitality is probably one of the most beautiful words in the English language, especially if you are a Southern Girl.  Hospitality smells of fresh brewed coffee on the other side of an unlocked door, where the mat says “Always Welcome”.  It reminds me of a time where friends just stopped by to shoot the breeze, and inviting people into our home was a regular occurrence.  Women gathered around the kitchen table or in the livingroom, bibles open and snacking on homemade lemon bars.  Sweet Tea on the back porch as we prayed over each other.  My Great Aunt’s perfumed powder wafting across the nose of every woman she greeted with a hug as they crossed her threshold.

Hospitality is what makes us feel welcomed into a space, warm and relaxed… at home. 

There are some women who are simply PRONE to hospitality, it is their genetic code.  They will look for ways to invite people into their home.  Quick to volunteer to host a luncheon or meeting.  There will always been enough food, and drinks.  The bathroom will smell of fresh dried lavender.  There will be a chocolate mint on every pillow at the retreat center.  She lives to make people feel special, and loved. 

This woman is important to your Women’s Ministry, this is a role to be on your top priority to fill. Why?

Hospitality Leaders are:

  • Women of influence.  Typically if they go to an event, they bring and encourage others to come too.  My Pastor’s wife calls them “connectors”.
  • Genuinely are excited to see every woman who enters the room, and make it a point of meeting the new faces.
  • Generous with their homes and time.
  • Quick to organize meals for the sick, new moms, new families, etc.
  • Find joy in the details of their tasks.
  • Have vast amounts of knowledge when it comes to finding locations for events from luncheons to weekend long retreats.
  • Are usually effective event planners, or at least great on event teams.
  • They have an eye for femininity that pragmatic leaders tend to lack, but those attending our events will appreciate.

Their Role in Ministry:

  • Event Planning Leader/Team – brunches, luncheons, retreats, teas, etc.
  • Meals Ministry Leader/Team – sick, new mom, etc.
  • Welcoming Committee Leader/Team – how do we welcome new women to our church?
  • Hosting Team Meetings or planning meetings (even if they are on the team)

A note of caution, women who have the gift of hospitality are often creative types.  Which means for events like retreats, you may do best to pair them with an A type personality.  One is in charge of the schedule, finding the speakers, planning the technical side of the event; the other is responsible for the meals, special touches, speaker gifts, etc.   It is important to know your women, their gifts and strengths… as well as their weaknesses.  Occasionally you have the blessing of a woman with the gift of hospitality and administration, and she’s the gal whom you can give the whole task and trust she’ll get it done. 

Women with the gift of hospitality are also typically generous and will have beautiful ideas to make women feel special and welcomed at events.  However, these special touches can impact your event budgets.  It is important to be clear with your hospitality leader the budget she has for her tasks.  I have known many of these women who would be happy to pay out of their own pockets to make up the difference, but I do generally ask them not to.  Simply because we need to keep up a budget that all team members present and future can work with.  If she supplements her budget, out of pocket, yes the event will be magnificent… but it may be hard for a future leader who replaces her to do the same.  Encourage these women to do the best they can within the agreed budget, but don’t be surprised if they “gift” a thing or two over time.


Team Series: Second In Command


Team Series:  The 2nd in Command by Gena McCown

One of the first tasks any good leader should do is to find, appoint, equip, and build up second in command.  A President has a Vice President, executives have junior executives, even Pastors have Associate Pastors or Elders they can call on.  Why is this an important role to fill on your ministry team? 

What if the Lord removed you from your Women’s Ministry right this second?  What would happen?

A family emergency takes you unexpectedly out of town.  One of your children become hospitalized.  Your spouse gets reassigned and you have to move this weekend.  You are threatened with a health crisis of your own.

Any number of things can happen that will unexpectedly pull us away from our ministry work, sometimes it is temporary and other times it is not.  Could your team function in your absence?  I’ve always felt the mark of a good leader is that their absence is not noticed. 

I have been on a team where this happened, and we were left scrambling.  It wasn’t that she was a bad leader, in many ways she was a great leader.  However, she had never taken any one under her wing to serve as a second in command.   When she left, we had a lot of plans on the calendars but none of us knew all the background info that she had been working on.   There we many decisions that needed to be made and a weight of uncertainty in the air.  Had there been someone working directly under her, who had knowledge of these details… it would have been a much easier process.

There are primary two ways you can work with a second in command, the first is similar to a hierarchy structure. This leader in training is kept up to date with the details of the ministry, but doesn’t have any more power than other members of the team.  You will walk them through the ropes of running the ministry, but you hold all executive power in the final decision making.  Their purpose is to be ready to take over the reigns of the ministry, should the time come.  

The second way is as a Co-Leader, this woman will have a bit more power/pull/weight to her opinion than other team members.  She may not have the ultimate say when it comes to the ministry decisions, but her opinion carries greater influence.  Her role is to slip in and out of leading the group as needed.  This is the woman who can fill in while the leader is on vacation, or take over for a matter of few months when a leader is going through a crisis.  In a large ministry, you may even have more than 1 co-leader and even give them particular team members that they oversee. 

In both cases the Women’s Ministry Leader is responsible for developing these future leaders to take over her job.  However in the case of a Leader in Training, this is your ace in your back pocket that you bring out only when you need to.  Whereas a Co-Leader has a far more active role in the ongoing ministry work.

A Second in Command Leader Should:

  • Have a heart for women’s ministry in the church and community.
  • Dedicated to the church, and exhibit a solid relationship with Christ.
  • She should be trainable, you don’t need a person with experience.
  • Dependable, showing up to meetings regularly and completes her tasks.
  • Shares ideas that will help the ministry function better.
  • Excited by serving others.

What She Should Know:

  • Keep her up to date on the ministry finances.
  • Location of important documents, passwords, keys, codes, etc.
  • Contact information and details associated with event planning.
  • Overview of information pertinent to the Women’s Ministry from staff meetings or the Pastor (only information pertinent to WM, please).
  • Access to team members contact information.
  • Overview of meeting agendas in advance, and what are her meeting responsibilities.

In the past, Women’s Ministry Leaders have created binders full of important ministry information that could be passed like a baton to incoming leaders.  Now, we can share documents online via google documents (if you have a gmail account).  This helps leaders stay connected, work and update tasks between meetings, etc.  If you are interested in starting a Women’s Ministry Binder… check out Pinterest for GREAT suggestions, printable worksheets, and more.

I love to see these developing leaders active versus people I siphon information into.  So, intermittently as part of training, allow her to completely lead a meeting from start to finish.  You can work her up to this by giving her small responsibilities and increasing them over time.  Give her a larger task to oversee, like planning a brunch or finding new small group leaders.  See if she has a passion for something to add into the ministry that you can put her at the helm, like a prayer ministry or mentoring program.

While it is great to have a second in command who has a similar ministry vision as you, it’s also great to bring someone along side you that has new ideas to bring to the table.  You may wish to strategically develop a younger woman, select a woman who is transitioning out of another ministry leadership role (previous MOPS Leaders are great for future Women’s Ministry Leaders), or you could find someone that just has a HUGE heart for women.  While experience isn’t necessary, their level of experience will determine how much time you need to spend developing their skills.

We can predict when a changing of the guard is going to happen, but when it is within our ability we should make sure this woman is fully ready to assume command of the ministry before we retire or voluntarily step down.  You can begin by steadily increasing her leadership, while culling your leadership back.  This also makes for an easier transition for your team members who have served loyally with you over the past years.  Give your team members advanced notice that you are planning to step down in a few months and that you are transitioning the new leader into place.  When they come to you with questions or concerns  funnel them toward the new leader instead of dealing with it yourself.  You are not only training a new leader, but the team to trust her leadership.

If you plan on still serving with the Women’s Ministry after stepping down form leadership, I recommend taking a few months off.  Allow the women to get accustomed to serving under the new leadership, and then ease yourself back in.  Leaders leave a legacy even when they don’t intend to, and it can take time for members to adjust to a different leadership style and new ideas.  Change is hard, even in ministry service.

Team Series: Taking the Lead


Taking the Lead, By Gena McCown

I think many of us would love to be apart of a Women’s Ministry Team in which everyone works together as a team, pulling their own weight, making decisions cohesively, and leading in turn with one another as a group effort.  However, I find that as ideal as that may sound… it is very rarely practical.  There are two reasons that have brought me to this conclusion:

  1. Every group needs that one person who can make the hard, final decision.  This is the person who has the tie breaker vote.  The person who can make decisions on behalf of the group when there is not enough time meet and discuss.
  2. As the church and ministry grow, clear distinct roles help avoid chaos and a team of women who have no idea who is responsible for what.

The conclusions came not from reading books on Women’s Ministry, but from years of personal leadership experience.  I’ve been on the “group effort” teams and also on the “structured” teams, and I assure you the latter is the one that works the most effectively and into the long term.

Sometimes, a team may start off small and so the “group effort” style seams to work well.  However, as a ministry grows that becomes less effective and even worse hard to change.  Therefore, I have always recommended that any ministry start off with the future in mind when it comes to their structure.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a team of fifteen titled women when your small church has only 30 women in the whole congregation.  What it does mean is that from the very start everyone on the team understands that they have a specific roll to play that may become more defined and even divided as the ministry grows.

The first position we need to fill is that of the Leader, the head honcho, the decision maker, and the one whom all accountability for the ministry is going to fall upon.  This leader should have the following characteristics:

  • Genuine love and concern for the faith walk of the women in the church.
  • A heart for community outreach and service beyond the walls of the church.
  • Dedication to the church, personal study and prayer life.
  • Good standing with other church leaders.
  • Ability to balance her responsibilities (home, work, ministry).
  • Organized, punctual, detail oriented, able to delegate.
  • Eyes that see the big picture, a mind that dreams Kingdom sized dreams.

A leader stands in the gap between the Church Staff and the Women’s Ministry Team.  She should care about the Church’s vision, and be in communication with the Pastor or Elder that oversees the Women’s Ministry.  As the leader, she will need to understand when to put her own desires for the ministry aside when they do not align with the vision of the Church.   She needs to be able to encourage the team to do the same in a way that is positive and beneficial.

Depending on the size of your ministry, as a leader she may be very hands on.  This leader will be serving on committees and working along side the team in various ways.  She may pick up the slack when volunteers are lacking, or wrangle up more help when needed.  Or, she may be more of a coordinator who has delegated out duties to various team leaders. Her job is to manage those leaders for the end goal. 

The Women’s Ministry Leader should be seeking and developing new team members and even her own eventual replacement.  Her heart should be open to bringing in a diversity of women with varying gifts and experiences, not creating a team of women who are exactly like her.  Discernment will help her find the women, develop their skills, and when to begin giving them more responsibilities. 

Whether she is a volunteer or considered a member of the paid staff, she has the responsibilities of ensuring the ministry is a good steward of their budget.  She will research ministry trends, ideas, and resources to help the long term growth and development of the ministry.  And, she will recognize the responsibility she has taken on for the aiding in the spiritual development of the women in her charge.

As the leader, she should make an effort to get to know her team members more personally so that she can be on the look out for signs of ministry burn out, or when their gifts are not matched the tasks they have been assigned.  She should feel comfortable correcting women on her team, but engaged in equipping these women as leaders.  She sets the tone and the example the rest of the team will follow. 

Your Women’s Ministry Leader is the face of the ministry to the church, and she will be burned with their suggestions, criticisms, opinions, and requests.  Therefore it is imperative that the team members are praying for their leader’s heart and wellbeing. 

If your ministry currently doesn’t have an official leader, prayerfully consider making that decision.  You can do so as a group, taking nominations and letting everyone vote.  You could even ask for a volunteer.  However, I would suggest as a group to come to agreement with the need of a leader.  Writing down names of those who volunteer, and then handing that list to your overseeing Pastor/Elder to make the final decision.  This can eliminate hard feelings among the team members toward each other.

Women’s Ministry Leader, The First Tasks:

  • Talk with your Pastor about the vision for the church, and how the WM can support it.
  • Build your team by assessing spiritual gifts, allow the team input into the WM vision.
  • Finalize your WM Team vision, goals, and action steps to get there.
  • Start developing your future replacement, and encouraging your team members to do the same.

Is Your Ministry Visible?


On a Saturday morning, when your women’s ministry gathers to serve… who are you serving?   Is it the women of your church?  Their friends, family, and coworkers whom they invited to share in the day.  Or, are your tables filled with unfamiliar faces?  Faces that wear the marks of pain, struggle, loneliness, and longing for something they can’t put their finger on.

On a Saturday morning, when your women’s ministry gathers to serve… where are you serving?   In the comfort of your sanctuary, singing praise music, taking an offering, listening to a speaker?  Are you in the banquet area of your church, detailed centerpieces, a spread of homemade foods to feed an army, watching a bible study video, and having table discussions?  Or, are you out being the hands and the feet to those who are living on the streets, struggling to pay their bills, pulling weeds, painting houses, reading to the blind, shopping for the invalid, and serving the “least of these”?

Let me assure you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with serving the women of our church.  The women in our churches need encouragement, accountability, opportunities for growth, mentorship, and in their times of need we have a responsibility to minister to those needs.  However, this can not be the extent of how we serve our community.  We need to be willing to step out of our comfort zones and church walls.

When we serve the community, we serve like Christ.   When we serve those who are overlooked or outcasts, we serve like Christ.  When we serve others who serve, we serve like Christ.  Look to your community and ask yourself… if I was looking for Christ, where would I find him?  Who would He be talking to, who would He be serving.  Then go, and serve.  I guarantee that He is serving along side you… as you serve the body, He touches their spirit.

What are some tangible ideas for serving your community?

  • Host a luncheon for those who are serving the community in your area, to thank them for their service and to help them refuel their bodies for their work.  I would not limit yourself to only “ministries” either.  For example, you could contact a local food bank and offer to host a thank you luncheon for their volunteers.   Treat the teachers who work in the most troubled schools to a breakfast treat or catered lunch.
  • Host a baby shower for the local crisis pregnancy center to restock their inventory of goods they distribute to their clients.
  • Pack up bags for the homeless that contain a snack, hygiene items, etc. and plan a date to hit the streets and distribute them.  Pinterest has a ton of great suggestions for this project.
  • Host a luncheon for women who are being freed from the local prison, as part of their transition process.  Feed them, pray over them, find out what needs they have for reentering society, and then see what you can drum up.  Coordinate with a local salon to host a day of free haircuts for the women, a local thrift store to give each woman a certificate for 1 complete outfit for interviews.  Find out what items they can take ba the prison with them, and make gift bags filled with those items to bring back with them.  Or, find volunteers willing to go to the prisons and pray/minister to the women.
  • Volunteer at local soup kitchens, women’s shelters, etc.  Give time, or even begin a regular process of collecting donations for their needs.  Include bringing those needed items as part of your admission to an event.
  • Find local speakers for your events who are willing to donate their time, while the money from the tickets goes to organizations in need within the community.  Use your brunches as an avenue to collect money or goods.
  • Hold your next brunch somewhere in the community, a local restaurant or park.  Post signs that the community is welcome.
  • Find empty nesters in your church who love children, and pair them up with young teen or single mothers for mentoring.  These are women who need childcare in order to go to work. Foster a real relationship building opportunity.
  • Partner with other churches and create a support group for our Female Combat Veterans.
  • Create a tutoring center for single mothers who are trying to earn their college degree (or high school).  Or, a workshop that teaches English to speakers of other languages.
  • Bring gift baskets to the local strip club for the women who work their, remind them of their value.
  • Host bible studies in community centers, retirement homes, nursing/rehab facilities.
  • Find a neighboring church and host a lunch for their ministry leaders (Pastors, staff, study leaders, ministry leaders).

These are just a few ideas on what you can do in your community to let them know they are seen, known, and cared for.  Just close your eyes and pray… “Lord, give me your eyes to see the needs.  Give me courage to step out of my comfort zone in order to serve those whom you love.  Point me in the direction in which you want me to go.  Here I am Lord, send me.  Amen.”