Team Series: Hospitality

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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

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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.

Social Media Series – #1 Pinterest

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By Gena McCown, Women’s Ministry Council Co-Founder

This past week, I attended five day summit on Blogging.  It was an amazing opportunity to garner knowledge from the experience of bloggers that make a living off their blogs.  I was excited to see how it would help me in developing better content and even a financial benefit from my own personal blog.  What I didn’t expect was to take away some great information that we could use in our Women’s Ministries!

As WM Leaders, there are a LOT of questions that we get asked.

  • When is our next event?
  • Could you recommend a devotion or bible study?
  • Do you know of any GOOD Women’s Conferences?

Those are just a few of the questions that we get asked very often, but there are a slew of more personal ones too.

Wouldn’t it be nice to put all of those answers in one single place, where women can find the answers without having to pin you down after Sunday service? (Kidding!)

For most church websites, we have a limited amount of information we can include.   Many Women’s Ministries are turning to social media to serve as a point of information.  Utilizing social media platforms in this way gives the Women’s Ministry team a great way to communicate with their members, store information for future use,  and can even be used for fun.

When you set up a Pinterest account, you organize your page with pin boards.  These are like little miniature filing cabinets that you can title based on content.   You can set up a board for “Church Announcements” where you link back to the church website.  A pin board for “Community News” would be a perfect landing place for news in your community that would interest your members.  Or, create a pin board for “Christian Businesses” in your area that you can link to their websites.

You can also use the pin boards for fun things like “Crafts”, “Recipes”, “Heath & Fitness”.   For spiritual growth, create pin boards for “Bible Studies” or “Devotions”.  You could even link to your WM Facebook Group’s Events invitations, creating a WM Calendar of Events.    Have you ever had someone ask you about the worship songs from Sunday or  recent WM Event? Create a pin board.  Want to keep tabs on different organizations or ministries that your WM supports or volunteers with?  Create a pin board for that too!   It’s a limitless platform, where you can create as many pin boards as you want!

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Pinterest Boards are also a fantastic resource for the MW leaders.  We can create pin boards to store information on event planning, future studies we’d like to offer, decorating ideas, menus, themed events, products, leadership training, articles, retreat locations, and so much more.

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What I love about Pinterest is that you don’t have to choose.  If you decided to set up a Pinterest account for the women in the church to participate in, you can also use it for your WM leader team by creating “secret” boards.  First, select the “Create a board” square at the top left of your pin boards.

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A box will pop up for you to put in the details for the pin board, which contains a slider option for “secret”.  Slide to yes.  Now you have secret board that only you & those you assign as collaborators (under the slider) can see.  There is a limit to the number of secret boards you can create, so you will need to use broader terms for categorizing your team ideas.  However, it allows your pin board to serve a dual purpose.

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If you decide to create a Pinterest Account for your Women’s Ministry, please share it on our Facebook Group!  We can follow each other’s accounts and share ideas and inspiration!

Here is great outline on Pinterest for personal use, which I think is helpful.  Keep in mind, since it is a group to represent your church… use the church logo not your own personal photo for it.  Be sure to include the church website and other WM social media accounts you have registered.  You can update as needed.  If you need to, set up a gmail email account for your WM that you can use to register for social media platforms (even if you are not using it for members to communicate through).  I recommend this, because as WM leaders may change over the years, you can hand off that account information to future leaders (or other team members) without compromising your own personal accounts.

Invite the women from your church to your Pinterest Account, follow others WM Groups or Churches, and Retailers and Organizations that interest you as  WM leaders.  If you find an individual person who is posting great WM information, you can follow just that particular pin board without following their entire account.