Preach the Gospel to Yourself

PREACHTHEGOSPELTOYOURSELFDuring my trip to The Gospel Coalition Conference this year, I had an opportunity to meet with a mentor via Serge.org .   This mentoring session was very fruitful for me personally, but I also wanted to share more about something that was repeated a few times throughout the conference.

It was a reminder to us as leaders that we must preach the Gospel to ourselves daily.  But why?

Through my Serge.org mentor, I was introduced to the idea that leaders can get so caught up in the success and failure model in regards to ministry that we can forget the Gospel.

Have you ever said or thought:

Well, I must be doing a good job because God has blessed our ministry with success.

God must be blessing our work, because He has been providing for our needs.

The Lord’s blessing must be on our ministry, because we have seen an increase in numbers.

I must be doing something wrong, I just can’t seem to get any momentum on this project.

The Lord’s favor must not be on this ministry, because we are not growing… we are shrinking.

What is the problem with these thoughts?

They are works based, not faith based.  They imply that success or failure is a result of God being pleased or displeased with something we are doing.   Scripture says that the Lord’s favor falls on righteous and the unrighteous alike, that he raises the sun on the good and evil each day (Matt 5:45,46).

When we run our ministry under the measure of success and failure based on our perception of God’s favor; we are suggesting that we (individually, as a team, as a church) are doing something that God will reward, or God will withhold from.

There is no freedom when you are bound up measuring your ministry by success and failure.  That is a worldly measurement.  Instead our freedom lies in that we are adopted children of God, before we are leaders.  We have His favor because He has given it to us according to His goodness, regardless of how well we run our ministry.  He loves us.  Plain and simple.

When we love Him, and seek to do His will…

When our eyes are set on Him, and our Hearts are in tune to His heart…

When we become His hands and feet…

We serve and we serve well, whether we are serving one woman or one thousand.

When we allow ourselves to get trapped in the success failure model, when things are going well… we feel good.  We feel in God’s favor, we feel as if we are pleasing Him, we feel joy and hopeful.   On the other hand, when our ministry is in a valley and we feel like a failure, then we don’t feel good at all.  We feel like we have disappointed God, or that we are doing something wrong that He wouldn’t reward our work and ministry.  We can even take on guilt that others are not being blessed because of our failure.

We can get so buy sharing the Gospel to others, that we can forget the Gospel is meant for us.  The Freedom of the Cross is a gift for us, too.  So, as much as we need to share the Gospel with others and we can do this through our ministry (in fact, it should be our primary goal)…

… we must share the Gospel with ourselves every morning.

The success or failure of my ministry work has nothing to do with God’s love for me or approval.

His love for me existed before I was in my mother’s womb, and will exist through eternity.  Nothing can separate that.

Ministry work is the icing on the cake, where we celebrate the Gospel with others.

Mentor Value

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

pile of hands isolated on white, Caucasian, African American, Hispanic race.Mentorship is important, it is something that the Women’s Ministry Council has encouraged through our meetings and website articles.  When we can put together formal mentoring programs in our Women’s Ministries, we are equipping the women in the church and it trickles outward to those who are in their sphere of influence.

As leaders, we need mentoring as well.  While it may be harder to meet with a mentor on a weekly basis, as we juggle the balance between home life, work life, and ministry life; mentorship is not something to be neglected.  Your mentor may be the overseeing Pastor, a Pastor’s wife, an older woman in the church, or even a Women’s Ministry leader hundreds of miles away that you connect with periodically.

Mentors serve as a landing place where we can not only talk about the practical ins and outs of ministry work, but where we can also come to face some uncomfortable truths.  At the beginning of April, I attended The Gospel Coalition conference.  As part of the conference, there were a few opportunities to attend other events.  One was a breakfast event, sponsored by Serge.org, for Pastors and ministry leaders.  In addition to listening to two amazing speakers, everyone had the opportunity to sign up for a one hour mentoring session with a Serge Mentor.

My intentions were to take advantage of the mentor opportunity in reference to the future of the Women’s Ministry Council.  I signed up with a mentor who had experience as a Pastor, in the mission field, and organizational backgrounds.  We began our conversation with my sharing about what the Women’s Ministry Council is and the long term vision for the ministry; where we were at currently and some of the obstacles we are facing.  I was looking for someone who would give me practical ideas to overcome those obstacles.

What I got was someone who was more interested in ME and less about what I was doing.  He asked questions like:

  • How is your marriage right now?
  • How do you feel about these obstacles?
  • What about your ministry work brings you joy?

Then he hit me with a hard punch….   “I want you to close your eyes and imagine God talking to you right now, what would He say to you?”

I wasn’t prepared for that question.  Or, what my answer would mean.  I was grateful for the conversation that would come from it.  This is what a mentor does, it’s not just about practical steps and problem solving, but an investment in the person.  Asking the questions, getting to the deeper issues, being able to see what may not be obvious to the other person.

This is also why, as leaders, it is important that we have a mentor speaking into our life.  Peers are great for accountability, but mentors are speaking from experience.  Whether you have a regularly weekly meeting or a quarterly check in session, mentors help us see beyond the obvious from a neutral position.  This is why it is best to have someone who is not directly involved with the ministry work.

The Pastor that oversees the ministry can give you perspective from the outside looking in and within the parameters of the church vision.  A long term (or retired) Women’s Ministry leader in another state can speak to you from experience.  A neutral third party may help you see beyond the actual ministry and how the work is affecting your life.  Prayerfully consider how having a mentor involved in your life will not only bless YOU but also those you lead.

Ministering to Women – Part 3

For those who were unable to attend the Mentoring and Ministering training event, we are ending our recap from our speakers.  Today, we are going to share some of Aimee Nelson’s talking points about ministering to our mothers of unexpected pregnancies.  Aimee is a Senior Pastor’s wife, speaker, author, and founder of YouMom YouMom is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed for the purpose of providing emotional, practical and spiritual support for single, young girls who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy

It is incredibly important for us, the leaders of the Women’s Ministry Council, to not only work on providing quality training for Women’s Ministry leaders and their team members; but also connect them to resources and encourage how their ministries will impact our community.  Therefore we ended this year, and will be focusing the better part of next year on intentional discipleship.   When Jenny Andrews spoke the group, she hit a very key point… mentoring is an intentional act.  As leaders we need to be positioning seasoned women in our churches into positions where they can mentor the new believers.  However, our reach doesn’t stop there.

I can’t think of a single church that hasn’t been impacted by an unexpected pregnancy.  The truth is that every single Christian church was founded on the ministry of a baby born unexpectedly.  When Aimee Nelson shared her heart for women who face unexpected pregnancies, she said two things that jumped out at me and I keep finding myself returning to.

  1.  When Mary found out she was pregnant, she went to her cousin Elizabeth.  Mary had a woman who would walk alongside her in this pregnancy.  She didn’t go this journey alone.
  2. We must not forget that teen moms are not the only unexpected pregnancies that will happen in our church.  Think of that mom, with adult children, who finds out she is pregnant.  Married or not, this too is an unexpected pregnancy and she will need women to walk alongside her.  A lot may have changed in the world since she was last parenting a baby.

Aimee Neslon didn’t waste one second to get right to the point, when she posed this question:

We would all agree that mentoring is necessary and pertinent, and in most churches we do it well.  However, I want to pose a question.  If a teen mother walked into your church, would there be a place for her to go and be ministered to?

Aimee Nelson, Founder of YouMom

Aimee pointed out that churches have conveyed strong messages about not having an abortion, and celebrating those who walk away from the abortion clinic. Yet, she hit us all right in the heart when she asked who from the church was going to walk alongside her now that she has chosen life?  Strongly encouraging us to see this as an opportunity to share the love of Christ.

“On her Facebook Page, Aimee referred to these young mothers as the “Modern Day Widows” and that has struck a cord for me.   These are young women who, regardless of the reason, are left alone to raise their children without a spouse at their side.  If we are called in the scripture to help the widow, the orphan, and the alien… it includes our teen and single mothers”

Gena McCown

Aimee shared about the work her ministry, YouMom, does within their community.  This includes and intentional mentoring program where the mothers earn “bucks” to spend in their “store”.  The community supplies things from diapers, clothes, formula, etc. for the “store” and the women can spend the “bucks” they earn by attending mentoring sessions and group meetings.  These meetings cover prenatal counseling and birth coaching through helping the moms after the babies have been born.  Mixed in with the practical mothering advice, these young moms are introduced to Jesus.  They have celebrated many of these girls accepting Christ into their lives and being baptized.  Aimee’s group is creating a legacy in her community.

A few months ago, I met a woman who shared the following story with me.  She had been invited as a teen to attend youth group with one of her Christian friends.  Her family didn’t attend church and she enjoyed the youth group and fellowship.  Then, she found out she was pregnant.  Afraid that she would set a bad example for the other teens, the Youth Pastor asked her not to return.  She walked her pregnancy alone, and became a teen mom.  A few months after her child was born, tragically the baby died.  She not only had to endure the pregnancy alone, but also her grief and mourning.  When the church eventually learned what happened, suddenly they wanted to rally around her.  She declined their offer and has never stepped foot in a church again. 

We need to do better as a church, and the Women’s Ministry can be a driving force in making this happen.  We can reach out to our single moms in the church and in the community, in a positive and helpful way. 

There were seven specific things that Aimee shared that we can do as a Women’s Ministry, and church, as we come up along side these young moms.  We are going to highlight these points.  If you would like more information, I would encourage you to reach out to Aimee Nelson via YouMom or find her on Facebook.

  1. Acceptance – They need to know that they are welcomed and loved. 
  2. Affirmation – We can affirm her, as we affirm the choice she made FOR LIFE.
  3. Accountability – Connect her to a mentor, to help her set and accomplish goals.
  4. Respect – Teen pregnancy often results in the girl being disrespected by friends, family, and strangers.  When she is shown respect, it solidifies her choice of life was the right one.
  5. Support – She is under a load of stress and emotions, she needs to know she’s not walking alone.
  6. Grace & Compassion – When she realizes she deserves grace, she will not only extend it to others but will begin to walk in that grace.
  7. Knowledge that Her Life Is Not Over –  Teen moms often feel that their dreams are over because of the pregnancy (education, career, marriage, etc).  She needs to know that this too is now a season of her life, and there is more ahead.  Remind her of her value and worth, and that God is a redeeming God.

How can our Women’s Minsitries create this space?  Aimee suggests the following:

Pray, and ask God to open your eyes.  Are there any teen moms in your church or in your community?  What are their needs?  Do we have valuable resources that might assist them?  Pray over what your church can do (starting a support group, financially supporting a community support group, collecting goods for a pregnancy closet, volunteering at a pregnancy crisis center).  Pray for these girls, their babies, and that they will see their value in God.

Be an advocate for these girls.  When you see someone speaking down to them, be a voice and stand up for them.  Proverbs 31:7-8 says, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”  And, Psalm 82:3-4 reads “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and destitute.  Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Aimee Nelson, YouMom

Aimee closed by reminding us that one girl’s yes, 2000 years ago, changed the universe.  What could your yes change?  When the church partners together and we walk alongside a young woman, we are letting her know that hope is in front of her.   We empower and equip her, having an impact on two lives at one time.

Mentoring Women – Part 2

For those who were unable to attend the Mentoring and Ministering training event, we’d love to recap some highlights from our speakers.  Today, we are going to share some of Jenny Andrew’s talking points about intentional mentoring.  Jenny Andrews was mentored under the One to One Discipling materials when she first became a Christian.  For nearly five years she has been mentoring others under that same curriculum.

Mentoring needs to intentional.

  • Sometimes we assume that people naturally understand what we mean when we give them instructions.   Jenny sited an example of instructing her toddler son on a task, only to find him in a hysterical predicament.  She assumed he understood his instructions, but since no one had ever taught him a particular term… well, he used his toddler logic to fill the gap.  We teach them, because we love them.
  • When we start a new job, we don’t show up on the first day understanding everything expected of us.  We require training and time.  Someone had to show us how to do the job.   Someone was intentional in teaching you, whether out of love or because they were paid to.
  • Jesus intentionally pour into his disciples, and the people He would encounter.  Jenny shared with us the scripture, Luke 6:12-16.  Jesus selected Judas Iscariot as a disciple, even though He knew that Judas would betray Him.  Jesus still poured into Judas, teaching him and guiding him.

I really thought this was a fantastic point, that Christ knew that Judas would ultimately betray Him… and yet that didn’t stop Jesus from investing in Judas.  Especially in Women’s Ministry, we can be hurt by the women we serve along with.  A friend once said “even sheep will bite”.  If Jesus can love and invest in Judas, then I can serve or serve alongside those who may have hurt me.  This doesn’t mean we become doormats, it is healthy to establish boundaries, we can love and pray for them from a safe distance. 

Jenny Andrews continued, by sharing that it isn’t enough to see the example made by Jesus, but that we need to put that into practice too.  If we are to be Christ-like, we must do Christ-like things.   We start in prayer and then more forward into intentional disciple making.

I felt the need to share with others about the One to One Program because I went through it myself and it taught me a lot.  The One to One Discipling ministry that I co-lead at my church has ministered to at least 100 women in the last 5 years since it started.

Jenny Andrews, Connect Church

Jenny co-leads a team that averages fifteen mentors at any given time, and each mentor will have just a small handful of women they mentor to.  Using the One to One Discipling program, these mentors use the materials with sixth graders on up.  Jenny shared that they adjust the materials to the specific dynamics of their church and the ages they are mentoring.  Which means the curriculum allows flexibility.  The program is designed for nine weeks, but you can adjust it to the frequency that your mentors and mentees have available.  In some cases, women have chosen to go through the materials repetitively.
Every time I do it, I learn something new.
Jenny Andrews, Connect Church
Their mentoring program is used for mature women who want a deeper understanding of the scriptures, or for newly baptized women.  The goal is to create solid believers who have a basic understanding of the faith, using scripturally based materials.  While it may seem intimidating, a structured curriculum like this makes it possible for any of us to mentor another woman.  We are not walking through it alone, either.  We are all in this together.
What if each woman here took on one women in our church’s and being to
pour into them what we know?  We would have solid believing Christian
women because we believed in them.
Jenny Andrews, Connect Church
Jenny left us with the follow challenge:
Can I encourage you to set a goal whether you use this tool or another to be intentional on mentoring at least one woman this year?  Ladies, we are in
this together.  We need women who will mentor us in new areas and season
of our lives.  We also need to be those women.
Jenny Andrews, Connect Church

You can connect with Jenny Andrews via her Facebook page or Blog, or at an upcoming Women’s Ministry Council meeting.  Thank you Jenny, for sharing your heart for mentoring.  We are blessed by your words and challenged as leaders to be intentional!

Monday, we will finish up our recap with speaker Aimee Nelson.

Mentoring & Ministering to Women

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Mentoring & Ministering to Women, Part 1 by Gena McCown

This Saturday, twenty five women’s ministry leaders attended a special training event on Mentoring and Ministering to women.  Author Gloria Furman once defined “Women’s Ministry” as any act of ministering to the needs of women.  Each church is comprised of women with a variety of needs, and areas where we can serve, leaving no two ministries identical.  Yet, the methodology is the same.  We are women who are rooted in scripture, dedicated to prayer, faithfully living out our calling to build a Women’s Ministry that is gospel centered and disciple making.

Later this week, in Part 2 of this series, we are going to recap some of the speakers points and talk a little more in depth about mentoring and discipling of women.  However, today I would like to share our gratitude with the supporters who walk alongside of the work we are doing here in S. Florida.  We couldn’t do this without their support and prayers.  If you attended, we’d love for you to give some social media love.  If you didn’t get to attend, check out these great resources!

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First, we’d like to thank NavPress for their donation of “The Gentle Art of Discipling Women” by Dana Yeakley.   Discipleship needs to be an intentional focus for Women’s Ministry, and each our leaders in attendance received a copy to share with her ministry team.

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When discipling women, it is great to have a reference resource to help navigate through questions we may not have all the answers for.  FaithWords donated a copy of “ABC’s of Christianity” by Terdema Ussery for each Women’s Ministry Leader in attendance.

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If you are looking for a straightforward structured system for discipline, check out Multiplication Ministries mentoring curriculum, “One to One Discipling for Women”.  They also have a version for men.  Our speaker, Jenny Andrews, spoke on her experiences with the materials and how they have incorporated them into their church.  (We’ll cover this a bit more in part 2).   Ten ministry leaders brought home a copy of “One to One Discipling for Women”.

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For those look for a less structured mentoring program, you may want to look at “Organic Mentoring” by Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann.  Eight of our ministry leaders received a copy of this book at our event, but all of our women can read the first three chapters on our Facebook page.  Thanks Kregel Publications!

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Quite often when we talk about mentoring, we think of the scriptures in Titus 2.  Crossway Publishers donated two copies of “Spiritual Mothering:  The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women” by Susan Hunt.  Crossway also sent a sample chapter of “Parenting” by Paul David Tripp for each woman in attendance.  Mentoring and discipling isn’t just limited to those who attend our Women’s Ministry events, but most importantly our own children.

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Finally, we were able to connect our Women’s Ministry Leaders to a great ministry “Embrace Grace”.  This ministry reaches out to our unexpected mothers to be, giving them encouragement, support, and most of all Jesus!  We already have one local church who has started an “Embrace Grace” group, and Lord knows we could use more in our area and throughout the country.  Each leader went home with a complete information pack on how they could bring Embrace Grace to their church and community.

Thank you so much for your generosity, prayers, and support.

Team Series: Discipleship Leader

Women Bow And Pray

Team Series:  Discipleship Leader, by Gena McCown

Many churches have a program of people meeting together to study the Word.  These groups can go by many names:  bible study, small group, or life group are the most common.  There may be a group of people within the church that are meeting to pray together.  Or, you may even have some mentoring relationships going on.   There are churches that have a structured program in place for what types of materials they study, when, and how often the groups meet.  Others allow leaders to naturally step up to the plate, and the church really serves as a conduit of information; connecting the people to the groups.

When the church has a system in place, whether structured or organic, the Women’s Ministry will often focus on other areas they can serve the women of the church.   However, what would happen if we placed a member of our team in charge of taking that system a step further?  What if we were more purposeful in how we disciple and mentor the women under our care?

Characteristics of this Leader:

  • Spiritual gift of Leadership and Teaching
  • Dedicated student of the Word
  • Organized, may also have the spiritual gift of administration
  • Sincere desire to develop people, encourages women into the Word
How this Role Serves the Women (and church):
  • Researches and vets new study materials to ensure they are theologically and doctrinally sound.
  • Looks for new small groups leaders, and helps develop their leadership skills.
  • Develops a step by step program that disciples new believers from their first steps into accepting Christ and beyond.
  • Helps connect new believers to seasoned believers for mentoring relationships.
When you bring a leader on to the team that has a heart for discipleship, your Women’s Ministry can take a turn toward not only the Cross but the Great Commission, to go out and make not just converts but disciples.  This creates in the Women’s Ministry a very intentional direction and purpose, and quite often our fellowship and social events are geared toward funneling the women into the church and into these disciple making processes.
What that may look like in your church will vary, based on the needs of the church/community and the availability of those willing to step into the roles of teacher or mentor.  It may take time to develop your program into the full vision, but each year you can move a step closer to that end goal.
For myself, I like to walk women first through and overall understanding of the scriptures (Angie Smith’s study “Seamless”), then I want the women to learn how to study the scriptures for themselves (Jen Wilkin’s book “Women of the Word”).  I follow these two books up with walking the women through prayer (Don Whitney’s book “Praying the Bible”).  After these three steps, then the women can plug into study groups on topics that are more applicable to their season of life or circumstances.  Some women would prefer a small mentoring relationship with an older wiser woman over a group study.
Just a note:  Remember that in a mentoring relationship “older and wiser” doesn’t always mean older in age, sometimes it is older in regards to experience.     A 40 year old new Christian can sit under a 28 year old life long, seasoned believer.    A woman who is 50 and a newly wed in her first marriage can sit under a woman who is 30 and married for 12 years. 

Prayer & Worship, Training Event Recap

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The Women’s Ministry Council had another great training event on the value and importance of integrating Prayer and Worship into your Women’s Ministry Programs.

We would like to thank P&R Publishing for their donation of Susan Hunt’s Prayers of the Bible Study and Leader Guide, for each woman in attendance.  Additional thanks to The Good Book Company, who donated copies of 5 Things to Pray for Your Church.  Table Talk Magazine (from Lingonier Ministries) also donated copies of their back issue on Worship MattersMoody Publishing provided our women with sample chapters from two newly released studies I am Found and An Unexplainable LifeCrossway sent our women sample chapters from their book Praying Together .   Talk about a great group of resources for our leaders and their teams!

If your Women’s Ministry is looking to partner up with some ministries, for the first time at a council meeting we highlighted two ministries that are doing great things in the world!  The first is The Freedom Challenge, which works to free women and children from sex trafficking, sex slave industry.  If you have women in your ministry who love physical challenges and have a heart for these women, be sure to look into this great ministry.    However, if your women have a heart for children in impoverished nations… One Child Matters is a ministry  that opens up the doors to sponsor children, have missions trips to their development centers, and impacts the communities abroad as well as in our church.    Both of these ministries were featured in our July and August Ministry Spotlight articles.

Now for the meeting recap, in case you missed it….

Worship Matters

Our first speaker, Sheila Thompson, addressed the importance of including Worship as an intentional part of our Women’s Ministry events.  While worship can be defined in various ways, Sheila (who has a music background and credentials) talked specifically about the musical forms of worship.  Highlighting scriptures that reference of song and musical instruments as worship, Sheila was able to provide us with the biblical foundations of this style of worship.  However, Sheila dug deeper and covered the physical, mental, and health benefits of singing.  The Lord is so good to give us an act of worship that helps us in not only spiritual ways… but our bodies and minds.

Sheila shared how in the scriptures (and it is referenced over 63 times) that music is a posture of worship to the Lord, a weapon in battle, invites the power of the Lord into our lives as we praise, and that the Lord even sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17).  We discovered how many of our worship songs are rooted and sometimes directly quoted from the scriptures to provide us strength, encouragement, hope, and trust in the Lord … as well as, songs of praise and thanksgiving.

In our Women’s Ministry events, Sheila pointed out that by starting out our events with a few praise songs… we are setting the tone for the event.  Women are able to surrender and let go of all the junk they came in with.  They are preparing their hearts and minds to receive the word the Lord has for them.  They are in a better mood going out than they were coming in.  These songs stick with us as we move through the day, and we find ourselves returning to them.  Additionally, there are times where despite the troubles and the trials we are going through, we can choose to sing in victory!

Integrating worship into your Women’s Ministry program can start with simple steps… such as including Worship songs as part of your Women’s Brunch or even at the beginning of your small group sessions with a song or two.  One of our council women spoke up and shared how they conclude their meetings with a song, so the women leave on a note of praise & hope.  As a Women’s Ministry Leader, you can take this even a step further by planning Christian Concerts into your calendar by either attending local concert events OR by hosting a night of Worship at your own church.

Praying Matters

Our second speaker, Gena McCown, addressed the importance of having a posture of prayer and fostering a solid prayer life among the women in our churches.  Gena began by pointing out the relationship between singing and praying.  As we look to the Psalms and other areas of scriptures we see many prayers were lifted up by the body in the form of song.  There are numerous references in the scriptures about our call to prayer, why we pray, what we pray for, and how we are to pray. 

The call to pray is marked as something we are to do continuously, without ceasing.  Prayer is not an occasional thing we do when we need something from God, but a regular habit.  As ministry leaders we model this posture of prayer for the women in our churches, but we are also put into a position to teach people how to pray.  Some are gifted by the Holy Spirit with the gift of prayer, others need to be helped along the way.  Even the disciples asked Jesus, “How do we pray?”.

The scriptures tell us that men ought always to pray (Luke 18:1) with thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2), without fear or doubting (1 Timothy 2:8) and calling on Him in truth (Psalm 145:18).    We pray to seek Him, in our distress, to seek provision, for healing, in confession, seeking forgiveness, and in thanksgiving and praise.  It is part of our daily habit, without ceasing (Luke 6:12, Colossians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

How do we pray?  We can use the scriptures, such as The Lord’s Prayer or the Psalms.  We can allow the scriptures to inspire our personal prayers, use our own words voiced outloud or written down, and we pray even when we can’t find the words.  Romans 8:26 reminds us that through the Holy Spirit the Lord hears our groaning.  We are praying in our lengthy conversation with the Lord, or when we simply cry out “Oh, God!”.

As leaders we model prayer when we use it at the start, ending, or even in the midst of our events and small group studies.  We model it when we stop what we are doing to pray for someone on the spot vs. telling them we will pray for them later and adding it to our list.  We pray and share those prayers within notes of encouragements, a quick text that says the Lord put you on my heart today and I wanted you to know I was praying for you, and when we specifically ask people how we can pray for them. 

We foster prayer life among our women, when they hear our prayers.  When we start off our leadership meetings praying for the church leaders and our communities.  We set the example, but we also teach.  Include a small group on how to pray, or invite one of your prayer warrior women to lead a prayer ministry in your church.  Have a workshop series on different prayer methods and habits, invite a speaker for your next brunch that will guide your women to a posture of prayer.    As it becomes a more common practice in your Women’s Ministry leadership team, it will spread to the women in the church, and into our communities.

We must also be willing to share our testimony on prayers, so that women not only understand how we pray… but how the Lord responds to those prayers.  We share our answered prayers, praising God.  We share our unanswered prayers, trusting God.  We share the prayers that were not answered how we expected or hoped, acknowledging His ways being better than our own. 

Finally, it is important to create an environment of trust and authenticity among the women.  As we share our prayer requests, they begin to see that we as leaders have struggles to.  We have unanswered prayers, we seek His will and favor, we pray without ceasing for our prodigals to return… our husbands to find Jesus… our addictions to be healed… and our good news too!  In our vulnerability, they will find authenticity… and then our anonymous prayer requests will begin to disappear and a community of sisters walking in faith, praying for one another will begin to form.