Characteristics of Godly Leaders: Not Quarrelsome

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1 Timothy 3:2-3, speaks about the qualifications of overseers.  What does this mean to us as ministry leaders?  In 1 Timothy 3:3, Paul addresses quarrelsomeness.

Can I be honest with you, I love to debate.   I actually enjoy it.  I’m one of those people who can have my beliefs/opinions challenged and find debate a great way to learn.  I’ve changed my mind, held firmer to my beliefs, or walked away at least with a better understanding of how other people view topics.

My love of conversation and debate, however, can often be misinterpreted as quarrelling.  I’ve been accused of being argumentative, divisive, confrontational, and angry/upset.  99.5% of the time, I’m not.  I’m actually enjoying the process.  Over time, I have had to learn that how others perceive me is worth consideration.  I’m learning to temper my love of a good debate in order to protect relationships (personal and professional) and to make sure that my integrity is not questionable.

Now, after sharing that my intentions were not intended to be quarrelsome but often perceived that way… imagine what others think of you when you are intentionally quarrelsome.

Do you know that person?  The person who has some sort of a negative response no matter what you say or do.  Who argues about everything, can’t be agreeable; my mom would call them a “Contrary Mary”.  I remember once, as I finished assisting a gentleman, stating “Have a good day!”, and he curtly replied:

“Don’t tell me what kind of day to have!”

2 Timothy 2:24-26 reads:

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.   (NIV)

There is so much in those words.  A quarrelsome person isn’t kind, they can’t teach because of arrogance, they are not patient, they don’t correct with gentleness but are often demanding, and they can be so caught up in being right/heard/followed that they are ensnared by pride… they end up doing more harm than good.

James 4:1 questions:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  (NIV)

The scripture in James is eye opening in that it puts the blame for quarreling not on the other person, but instead on ourselves.  It’s easy to justify our quarrelsome nature by trying to put all of the weight on another person.   But, an argumentative nature says more about who we are on the inside.  Matthew 12:34 tells us that “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

If you find that you are constantly engaged in quarrels, arguments, controversies, and confrontations… as a Leader, it may benefit you to ask God to examine your heart and open your eyes to what your heart is full of.

 

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.

Your Presence Is Requested

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In 2005, my family relocated to the Treasure Coast. We knew absolutely no one in the area.  I knew the most important thing we could do, to begin to foster community, is find our home church.  I made a list of things that I felt were important for our family in our search process.  One of the things that was important to me was that the church have an active Women’s Ministry.  Why?
*  There would be fellowship opportunities where I would meet Christian Women, building up a local tribe of friends.
*  There was a high chance that an active Women’s Ministry would go on retreats or to conferences (which I love).
*  There would be a ministry where I could eventually serve, as I rooted myself into our new home.
My next step, was to hit the internet.  Truth is, there are a lot of churches in the Treasure Coast.  It would be impossible to visit them all, and frankly I didn’t want to waste time visiting a church that was missing the elements that were important to our family.  I visited church websites, looking at what type of Children’s Ministry they offered.  Since I knew we would be into Youth Group before too long, I looked into that as well.  I also looked for what type of Women’s Ministry was offered. Some church websites had none of this info, some had a basic listing of the types of ministries offered at their church, and others were a bit more extensive.
I used this method to weed out a lot of churches.  To be very blunt, if you didn’t have these three ministries in your church… we were not even going to bother to visit.  In fact, our current home church didn’t make the cut when we first moved here.  It was a couple of years later before we would visit the church.  They were having a women’s brunch that month.  If it wasn’t for actually being in the building, I would have never known.  We may have never ended up there.
It’s been twelve years, social media has come a long way.  Our web presence is even more important today than it was then.  People use our church websites to learn a lot about our churches, the ministries we offer, and how they relate to community.  Potential visitors can watch recorded services and find out if they like the music, Pastor’s message, etc. before they walk through the doors.
In our digital age the concept of “coming in and experiencing it for yourself” is almost obsolete.  In fact, many churches today have been tested by visitors it will never knew existed because they checked out the service through a livestream on Sunday morning.  Our ability to measure guest responses to our church is impaired, because visitors are watching us through a two way mirror. We can’t see the guests, but they are watching and watching closely.
Not only is it important that your church has a website, for visitors to learn more about your church… but it is also vital that it includes information about the various ministries that exist within the church.
When the Women’s Ministry Council started, we utilized the internet to help us locate the churches in our area that had a Women’s Ministry.  We searched through the site for mentions of a Women’s Ministry or at least Women’s Bible Studies.  Three years in, our #1 question we are asked is always:  “How come I didn’t know this existed before?”.   If your church doesn’t have a website, or the website doesn’t mention  your Women’s Ministry … that might be the reason why.  As a small start up ministry, with zero budget, we couldn’t afford to pay for a mass mailing and hope for the best.  We had a search strategy that helped us zero in our target.
Potential members may be crossing your church off the list based on the lack of information on your website.  The photos on the site, the content, and even the church calendar tell the story of your church.
Once you have added your Women’s Ministry to the church site, then you need to look at how information requests are funneled to the Women’s Ministry team.  This is usually the second reason why local churches with Women’s Ministries have not learned about our group.  After we would determine a church had a Women’s Ministry our next step was to reach out via email and postal mail.   Not only do guests in your church need a way to reach out to the Women’s Ministry for information, but so do the people within the body.  We need to make sure the information is making it to the right people.
I can’t tell you the number of WM Leaders who I speak with, who I personally addressed the mailing to their church, who never received it.  The email didn’t get forwarded on, or the invitation was never passed on.  A clear pathway of communication means that people requesting information about your Women’s Ministry have a direct way to reach YOU as the leader, or that those who receive general inquiries know to pass on the requests appropriately.  I also suggest letting that person know that you would prefer they pass on all inquires and you can filter through them.
As a Women’s Ministry leader, if you didn’t receive our mailing… I wonder what other information you may have missed out on?  Understand that it is not that the information is being purposefully kept from you.  Churches receive a lot of email and mail, from all sorts of organizations and businesses.  Someone is sorting through all of that mail, tasked with weeding out the junk mail.  A simple conversation can help this staff member or volunteer understand how you want your ministry mail handled.
Some key points to consider…
* Does your church have a website?  If your church doesn’t have a website… anyone who may be trying to find a local church might be missing out on what you have to offer.
* Does your church mention your Women’s Ministry on the site?  At minimum, it should be included in the list of ministries.
* Does your church have a clear path of information that funnels requests, mailings, and information to the Women’s Ministry leader?   Where does your mail go? Can you get an email address at the church that can be shared on the website and automatically forwarded to you?
* If you do not have an official “Women’s Ministry” ask your church office what happens to materials sent in address to Women’s Ministry leaders.  You never know what amazing things your church or women could be missing out on.

Be Still and Know

BeStillHe says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  

– Psalm 46:10 NIV

Quite often in leadership we find ourselves always on the go, moving forward, advance our Kingdom work.  We can spend hours scouring the internet tracking the trends of Women’s Ministries across the country.  We can invest our time and money in books to better ourselves as leaders.  We can even meet quarterly with Women’s Ministry leaders in our community to create a council of leaders who share their wisdom and experience.  Movement, growth, and study is a beautiful thing.  It’s not always the best thing.  There are times, even we as leaders, need to find stillness and listen to the voice of God.

We may need to stop the online searches, put down the books, and pick up the Word and let it speak life into our personal walk, families, and our ministry.  What if the Lord doesn’t want your ministry to follow the ministry trends but instead innovate a new way to minister to women?  Have you considered that the Lord may be trying to take your ministry focus off solely serving the women in your church and instead opening the doors to the women in your community?  Or, has your ministry taken priority in your life over your family commitments and relationships; and it’s time to add more people to the team or reevaluate your ministry goals?

If we are too busy listening to other voices, we can disrupt our ability to hear the Holy Spirit speaking.  There is a season to work and toil, but there is also a season to be still and listen. A time to be still and know that He is God, and He will order our steps.

Diversity and Unification

unitedIn April, our local Women’s Ministry Councils will begin the start of what we hope is an ongoing conversation toward understanding the value of diversity in our lives and our ministries; as well as the role the Church should play in unification among God’s people.

We recognize that not all of our readers and Facebook friends are local, but that doesn’t mean that we do not want you involved in this conversation.  In fact, we’d love to see these conversations starting in your ministries too.

As we prepare for this important conversation, over the next several weeks WMC is going to share resources with our Women’s Ministry Leaders and teams.  These resources are ones that we are using for research and preparation, recommended reading, and tools that you can use not only for your own growth but for facilitating change in your church.

All of our churches in attendance at our April meeting will receive a copy of Trillia  J. Newbell’s book UNITED from Moody Publishers.  If you are not local or will not be attending that meeting, this is a great book to start with.

http://www.trillianewbell.com/books/united-captured-gods-vision-diversity/

When the Lord Moves, We Move Too.

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2017 is here, and the Women’s Ministry Council has some exciting things to share.

* We Are Moving –  It has been almost 3 years since we started the Women’s Ministry Council.  We have grown in numbers and in purpose.  We have also outgrown our meeting location at Panera Bread.  The Lord however is providing a answer to that need.  Please keep an eye out for this important announcement in the comings months.   Prayerfully, the location will be ready for us by our April meeting.

* We Are Growing – When the ministry grows, so does our leader team.  We are excited to announce that Trish Jones has joined the WMC Leadership Team.  Trish will be an integral part of our team, bringing her experience and expertise to our website content, editorial review, and more.

* We Are Preparing To Expand –  Three years ago we shared the vision for the Women’s Ministry Council to become a ministry that can be duplicated in other regions.  We have 2 potential leaders who would like to start a WMC in their area.  The leadership team will be using 2017 to create the logistics of this program, with an anticipated roll out in 2018.

* We Are Thinking Big – In addition to the development of our group expansion, we have some beautiful things on our horizon…. such as….

~   Women’s Ministry Leader Mission Trip with One Child Matters

~   Intensive Workshop on How to Study the Bible for Yourself

~   One Day Women’s Ministry Leader/Team Conference

~   and so much more!

The WMC Team can not begin to express how much we are blessed by this ministry.  Serving our local leaders is an honor and a privilege.

Lord, let this ministry be all that you have called it to be.  Let us serve you, each other, our church, and our community well.   Amen.

Women’s Ministry Road Trip

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Women’s Ministry Road Trip by Gena McCown, Co-Founder

The kids at our churches gather for a weeklong VBS, or go off to a fun camp during summer breaks.  Our youth groups go on missions trips, off to camps, and weekend Christian concerts held by big amusement parks.  Dare I ask… what about us?

Yes, there are a lot of great Women’s Conferences that we can shuttle off to.  We may have a two hour luncheon every other month too.  But, have you ever gotten in the car with a group of women from your church and taken off on an adventure?  On a non structured, registration not required, sleep in until 10am if you like… full of fun, food, and fellowship… adventure?  Or, have you ever considered taking your Women’s Ministry on a women only mission trip to minister to women rescued from the sex trafficking industry?

Why not?

Rent a cottage on the beach or in the mountains for a weeklong retreat with your women’s small group.

Have a sleepover when the men are away camping or hunting, and have a great time bonding with the leaders from your Women’s Ministry team.

This fall, rent a bus, take off to Washington D.C. and check out the new Museum of the Bible .  Then, go sight seeing or visit museums.  Eat good food.  Shop. Laugh.

Plan a Women’s Ministry trip to the next Acquire the Fire, Night of Joy, or Hillsong Concert.

Organize a mission trip for the Women’s Ministry, either within the US or outside.

Buy group tickets to a Food Festival or even a local carnival/fair and eat funnel cake and get stuck at the top of the Ferris Wheel together.

The women we are serving are not targets or projects, but real women who desire to laugh until their sides hurt.  They want to have memories to put in their scrapbooks, ticket stubs to collect, and moments to look forward to on their calendars where they can simply enjoy life with their sisters.

Do you have any fun or out of the box ideas that were successful in your Women’s Ministry?  We’d love to hear about these ideas!  Comment here, or consider writing a piece for our site on your event and how you coordinated it.