When developing leaders in your Women’s Ministry team, one of the most important people you need to be on the look out for is your eventual replacement. Life and ministry work is unpredictable. The Lord may move your to another city or state, or perhaps you may find He is moving your heart away from Women’s Ministry toward something else that needs your specific gifts and talents. You could get pregnant or have an illness in your family that requires you to take some time off. Our co-founder Laura says we need to have a “if I get hit by a bus” plan in place.
What if something happened today that immediately pulled you away a leader? How would your Women’s Ministry team respond? Could they pick up your baton and keep running or would they be lost wondering what to do next?
A few years ago, I was a part of a ministry that had a very unexpected and sudden departure of our leader. She was very hands on and did most of the work herself. As her team we supported her ideas and programs. When she left, we were stumped. There were a few major projects up in the air, and we didn’t have all of the information we needed. One of the biggest was related to a financial commitment and we had just under a week to decide if we should move forward or shelve it. We sat at the meeting… staring at each other in disbelief… no one knew the answers the questions we all had.
This is NOT a great situation for any ministry to be in. Which is why it is important that we have a second in command. Call it a co-leader, assistant, vice president, or whatever term you feel comfortable with… but the role is the same. It is the person who can pick up that torch for you, because they’ve already been apart of the process. This person is being mentored and groomed by you to take your place, should the season arrive. When you are planning meetings or projects, they are brought into the fold. Everything you know, they know.
You will share with them how you come about your decision making process, where you keep supplies, passwords and keys, etc. Occasionally you will allow them to run the meeting in your place, or take the lead on a major project. If you are meeting with the Pastor or staff member that oversees the Women’s Ministry, she is included in this meeting. She becomes your right hand woman, the Timothy to your Paul.
How will you identify her?
- She never misses a meeting.
- She’s not only writing down the things that apply to her from the meeting, but everyone else. She’s already “in the know”.
- If you can’t recall a piece of info from a previous meeting, she usually can.
- She speaks up often with ideas and suggestions for the ministry.
- She accomplishes her tasks without you needing to remind her, and usually early.
- She’s known for helping others with their tasks, once she has completed her own.
- She’s has leadership experience, and you can see that in how she interacts at the meetings.
- She’s a regular attender at the church.
- She is also wise, she doesn’t overschedule or overburden herself with commitments. She knows how to say no, and she’s said it to you in the past.
- She may have outright asked or hinted at desiring more responsibility in the ministry.
- She will email you ideas, articles on Women’s Ministries, or share what she has learned other ministries are doing effectively.
- At conferences, she signs up for workshops about Women’s Ministry.
- She is pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ, and knowledge of the Word
These are just a few ways you can look for those people who stand out. But, before you approach her about this role, be sure to cover it in prayer and speak with the Pastor or the staff member that oversees the ministry about the person you are considering.