Team Series – Is That All We Need?

teamwork

Team Series:  Is That All We Need? , by Gena McCown

It is time to cap off this series, but I don’t want you to think that this handful of suggestions is the perfect combination for leadership teams, the must haves, the only needed support.  The truth is a great leadership team is going to look and function differently from church to church.  Your teams is going to be built around the vision you have for the ministry, to support the vision of the church.

You may wish to have a Prayer Team Leader, who is a woman with the spiritual gifts of intercession.  She will help lead and teach others how to pray, coordinate prayer events, etc.

If you have a lot of stay at home moms in your church, maybe the Women’s Ministry would sponsor starting up a MOPS Group and you will need someone to lead that group.

The church may request that you coordinate a meal ministry, and that may require having someone with the gift of hospitality step up to lead it.

Each of us, as leaders, will need to assess the individual needs of church and community and develop a team of women who can meet/coordinate to meet those needs.  We would LOVE to hear about unique leadership positions you have within your Women’s Ministry team.

  • What is the position?
  • What characteristics or spiritual gifts are used in this position?
  • How do they serve?
  • What are the responsibilities and expectations of that person/role?

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. 

Team Series: Event Planner

eventplan

Team Series: Event Planner, Gena McCown

It may surprise you that I would recommend an Event Planner as a key member of your Women’s Ministry team.  However, I believe there are a few good reasons to support this case.  If you have a smaller Women’s Ministry Team this may be a role that is absorbed by your Hospitality Leader/Coordinator.  Yet, there is merit in having a separate woman in charge of this area.

For many Women’s Ministries there are regular events on the church calendar, usually monthly or every other month.  These tend to be some sort of a fellowship event that contains a meal, speaker, and even worship.  In most cases, this is the event that your Hospitality Leader is going to coordinate.  As your ministry grows, you may begin to plan larger events.  This could be anything from inviting a nationally known speaker to a special event, planning a retreat for the women in the church, or even hosting or planning your own women’s conference.  It is in this later grouping of events where having an Event Planner on your team is going to benefit your ministry.

Large events generally take six months up to a full year to plan.  They are comprised of many details that have to be attended to.  Simple things such as decorating to the theme are at one end of the spectrum.  Planning out the food menu, arranging lodging, transportation, and the budget are at the other end of that planning spectrum.  An Event Planner is usually someone who has a lot of the same characteristics of the Hospitality Leader (attention to detail, warm and friendly, etc) but also has an equal dosing of the gift of Administration (works well under pressure, organizes well, schedule oriented, etc).

Because large events have so many facets to them, and take so long to prepare, it is beneficial to the team if there is just one or two people who focus on this area.  Perhaps your ministry is not large enough for this to be an important team role today, but it is something worth keeping in mind for the future.

In most instances the Event Planner is not making all of the decisions or doing all of the work on her own.  She will build up a team or committee of women to help her.  This is a great avenue to bring in volunteers from the body of women in your church.  Many women would love to support the Women’s Ministry but cannot commit to the monthly requirements of serving.  This provides these women an opportunity to serve toward a specific event, using their gifts and talents.

An Event Planner will be in charge of things such as:

  • Finding and securing a location for the event.  Coordinating the rental or obtaining things like tables, chairs, linens, decorations, etc.
  • Securing the speaker, and whatever requirements the speaker has for their time at the event.
  • Working with catering or volunteers from the church to coordinate the menu.
  • Scheduling the event, coordinating technical needs (television, projectors, microphones, etc).
  • Designing and procuring the printed materials for the event, registration for the event, collecting payments, etc.
  • Coordinating special touches throughout the event to make the women feel special, and to create value to the event that is equal or above what the women paid.

An Event Planner will have characteristics such as:

  • She is an event attender.  Look for women who love going to conferences, retreats, etc.  If they personally don’t enjoy them, they won’t make a good planner.
  • On a spiritual gifts test you will see that her scores are pretty even between the gifts of hospitality and administration.  She may also score high as a leader/teacher, but not always.  Some women are great about doing the work, but have no calling to be a speaker at the event.  Others are perfect behind the scenes and comfortable in front of the people.
  • She is detail oriented, scheduler, thrives under deadlines, is equally comfortable with light accounting and picking table centerpieces.
  • She is a woman who is quite content focusing on just 1 big project versus a million little ones.
  • Generally speaking she is a woman that can rally up the troops when she needs extra help.  People like working with her, she can delegate without dictating.
  • I’ve also noticed that these women already have their finger on the pulse of new speakers, authors, etc.  They may already even know some of these people personally.  They also tend to know what is happening in other Women’s Ministries in their area and beyond.

While many would argue this job could be done by the entire team, and reasonably justifying their argument… I find having one person dedicated to this job is a blessing to the ministry and also the woman doing the work.  These women tend to take such joy in serving in this manner.  Details others would consider tedious, event planners see as special touches that can “make all the difference”.

 

Team Series: Second In Command

colead

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.