Hospitality Starts with a Warm Welcome


When we think of the word “hospitality” we think of the way in which we serve people.  There is an entire industry related to hospitality, from hotels and event planners to meals, transportation, and entertainment.  It is a service we provide to others that allows them to enjoy the space.

So where does hospitality begin on in our ministries?  It happens long before the events and studies that make up our ministry calendar.

It begins with a warm welcome.

Women who are visiting your church for the first time, either for a Sunday Service or Women’s Ministry event, need to feel welcome in the space from the moment they arrive.  What can we do as ministry leaders to ensure our guests feel welcome?

An Easy to Navigate Space:  Your visitor needs easy access to parking, clear signage on where to enter the building for the service/event, and signs or people to guide them once in side.  Several years ago, I attended an event at a local church.  This church had multiple buildings and parking lots.  There was not a single sign that indicated which parking lot entrance to use, or which building the event was being held in.  During the lunch break, there was an announcement on where the lunch was being served without any direction at all.  There was almost an assumption that everyone at the event either attended the church or was a guest of someone attending, and could find their own way.  They forgot that this event was also publicized on the radio and on the website for the larger ministry hosting events nationwide.  

Never assume your church or even location is easy to navigate, just because it makes sense to you.  Always assume that your guests will need signs or people to help them find their way to the main spaces, bathrooms, event spaces, child care, etc.

Easy Access to Information:  Some guests are very eager to meet people, and not afraid to ask a million questions.  Your more introverted guests will be more timid.  By ensuring that the basic information on the women’s ministry is listed in the New Guest packet, you are extending an invitation to women to find out more.  If you have an information desk or wall, where ministries can post more detailed information, having a sign or invitation cards for your next event will make sure guests know they are welcome to your events.  This also includes having information about your women’s ministry on your church website.

At minimum, guests should be able to have access to the contact information for the women’s ministry, current Bible Studies or Small Groups, and information on your upcoming event(s).  Also consider having  an occasionally informal breakfast to get to know new women in the church.  This doesn’t need to be a potluck brunch, but could be at a local restaurant where everyone pays for their own meal.  

When we make sure to let women know they are welcome at our next event, they know that we are not a closed clique of women but rather a group with arms opened wide.

Help Her Meet People:   Guests, particularly returning guests, will want to get to know more women in the church.  Too often, it’s easy to fall back on the “stand up and introduce yourself to the group” activity.  However this can be overwhelming for the introvert, and frankly even with the best of effort… it’s hard to remember all these new names and facts.  Instead, use the women’s ministry team to divide and conquer introducing new women ot the rest of the body.  If each women’s ministry team member takes time to get to know these new guests individually, they can then make very intentional introductions to members in the body who share similar interests, have children of the same ages, etc.

This far more intentional introductions will actually help foster relationships and is a warmer welcome than throwing the woman into the spotlight before a large group.   

Hospitality Never Ends:  Being hospital as guests walk through your doors for the first time is just the beginning.  Hospitality is something that continues on as part of our ministry work.  We are hospitable when we open our homes to small groups and playdates, when we answer calls and take time to get to know people better, and into our events as we make sure that everyone feels wanted and welcome.  When hospitality drops off, it can make our guests feel as if our initial welcoming was superficial or short lived.  Hospitality is a long term culture that needs to be cultivated and fostered.

Look for your women who have the gift of Hospitality, and bring them into your women’s ministry team to lay the foundation.  If you are a large church, you may wish to create a welcoming committee.  Otherwise, these women will be valuable additions to your team as they advise you about how to make sure your women’s ministry program and events are warm and welcoming to all who walk through the doors.

Acts 2 Church & Ministry Has Fellowship


There are two common definitions for the word “fellowship”.  The first defines fellowship as a friendly association of people who share a common interest.  The second defines fellowship as a group of people that are in an official group.  In the case of the church, I believe both apply.  A church body should be more than a bunch of people meeting in a space to receive information from the Pastor, it should be more akin to a family gathering or people who come together to celebrate their shared passions.

In Tolkien’s book “The Lord of the Rings” a group of unlikely characters rally together united in a common goal, and they refer to themselves as a fellowship.  Over the course of the story, this fellowship become more than strangers … they become friends, then really family.  They break bread with one another, face trials with one another, loss and grief, life and hope with one another.  By the end of the story, there is a deep and binding connection among the fellowship that endures even when life separates them.

This type of relationship is something that many are striving for, especially our women.  Yet, time and time again, I hear about how lonely they are.  In a world where we are connected instantly to one another, at the touch of a button, fellowship is an areas where we seem to be lacking greatly.  A ministry that is spending all of it’s time teaching is going to develop women who are Biblically smart, but without an emotional connection it will remain superficial … like a group of professors in a collegiate fellowship.  Sharing ideas, asking questions, etc.   To get to the emotional connectedness, women in particular need opportunities to live life alongside one another.

Fellowship has to extend beyond Bible Studies and Small Group, and into opportunities to get to know one another at a personal level.  We should be careful to not focus so much on fellowship that we neglect teaching, but rather find a balance where we are building a community that is growing in connection and in knowledge.  When scheduling social events with the women in your church, we need to make sure that they are also events that are connecting the women to Christ.  This doesn’t require teaching per say, but opportunities to model Christlikeness.  

Fellowship will:

  • Help your women develop authentic relationships with one another.
  • Deep connectedness where they can lean on each other in times of trial.
  • Creating family connections, particularly women who are not near their family.
  • Open the doors for women to invite their family, friends, and co-workers.
  • Transition new members into the family of believers, guiding toward Small Groups.

What is an Acts 2 Church & Ministry?

What is anActs Ministryin an Acts Church

There is a term talked about in regard to the Church, the “Acts 2 Church”.  Before we talk about this in the terms of Women’s Ministry, let’s define what exactly that means for the Church overall.

When someone refers to an “Acts 2 Church”, they are talking about a church that it is structured based on the example in Acts 2 of the New Testament.

In a nutshell:

They were gathering regularly, dependent on the apostles teaching and leadership, selling off their materials to support the Kingdom work, etc.  This was an early church that lacked maturity and so in it’s formation they were consistent in teaching well and often.  They were supporting the work, they were taking care of one another, and fellowshipping with each other often.

Over time, as they matured, the apostles were able to disciple leaders into positions of authority to elders, deacons, and into the body of believers.  They were able to meet less frequently because they had the tools to study at home, daily gatherings moved to weekly.   They moved from selling off all their excess to setting aside money to support the work being done.  The teaching church became a missional or evangelizing church as the gentiles became members of the body.  All of this leading to the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 where the apostles began to clarify the expectations of believers now that gentiles were part of the mix.  They wanted clarity so that all of the churches shared the same foundational beliefs.

Maturity took time to establish.  Establishing knowledge through regular teaching.  Establishing connection by regular fellowshipping.  Establishing the standards for giving and serving.

If I were to try and establish a Women’s Ministry (or other internal ministry, sub-ministry) in the Acts 2 Church… what would that look like if we assume the same principles would apply?

  1.  CONSISTENCY – I know that a lot of ministry leaders look at the task ahead and think we’ll start with 1 event and work from there, because a full calendar looks intimidating.  Consistency is important because it establishes habit.  There is a reason why the model of having a regularly scheduled event (like a brunch on the 1st Saturday of the month) works.  It helps the women get in the habit of gathering.  It is expected, we know… even if we don’t know the details of the event… that something is happening with the women of the church.  We can plan for that, put it on our calendars.  We teach the women how to interact with the Women’s Ministry, even if that means coming on strong at first and then scaling back.
  2. TEACHING – It is good to gather as a community, but we must not forsake the reason we are gathering.  To worship, honor, and glorify God.  This doesn’t mean that every single event has to be a deep theological college course, or workshop on systematic theology.  It does mean that there is purpose and intention behind every event that is in line with bringing people to the feet of Christ.
  3. FELLOWSHIP – We gather to as a community, a family.  Fellowship binds us emotionally to one another, aware of each other’s hurts and struggles so that we can help, able to celebrate victories and milestones as a family, and to safe guard ourselves from the temptations of the world.  The lone sheep is far more vulnerable to attack than the ones packed into a tight flock, under a Good Shepherd.
  4. PRAYER – A community that is united in consistent teaching and fellowship will result in a group that is also consistently united in prayer.  They know how and why to pray through the Word, they are compelled to pray for one another as fellowship connects their lives, and they understand that prayer is an active form of Worship.
  5. WORSHIP – A healthy community that is meeting regularly, well taught, deeply connected, and steeped in prayer will also be a community that Worships with abundance.

The lone sheep is far more vulnerable to attack than the ones packed into a tight flock, under a Good Shepherd.    

~Gena McCown

Over the next few weeks, we are going to break down those 5 points into more specific detail and application to the Church and to our Women’s Ministries.


Rest & Retreat: A reflection & call to rest.

Rest & Retreat(1)

I stepped down from a ministry I had started and led in my church for over 6 years.  It was a privilege to lead in that capacity. However,  I realized that the ministry consumed much of my life.   When I stopped leading I didn’t anticipate how big of a gap I would find in my life now that I wasn’t making phone calls, networking, leading,  planning, and mentoring; all while being a wife, mother, and part time employee.  I hadn’t realized how much work it took to run this ministry. I just did it because it needed to be done.

This made me think about other things.  In the 6 years of leading this ministry I lost both of my parents, graduated from college, and started a speaking ministry.

I had chosen to step down from this ministry in order to pursue another calling, but I felt like the Lord wasn’t calling me into another ministry right away; but back to my first and most important ministry,  my husband, children and family.  I also felt He has been calling me into a time of healing from grief.  Grief is tough.  It has been 6 years since my father passed, 3 years since mom passed, and only 3 weeks since my step-father has passed.  In this time, I have asked God to give me rest and help me deal with the stuff that needs healing; grief being one of them.

I have been busy getting to know my husband again, and my children.  My oldest is a freshmen in high school who plays sports and has a more active social life than I do. I now ask myself how did I ever have time to lead a ministry because I seem to have no life right now. But, I am thankful because it is an amazing journey.

I am learning that as a leader you must take time away to rest.  A good leader knows that rest is important.  While I would like to say I am great at this,  I don’t always take the needed time.  I am learning to see that when God closes one door, He maybe telling me to rest for a moment because resting is good for me until He  is ready to open the next door.

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

I am still doing mission work, speaking, and mentoring but not so much that I forget to rest and heal.  I am also praying through this next season of life that I am feeling called to.

I am thankful that the Lord stresses the importance to take time to rest in Him. In all of this healing and resting the Lord has and always will be faithful.  He is my complete rest.  The verse I leave you with is this:

Psalm 37:7a
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him…

Characteristics of Godly Leaders: Not Quarrelsome


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.


Godly Characteristics: Gentle Not Violent


In 1 Timothy 3:2, it says that someone who is leadership should “not be violent but gentle”.  Gentleness is listed as one of the “Fruits of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23.  However, here in 1 Timothy 3:2 we are not merely instructed to be “gentle” but even more specifically “not violent”.  

If you research “violence” in the scriptures, there are some strong words against violence:

Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways ~ Proverbs 3:31

The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.  ~ Psalm 11:5

In fact, if you go back to Galatians 5 and read the few lines before “Fruits of the Spirit” you will read about what is called “Works of the Flesh”.  

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21

Note that several of the items listed in 1 Timothy 3:2 are called “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5.  It is when we are not walking in God’s way, but in our own sinful humanness.  The violence in these scriptures is not what you see in war, when God has called warriors up as defenders of His people.  This is fleshy violence.  Vengeance, anger, hatred, malice.

I believe it is clear that the Lord calls his leaders to set a standard in how the treat one another, including our spouses and children.  In 1 Timothy 3, the leader is called to be a manager of his home, but not in a violent way… but respectful.  (1 Timothy 3:4 – He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect).  In clearer terms, the leader is not to be abusive… physically, mentally, emotionally.

Whether the leader is a man, or a woman.

Characteristics of Godly Leaders: REPROACH


What does it mean to be above reproach?  For the longest time, I thought that it meant that leaders were in an untouchable space.  To be a leader meant that you were not to be criticized at all.  I interpreted the wording akin to “above the law”.  People who think they are above the law do not believe they are held accountable for their actions and decisions.

Over the years, I have learned that I was not alone in that interpretation.  In fact, quite a few people understand it to mean the same.

Several years ago, I had an opportunity to take a college class on Christian leadership that broke down these requirements, in 1 Timothy 3, for the Office of the Overseer.  The way it was explained to me was that being above reproach was not suggesting that we as leaders were part of an untouchable group.  Instead, it meant that our behavior should be such that there would be no need for reproach.  In other words, that our integrity and reputation should hold weight against any accusations thrown our way.  So that, anyone who hears them would dismiss them immediately.

We all know that is impossible for even the best leaders to live perfectly, we are all human and humans make mistakes.  But when our character’s good attributes weigh so heavy, our mistakes are accepted as such versus a character flaw.

If you are a person who always keeps your promises, and you slip up and forget once… you are going to receive grace over that mistake because it is the exception and not the norm.

In an ideal world, being above reproach should be enough.  But not always.  The key here is that if you are accused by one person, the majority of people will disregard it because they know you to be a leader of integrity.  Part of that integrity is owning up to your mistakes before you need to be called out on them, and making them right before you are asked to.

If you have made an error that requires rebuke or correction, if you have behaved in a way that is met with disapproval, or speak in a manner that is disappointing… and you deal with it head on, accepting responsibility, correcting your course, or making amends; you are behaving in a manner that is above reproach.  Rarely are people disappointed and disapproving of a leader who admits when they are wrong, and moves forward in a spirit of reconciliation or correction.  In fact, it often adds to your character.

To be above reproach means that you take your role seriously, and you understand the gravity of the position you have been trusted with.  You lead with integrity and honesty.