Trailblazing {Devotion by Jenny Andrews}

trailblazing

I became the director of a mentoring ministry in my local church at the age of 28. To say that I was scared would be an understatement. I don’t know how many times I questioned God and His calling in my life at that moment. I thought to myself, often, surely this is a mistake.  Who am I to lead in this area?  But, the Lord knew just what to do with me. He gave me the strength and courage to persevere through the unknown many times.

I didn’t grow up in the church or how to start a ministry. I started to read books and educate myself on ministry; meanwhile I was in college going to school for a degree in accounting. It then hit me one day that I could use the tools I was learning in my business school to apply them to my new ministry. I became organized and started to see the tools the Lord was giving me in the business world as blessing for His kingdom. After 6 years in the ministry I had everything down pat. The ministry grew, and I am now teaching others how to start their own ministry in mentoring. What I also came to understand was that I was a trailblazer in this type of ministry for my church.

The word trailblazer is defined as:

1.a person who blazes a trail for others to follow through unsettled country or wilderness; pathfinder.

2.a pioneer in any field of endeavor:

Isn’t that what leadership is? We are all leading in new areas of our life whether in ministry, at home, in the work place, or other areas. We are all trailblazing in leadership. I think it is amazing that there are no two people alike in this world and that the Lord has a specific call on our individual lives.

Most recently I was speaking at a Native American Women’s Conference and I met a woman who said to me, “Jenny you are pioneer for your people the Lakota.” Her statement impacted me in a positive way and made me reflect on all the Lord was doing in my life at that moment. He used her to remind me that He is the leader of my trailblaze and that He will be the one to set the path before me. I now trailblazing in a new area with a new season of calling in life, but I am embracing it thanks to that one sentence said to me.

We all get to be trailblazers. I know it comes with unchartered territory, but can I remind you that the Lord has already equipped you. I leave you with this passage in the Bible because it assures me that although this may be new area of leadership to you or me it isn’t to the Lord.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

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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.

Team Series – Is That All We Need?

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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: Event Planner

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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”.

 

Ministry Spotlight: MOPS International

 

mops

This month, across the country and in many parts of the word, mothers of presechoolers are gathering at local churches for fellowship, support, encouragement, resources, and relationships.  An exciting facet is that Jesus is always invited too.

When my husband and I relocated to a new city, over an hour away, we didn’t know a single person here.  At that time we had an 8 year old and a 4 year old… however within just a few months I found out our third was on the way.  We were still trying to find a church home, our neighborhood didn’t have any other families with young children, and I was so very alone.   My first thoughts were:  “I need to find a MOPS group”.

I was already familiar with MOPS from my previous city and I knew that finding a local group would be a great way for me to meet people in my community that were in the same stage of life.  I also knew that MOPS groups were made up of women from various churches, which gave me an opportunity to be a part of a group while we were still searching for our home church.  For me, MOPS was a way to plug into community.

Over the last 17 years, I have watched women come to MOPS for many reasons.  What I also saw was how much MOPS became an avenue that led women and their families into the church.  MOPS Moms would sign their kids up for VBS.  The next year they were signing up as VBS volunteers.  They would trickle into family or kids events at the church, and then you would begin to see them at church on Sunday mornings.

There were some moms who ended up staying in our MOPS group, but their families would attend a church closer to their home.  Some would even start MOPS groups in their new church home.  MOPS is a blessing to both the mothers who are served and the churches in which they become part of the community.

Many communities, like our own, have MOPS groups with waiting lists because they’ve reached maximum capacity.  MOPS is one of those ministries, that in my opinion, you simply can’t have enough of.  Staring a MOPS group is an easy process that begins with the desire to serve our mothers with preschool aged children.

If you are interested in starting up a MOPS group in your church and community, visit their website or speak with another local MOPS leader.

 

 

Back to School!

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It’s back to school season!  Women’s Ministry groups around the country are full of mothers who are navigating the waters of back to school.

Some are watching their children enter their school years for the first time, tear soaked tissues in hand.

Others are wrapping their heads around new teachers, dress codes, schedules, and shopping.

Then there are those who have their hands on a whole box of tissues as their children enter their senior years or head off to college.

How can we minister to our mothers?

  1.  Mentoring.   It is so valuable to any mother to have in her circle of friends and mentors the woman who has already walked this road.  We lean heavy into those who have gone through these days, learn from them about the beauty of what is to come.
  2. Calendars.  When you are planning your Women’s Ministry events, consider your local school calendars.  Find out important dates like school vacations and major events like Prom and Graduation.  Try your best to schedule events away from these times, as parents may be out of town on holiday or celebrating milestones with family who have traveled into town.  Be sure to consider private school schedules, which may differ from public.  If your church services more than one county, be sure to take into account the other county schedules as well.
  3. Clothing Swaps.  Back to school can be an expensive year, bring in all of your school clothes that the kids grew out of and swap with other moms.  Or, take those collected clothes and bring them to shelters for homeless women and children.
  4. Supply Drives.  Use your women’s ministry events as an opportunity to collect school supplies and take them to schools in need, or local children’s group home.  Bless the moms in your church who could use a hand offsetting back to school expenses.
  5. Connections.  Connect moms who have children in the same schools, so they can get to know each other better.  Help establish car pool groups, after school child care volunteers for working parents, etc.
  6. Volunteer.  Start a after school program for children in your local schools, teach them about Christ, friendships, character qualities, etc.  Moms would love to know their kids are being invested into vs. babysat at after school programs.
  7. Celebrate.  For the moms who are becoming empty nesters for the first time, meet up with them during these first weeks especially and celebrate!
  8. Small Groups.   Add a day time small group that meets when the kids are school, this is a great opportunity for our stay home parents.  They can meet with a local small group to study the word, without taking away valuable family time at nights and on the weekends.