Look for the Helpers

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Hurricanes.  Earthquakes.  Fires.  Flooding.  Protests.  Terrorism.

There is a lot happening in this world, but in times of despair believers cling to Hope.

That Hope compels us to not sit back watch the world fall apart around us, but instead to bring Hope to others.

We become “the helpers”.  Believers have always been the helpers.  Historically in the early church, our women took in the abandoned children.  We tended to the sick, forming the first hospitals.  In the wake of tragedy today, we see that our Faith Based Organizations lead the way in providing relief to those who have been impacted by forces of nature and political oppression.

We need not wait for the catastrophes to land at our doorstep in order to be a helper.

We are the helpers when we pay for her groceries, when take a collection of diapers, when we feed an empty belly, and clothe those who need it.  When we pool our money and resources to provide shelter and even comfort.

Women’s Ministry Council  #WoMinCouncil

There are people in your neighborhood right now, and they are looking for the helper.  The homeless man you pass every day on your way into to the coffee shop, he is looking for a helper.  The single mom who wants to attend small group, but lacks the means for childcare… she is looking for the helper.

How can your Women’s Ministry become a helper in your local community?

  • Find an organization to support as a Ministry.  Use your Women’s Ministry monthly brunches as an opportunity take a collection of goods or money for this ministry.
  • Look for volunteer opportunities for your Women’s Ministry to participate in and build up teams of women who will serve.
  • For larger causes, work together with Women’s Ministries from other churches.
  • Watch the news, check the paper, and keep a pulse on what is happening in your community.  There may be specific people you can assist.  
  • Talk as a team about how you want your ministry to respond to community needs or local disaster relief before it is needed.  Create an action plan, work out the details, and even work through a trial run if possible.  It’s good to have the plan in place, so that when the need arises we can respond immediately and efficiently.
  • Ensure that you have a list of recommendations for services (shelter numbers, abuse hotlines, Christian counselors, etc.) available to all leaders… including your Bible Study leaders.  This means we don’t waste time hunting down information and can act promptly.

We would love to hear your suggestions too!

 

Growing in Godliness Together – Jenny Andrews

I was living in Los Angeles, California when I had met her.  I was new to the church I was attending and wasn’t sure what to expect from the mommy and me class. I just knew that I was lonely in motherhood and needed someone to say hi to me. She said hi and then invited me over to her house for burgers with the kids. My husband was getting ready to leave for war and I was so in need of support. I had been a Christian for about 1 year and was sure in need of godly women.

As we sat and chatted about who we were and how we came to be where we were now I told myself this woman is a safe person for me. I really love talking to her. That conversation was nearly 10 years ago and we have had hundreds of conversations since then.

I wasn’t always in a leadership role so when I took on a leadership role in the church after fighting with God about my skills and talents my sweet friend came with me on this journey. She lives in another state now but we talk regularly. She has heard my tears, joys, anger, and heart through many circumstances in ministry.

Leadership can be lonely, hard, and frustrating at times we all need a small handful of friends who can walk with us through some tough decisions in ministry. Leadership is not a journey that we walk on alone because God never intended us to be lone Christian rangers.  He created us to be relational. But how do you find that godly person to go to when times get tough or when you want to celebrate what the Lord is doing? Below are 3 important steps to take to finding the right person to walk through leadership with.

  1. Prayer for the Lord to send the right person to you. God cares about our relationships with others so He will gladly answer that prayer for the right person.
  2. After prayer, be intentional on educating yourself in what a good friend looks like and become one. We usually attract the type of people we want to be like. A great book called, “Safe People” by Henry Cloud is a great starting point to becoming a great friend and looking for healthy traits in other women.
  3. Look for woman who you can learn from and grow from with. Women who absolutely adore Jesus and will not compromise their relationship with the Lord for anyone. Women who will graciously call you out and hold you accountable.

My sweet sister in Christ has been through this leadership journey with me since day one; and continues to encourage me and challenge me in my walk with Jesus. She has prayed with me and for me on numerous occasions. We are growing in godliness together. We aren’t perfect but we are in love with Jesus and His word.

We are living in the last days where people will turn to their own ways and not acknowledge who God is.  But, one thing I know for sure about our Father He always leaves a remnant of people behind to stand glorify Him and His holy name. It may get harder to find those who hearts are set on God, but when you pray and seek Him He will send the people your way.

Remember you can’t do it alone friend you need others to help you lift your hands up like Moses had in Exodus 17:13 NLT:

Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So, Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So, his hands held steady until sunset.”

Those friendships are invaluable and you will not regret having them when you them the most.

Perfectly United

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Heavenly Father, 

In light of this weekend, where division cast brother versus sister, neighbor versus neighbor… we pray for unity among the family of believers.  As brothers and sisters, adopted into your family, we are called to bear witness to the love of our Father.  We are called to walk in your statutes, we are called to love as you have loved.  Every word in the scriptures falls under your heart to reconcile your people to you, united as one body, serving as one body.  Let us not fall into the temptations and schemes of the Devil, who seeks to divide and destroy.  Instead let us link arms, draw close to one another, bear each other’s burdens, and carry one another forward as we press on.  Send your angel armies to surround us on all sides, for what God has brought together let no man separate.  Let peace be on our hearts, let kindness be on our tongues.  Help us to not repay evil for evil.  Help us to love and forgive, even when it feels impossible.  As we put on the armor of God, we shall not be weary but find our strength in you, to stand up to the darkness and shed light.  Let our light shine brighter, let the lost find their way to you for comfort and healing in your embrace.  Give courage to those who will stand up and call out the sin that is racism, protect them and their families from farm, and build up the courage for others to stand with them on the front lines.  Let there be no division among us, but perfectly united under your authority… of one mind, thought, and purpose.

In His name we pray,

Amen.

Event Recap – Budgets & Fundraising

 

Would you believe me if I told you we had a great meeting in July on budgets and fundraising?  That we could talk money is good and practical ways, getting in a laugh or two, and even benefitted from those who also had ideas to share in regards to ministry budget?

If you can’t believe it, you should… because it was an amazing meeting.  Thanks to Crossway Publishers, all of our women brought home a sample chapter of Chasing Contentment, and BH Publishing provided beautiful scripture magnets featuring Romans 14:19.  I loved this scripture because it speaks to exactly what we do as a ministry.

Peace.  Unity.  Building up one another.

Over the last few years we have given away some great books to our leaders, and we had a small stash of leftovers.  We used this as an opportunity to let the women grab a title they may have missed in the past.

Over the next few days, we’ll recap the highlights from this training event.

piggybanksWe’re going to begin with identifying some of the most common mistakes we make in regards to budgeting.  These are most common mistakes among ministries that are self funding versus receiving any budget from the church.  It is important to recognize these mistakes, understand why they are considered mistakes; so that we can move forward into the future with a better grasp on the importance tracking our spending.

5 Common Ministry Budget Mistakes:

  1. Failure to Keep Track of Ministry Spending:  If you hope to have a ministry budget in the future, you need to know what you are spending today.  Whether the money comes from a church budget or through donations made by the ministry team, we must keep track of our current spending in order to prepare for future spending.  
  2. Plan Events Without Considering the Budget:  Quite often as we plan events, someone will volunteer to purchase that item and count it as an offering to the church.  This is problematic for several reasons.  First, we can exceed our intended budgets without even realizing it.  Second, we can get too comfortable assuming that others will fill the gaps in our budget needs.  Third, as leaders of a ministry we are called to be good stewards of the funds we have been trusted with.  
  3. Not Reporting Ministry Expenses to Pastor/Finance Committee:  Many Pastors or Finance Committees may be entirely unaware of the cost of running your ministry.  They may not be aware that potluck luncheons still have expenses from childcare, speakers, and to materials distributed.  Just because you have not been given an official budget, or have raised the funds to fill in the gaps, doesn’t mean you don’t need to share these expenses with your overseers.  A quick report on your annual ministry expenses may open up the conversation for a budget or budget increase in the future.  If your spending exceeded the given budget, make sure to include how you filled the funding gap (fundraiser, anonymous patron, etc.).
  4. Assuming that No Budget Means No Money:  Just because you are not given an annual budget doesn’t automatically mean that there are no available funds.  You may be able to make a special request for specific events, purposes.  Additionally, your need may cross over into another budgeted area.  If you were planning a community outreach event, the church may have funds available in their outreach budget that can be funneled toward your event.
  5. Your Ministry Lacks Vision/Direction:  It can be tempting to plan your events month by month, however that is counter productive to budgeting.  Churches budget for an entire year, if you want to be included in the budget there must be a plan for the ministry.  You are more likely to get your ministry budget approved if you have planned for how you are going to spend it.  It is especially important to show that your ministry plans are part of the vision of the church versus working independently.  A planning session for budgeting should include determining the number and types of events you will have over the course of the year and what your anticipated costs are.

On Monday, we are going to dive into the budget topic more specifically.  Be sure to check back in!

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.