When it comes to building a women’s ministry team, we often hear successful women’s ministry leaders preach the mantra of “You need to find you some women who (fill in the blank)” or “Look for some women who (fill in the blank)”. It sounds so simple, but it can also feel so difficult when you get back to your church and look at your congregation of women. Some women you notice seem like obvious choices, but there are those others whom you would have never guessed. If you go with only the obvious ones, you may be overlooking some others. How do you know? How can you make sure you don’t overlook a great (and God) choice???
Let me share with you how my women’s ministry team(s) developed through “created” opportunities. I think these are some of the best ways to build a team and continually develop future leaders. Before I get into the mechanics of how, let me share my team with you for a congregation that averages upward to 600 in attendance weekly.
*Disclosure (2 of these leadership positions are filled by the same women on my core leadership team).
My women’s ministry leadership team meets regularly (once or twice per month and as needed) to insure we are progressing toward the vision God has set before us. We do this year to year. We have basically two main organizations. One is a denominational women’s missions organization that has its own officer structure; the group elects officers to lead this ministry. The other (“Joppa”) provides opportunities for women to join short-term ministry teams that do inreach, outreach, prayer, event planning, blessing, exhortation, service and special projects. Each team requires a volunteer facilitator.
The other ministries exist because these leaders had a desire and calling to do something, like form a Mom’s in Prayer Group and a Book Club. When women come to me with an honorable idea and they are 1) a Christian; 2) a church member; 3) consistent in attendance; and 4) spiritually growing and maturing, I am very open to giving them an opportunity. I have found it is much better to allow your women’s ministry to grow through your women’s pure and holy passions as opposed to trying to staff your own ministry standard. Allow the Holy Spirit to work through women to help form a God inspired women’s ministry, just like He placed gifted believers in the first New Testament churches as were needed to accomplish their God-designed ministry in their area.
“Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers” Acts 13:1
I also have need of women who will teach Discipleship classes that we offer on Sunday nights in the spring and fall. Sometimes I lead them as I am right now (See what Bible Study I am using here). Sometimes one of the women on my team will teach, but we will also use some women who are gifted in teaching and have a desire to teach a particular study. I love to give a new woman (who meets the aforementioned requirements) the opportunity to teach a Bible study that she is really passionate about – it is a win-win! Don’t hoard ministry; SHARE women’s ministry with other women! You can’t do it all. Your staff doesn’t expect you to do it all. And more importantly, your women DON’T want you to do it all.
Then I have (using the words “I have” very loosely here) a Discovery Bible Study women’s group. This came about organically. We have borrowed this fabulous Bible study format from a sister church. Our men’s group has taken off using it on Wednesday nights, and now the wife of the guy who implemented it has started doing the same thing with some of our women. It is growing and reaching women we have not been able to engage so we are excited!
So how did I get my leadership team? By planning a women’s conference! I had been leading women’s ministry for a couple of years, and pretty much trying to do it all – teaching Wednesday nights, Sunday night discipleship classes and a women’s Sunday School class. When the pastor I reported to decided we should host a women’s conference, I obviously could not pull that off by myself, plus I was still working a full-time job as a Corporate Human Resources Manager. I was really past my limit at this point! Recognizing this, my pastor pulled together a group of women to help plan it. When we were done, there was a core group that remained, and I just went from there. I thought I had been trying to build a team, but maybe I wasn’t doing something right. I was “looking for” and “seeking” women who might be led to and interested in women’s ministry, but it was not effective.
Perhaps, you may think and pray about hosting a large event where women will want to step up, and then see who at the end will potentially become your team members. Through this process you will have identified the women you work well with, those whom are committed to excellence, those who are dependable and have leadership skills, AND leads other women well. Plus you can get close enough to discern their love for the Lord and women’s ministry. It provides a perfect opportunity for vetting potential leadership team members.
As for establishing the leaders of my other team – the women’s involvement ministry (“Joppa”), I held a vision casting meeting for this new ministry and created the opportunity for women to volunteer to be facilitators. The Joppa facilitators have to be members of our church, but they do not have to be vetted in the same way we would a Bible teacher or ministry leader. This is a very entry level position, if you will. The cool thing about creating this opportunity is that women whom I never would have expected, came up to me afterwards and excitedly shared their interest in leading these short-term project teams. I remember one young woman in particular whom always sat in the back of my Wednesday night class. I would try to talk to her afterward without much success. But when I described how this ministry would work, she was so intrigued by it that she knew she wanted to facilitate a team. Hint: Younger women like to do hands-on ministry projects. They want to use their creative skills and get out there! Which is why it is no surprise that this is where the majority of my younger “leaders” (facilitators) are currently serving. I have CREATED at least 8 avenues for developing future women’s ministry leaders through this 1 ministry. Thank you, Jesus!!!
I hope you find these the strategies helpful in creating your women’s ministry team. Here is a recap:
1) Plan a large event for women to plan that will excite women to step up!
2) Host a vision-casting to introduce a brand new ministry, welcoming women to join in AND help lead
3) Utilize traditional structures to “vote in” competent leaders by the existing group
4) Be open and sensitive to women whom have a desire to lead a particular ministry or Bible study.
Don’t feel as if you have to stick to just any one method. You may have some other ideas, as well. Ministry is fluid so use various strategies as appropriate in different seasons of your church for different women’s ministries. There is really no cookie-cutter approach or just one method that will work every time in any church.
Check out my slide share with the succinct details of what I just shared with you in this post, PLUS a few more thoughts and details!
Please take some time to pray over these suggestions, and see how you sense God leading you. For more posts on Women’s Ministry, click the following links:
Award-winning Gina Duke is the Director of Women’s Ministry at her church where she has implemented a Women’s Involvement Ministry, called “Joppa”. Gina holds a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, and is currently completing her Associates in Ministry. Imparting biblical and practical solutions for authentic Christian Living, Gina is the founder and president of Churchtown Ministries, and author of “Organizing Your Prayer Closet” (Abingdon Press). She would love for you to subscribe to her blog at www.GinaDuke.com. You can find her on Pinterest at Gina Duke / Churchtown Ministries. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter @TheGinaDuke