I have two real-life disturbing tales about two different women’s ministries (Don’t make their mistakes!)
Several years ago, one of my pastor friends took an interim pastoral position, and one of the first things he did was shut down their women’s ministry. Yes. He. Did. When I asked him why he felt that was necessary, he said it was because the women only wanted to socialize. He had told them that it was fine to get together, but please do some ministry work, too. Since they were not interested in ministry, he disbanded the women’s ministry. Hmmm.
Some 15 years ago I was approached about taking an internship at a growing mega-church. I said that I would definitely be interested if I could do something with their women’s ministry team. The pastor said they no longer had a women’s ministry. How could a growing progressive church like this one NOT have a women’s ministry??? Noticing my shocked look, he went on to explain it had been disbanded because the women were only using their time together to vent about their husbands and it had created a plethora of problems, especially for their deacons. Oh!
Like anything else, whether it is a workforce or team, a counter-productive culture can build without much effort really. The two scenarios that I just described are examples of where there was an ineffective leader in place or no leader in place. As women’s ministry leaders we must remember that we set the tone. We set the tone for every aspect of our women’s ministry whether we know it or not, and whether we want to or not. It is our responsibility to insure a healthy, God-honoring culture in our women’s ministries.
Two ways we can keep our ministries from becoming a thorn in the side of the church is to provide structure and sound biblical teaching. An effective women’s ministry is built upon the vision of the church’s mission. My church’s mission is to Reach, Mature and Mobilize (that’s the short version). With that in mind, every plan I present to my staff about what we will be doing for the upcoming year, as well as every new initiative, must demonstrate how it reaches, matures or mobilizes our women. This guideline keeps me and my women’s ministry on track.
Additionally, when we are passionately committed to the Word of God, it discourages would-be gossips, and the like, from rising up. When the authority of God’s Word reigns in your life it will have the ability and influence to squelch un-Christ-like behavior in your women’s ministry.
From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part. Ephesians 4:16 HCSB
Women like to get together and we especially like to get together and just talk. Because few people are geared to just get out there and minister on their own, it is important for a women’s ministry to provide well-planned opportunities for women to minister through. The first scenario I described would have been greatly helped if someone would have taken the initiative to plan an outreach event or missions project periodically.
Because women like chatting, it doesn’t take much for us to veer off a healthy topic if we are not careful. One woman alone can ignite an improper discussion. Women like confiding in one another, and although bearing our souls and struggles can be comforting, it can also be destructive without proper balance. A healthy accountability ministry is one way to accomplish this because it provides a safe, confidential place for women to share their burdens while receiving godly counsel. But more than that, making Bible study the centerpiece of our women’s ministry helps everyone grow and mature in a Christ-honoring way.
Am I saying that Christian women cannot govern themselves? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that ministries do not govern themselves. It is imperative that church ministries represent the church – God’s body – well. Diligent women’s ministry leaders lead healthy women’s ministries.
I would love to hear some of things you do to keep your women’s ministry healthy, so please share in the comments section.
Lead on and lead well!
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