Women's Ministry

 

I have a confession – I really don’t have a job anymore.  I am the director of women’s ministry and I think I have worked myself out of a job.  How did this happen, you wonder?

I began leading women’s ministry in 2009.  Up until then, we had about five women planning an annual retreat and a struggling Women on Mission (Southern Baptist Organization focusing on educating and involving women in missions) of about eight senior adult women.

I took the vision God had given me for women’s ministry and ran with it, developing eight teams that were made up of a total of fifty women, and engaged them ministry projects.  It was a very exciting time for our women’s ministry!

During my first year of leading women’s ministry, I was doing almost everything (not recommended!) – teaching all the Bible studies, Wednesday night classes and the women’s Sunday School class.  Over time more women began to take leadership roles, leading Book clubs and Bible studies.  We began hosting women’s conferences and thriving.

Five years later, I’ve noted a change. I’ve noticed a change in our women.  They have grown and they are finding their own opportunities for ministry – without me.  They no longer need me.  At first, this made me feel like a failure.

women's ministry

 

While at a social, a group of women waived me over.  Of course, I assumed they needed my help.  They were trying to encourage another woman to call one of them when she felt overwhelmed.  One even described how she called another woman in our circle recently and had been calmed.  After the conversation ended I was confused about why I was even called over…because they did not need me.  I even wondered why the one lady had called the other lady instead of me.  Wasn’t I still approachable enough???  Isn’t that a silly thought?  After some retrospect, I felt that God wanted me to recognize that they were now equipped to encourage one another – without me.

I had started a women’s Sunday School class in 2007.  It had been going well, but after taking over the responsibility for leading our women’s ministry, I could no longer lead it, so I handed it over to another woman who felt called to women’s ministry.  Recently, I visited that Sunday Class, and I felt an overwhelming presence of God in that class.  I am more of a lecturer, so few women gave input when I taught.  But now, this group of women is very comfortable sharing and encouraging one another.  This class has grown numerically and spiritually – without me.

In 2010, our Women on Mission was officially moved under the women’s ministry umbrella.  The president stepped down to take care of family matters so I appointed another woman who had a passion for that ministry.  Today, it is the preferred women’s ministry offering in our church and has grown tremendously – without me.

Our church also recently started engaging at a local children’s mission.  Women are feeding and loving those kids. Some of our women are mentoring those kid’s moms – without me.

And it’s all wonderful!

Here we are in 2015, and my Wednesday night class is less full now. Our women are serving in missions, missions support and working with our own youth and children’s ministries.  They are leading their own Bible studies and prayer groups.

I had noticed this for a while and had mentioned my concern over my diminishing Wednesday night class to the pastor I report to.  He then asked me a very thought-provoking question.  He asked, Do you think it’s your job to get every woman in our church involved in women’s ministry?  I guess I had believed that. But now that sounded so silly to me.

Our goal is not to get women engaged in women’s ministry, but into the ministry of the church, ministering to others and growing closer to God.  Maybe we help facilitate that process with women’s ministry initiatives, but a women’s ministry should not be the sum of our efforts.  The sum of our women’s ministry should be to encourage authentic gospel living.  That’s how we work ourselves out of a job, and that’s okay.

women's ministry

In case you want to work yourself out of job (a.k.a. facilitate spiritual growth in your church’s women), here are the 3 main things I recommend doing:

  1. Share ministry; don’t hoard it. As women feel led to teach a class, lead a team and branch out to other non-women’s ministries, encourage them.  When possible, help launch them into their desired ministry
  2. Teach on spiritual gifts. Every believer should know what their giftings are and challenged to use them in ministry.  I try to teach on this topic about every three years.
  3. Be excited about your own ministry. Paul said in Roman’s 11:13b-14 “I magnify my ministry, if I can somehow make my own people jealous and save some of them.”  Gill’s Exposition says of this scripture, “provoke to emulation”.  I want to compel women to follow Jesus by demonstrating how much I love living for Him and serving Him.

So, what’s next for me?  Am I done?  By no means am I done.  As our women change and grow, I must adjust how I lead that function of my church.  I am looking at new opportunities for engaging and assimilating new women.  I am considering our college-aged girls.  I am devising plans to reach more women in our community.

How are you working yourself out of your job?  What’s up next for you?
Spur On!

~gina

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, Hebrews 10:24

Hey, Women’s Ministry Leaders/Directors/Team Members!

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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.

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12 Comments

  1. Loved your blog. Agree totally. I’m a women’s leader too. I love to see my women branching out and doing new things. I try to encourage them and present opportunities to do so. There can be the temptation though to “take over” sometimes. I have to fight against that. Even Jesus gave the disciples opportunities didn’t He? thanks for sharing.

  2. I love this, Gina! I wish more leaders could understand this concept, of equipping others to work through their giftings without one main person telling them what to do all the time. You are an example of a true leader by working yourself out of a job. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thank you, Lisa. I think what helped me the most when it came to sharing ministry with other women is from my desire for someone to give me an opportunity. I had great women when I was young give me opportunities that I didn’t even think I was ready for. It meant so much to me that I want to be that kind of mentor, too. ~gina

  3. I feel like I’m just beginning on this journey of women’s ministry, so it is hard thinking of how I will work myself out of it, but I agree with what you are saying and am interested to see where the Lord leads me. I love the Bible verse you ended with, because our lives our an on-going living ministry that hopefully spurs others to live in service of each other and of Christ.

    1. It’s been an amazing journey thus far! Our women are much more independent now in their pursuit of Christian living.

  4. I had to pull away from leading our women’s group but I soon came to understand that they were very much still following my leading. We were going through a family crisis where one committed suicide, one died naturally and another had cancer and it all happened at the same time. They watched how I worshiped, how I spoke and read what I wrote as I inadvertently lead them by example. I love what Kristi said in her comment above: ‘ because our lives are an on-going living ministry that hopefully spurs others to live in service of each other and of Christ.’

    1. Jeannie, You make a great point! We are always leading even when we are just living life. So sorry to hear about your difficult season. Thank you for sharing. ~gina

  5. Although I am not in women’s ministry per se, I do appreciate your viewpoint. I believe, essentially, we should look at our jobs this way whatever our ministry.

    Years ago, it was pointed out to me how different and powerful Ephesians 4:11,on, becomes with a little adjustment of the commas (realizing the punctuation was not in the original text). From KJV: “And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, [Why?] For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (vs. 11-12)

    Whatever our job, that’s our job: equip others. When they don’t “need us” anymore, we’re not failures — we are successes in need of our next assignment! 😉

    Continued blessings in your ministry!

  6. If only folks would get this concept! In my different postions through the years, I began early on to identify not only my replacement but other women to begin developing their giftings especially in “leadership and teaching” since that was usually the main focus of my ministry. Maybe it helped that we moved frequently and I saw this patterned by women and men.

  7. Something i needed to hear today, very well said and explained. I am the leader in our church’s woman’s group, and boy have i seen how much we have grown in the past few years, from being me doing it all and leading 5 women to many of them working on their own today in many branches. But today i am faced with that, i worked my self out of my job. I too was thinking maybe i did something wrong and where do i go from here?, although still leading. I am glad to have read this today, i now have a different perspective of it all, my job is far less from finished.

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