I would say that I spend as much as 50-60% of my time in women’s ministry feeling guilty. As the Director of Women’s Ministry, I often see and hear about women in my congregation whom are going through something. Whether it is an illness, divorce, financial struggles or parenting woes, there are a lot of women struggling in my church, just as I am sure there are in yours.
Obviously, I cannot personally minister to them all. I have family obligations, work commitments and other ministry responsibilities that I have to tend to, but that does not keep me from wanting to minister to them and feeling guilty when I can’t. And sometimes, I replace guilt with resentment.
One day while I was doing laundry before my husband left for business travel, and I had a house full of g-kids, I received a group text that one of the single senior adult women from our church had a busted water pipe at her house, and was in need of help. Guilt was telling me to drop everything and go to her since she lived nearby. But, I couldn’t. My husband needed his clothes, and I had three kids under the age of 6 in my care.
I decided right then that something had to go, namely guilt. I could not continue on under this dark cloud of guilt any longer. This is when I decided to make a decision tree for myself, because frankly, this comes up often.
This may only make sense to people who are process-driven like me, but maybe it will make sense to everyone, as well as provide a helpful solution.
The church is designed to be a group of believers who take care of one another…
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Galatians 6:9-10
I think it is clear that God does not want us to become weary (=resentment), plus, He says as we have opportunity to do good, do it especially for other sisters of the faith (I’m paraphrasing here). I don’t believe this verse is stating that we should kill ourselves by trying to be everything to everyone in our church. Do you? We can look at “opportunity” as every scenario that presents itself or a as we can – there’s a difference!
So, here are the questions I am now asking myself when trying to decide if I should respond to a particular crisis:
- Is this woman in my small group? If so, I should do something. In the scenario I gave above, the woman was not in my small group. If you attend a large church, or a church of any size really, ministry happens in small groups where we are connected. Allow this to help focus you on your people.
- If #1 is a Yes, I ask this: Is this a woman with whom I have a special connection AND in need of an opportunity to share Jesus, or mentor? If so, I may want to seize this opportunity. Even though the sister in my scenario and I are close, it was not a situation where I had been looking or praying for a special opportunity to minister to her.
- If #2 is a Yes, I ask myself: Do I have the skills, knowledge or abilities to help this woman? If so, I should respond. In the above scenario, I did not have the skill set to help with a broken water pipe.
- If Yes to #3, ponder: Will this woman be open to my help? If not, I may want reconsider stepping forward. There can be complicated and sensitive situations that might cause a counterproductive reaction to help from a particular person/people.
- If Yes to #4, I ask myself: Am I available? If so, I should proceed with responding. In the scenario above, I was not available. I had to finish my husband’s laundry and I could not leave my grandsons. Remember, the scripture above, says “while we have opportunity.”
There is only 1 thing that will trump all 5 of these questions, and that is the Person of Holy Spirit. I am sure you have had moments where you respond to a situation—no questions asked because you know God is driving you to respond. You go in faith believing He will equip you.
Please know that this decision tree is not a way to get out of serving others, but a way out from under needless guilt when you can’t. If it is your conviction by God’s Spirit to help someone when they meet none of the criteria above, then by all means – Go!
But, if you are a leader like me who struggles with guilt because you know that you can’t be everything to every woman in your congregation, then please use this decision tree to help discern it and rest in it. Amen.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Proverbs 3:27
And, as for the rest of the story, men from my sister’s Sunday School class (small group) and deacon responded. This is how the church is supposed to work. #noguilt
” And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” Hebrews 10:24
Dear Guest, When you subscribe here to my blog, you will receive these weekly features: (Click and check out the corresponding posts!)
Hey, Women’s Ministry Leaders/Directors/Team Members! Check out this MUST-FOLLOW Pinterest Board featuring bloggers who write about tips, strategies and ideas for Women’s Ministry! Be sure to follow it to stay on top of the latest posts!!!
I am excited to announce that I will soon be releasing my first eBook: Publishing Dreams: Everything You Should be Doing RIGHT NOW to Get a Book Deal without an Agent. In approximately 20,000 words, I am going to share with you everything I know about turning your publishing dreams into a reality. Stay tuned…Coming Soon!