Hey Boss-Sister – Happy Labor Day Weekend!
In this week’s Tuesday episode of my podcast, I shared how structure invites engagement from those you lead whether at church or in the market place. Listen on Apple HERE. In Thursday’s mini planning session, I shared how to launch into the new month. The links and script are contained in this post. Listen on Apple iTunes HERE.
You will want to take note of this one thing you will need, if you ever want your group of people to engage – to get involved, to make progress, and get results. And only you can provide it. If this sounds intimidating, don’t be. All you will need is some inspired creativity. Fortunately for you, I have plenty. Welcome to episode 14.
You are listening to an Order episode. I help Christian women grow in faith, order and influence so they can become transformational leaders. Today’s order topic is mainly for the benefit of our leadership roles and it’s a good one. I actually stumbled on this after launching into my role as a Director of Women’s Ministry. How many times have you implemented a program and looking back afterwards realize the various benefits, side effects and consequences? Hopefully, they are all good, but sometimes you will get something negative that was unintended and what I am sharing today is not that. Oh, and even if you are not a ministry leader, don’t check out on me here Phyllis because what I am sharing today is transferrable knowledge, which means you can use it anywhere where you may be leading.
If you are responsible for a group of people who you feel is not engaged or have a team who is floundering, it may be because they are missing this one thing – structure. You may not be providing them with enough structure to get the desired results. And if you are kicking off something new, you will want to make an investment in setting up a good structure for them to operate in.
Our Bible Study class at church uses The Gospel Project literature and we are studying the book of Genesis right now and the first chapter truly speaks to my topic of structure. God started with nothing useful; it was just a void and darkness. He created light and from that came time . And throughout the other days of creation, He created structure for His creation.
There are two things that the lack of structure causes – chaos and inactivity. Let’s say you have a team who is not progressing, it may be lack of a good operating process. If you are starting something new, you can’t expect people to jump in this thing with you if they don’t know what they are jumping into. So the very base of both of these scenarios is that there is no visual framework or clear path within for them to move forward.
People do not organize themselves. And things do not get done without organized people. Our job as leaders is to provide just enough structure for people to engage. And I am emphasizing just enough to make a point – there is a balance. If you go overboard, then you will be practically doing the work for them, and that’s NOT leadership – that’s called a path to burnout. But if you have too little structure, then your peeps may not latch on… You want to provide just enough structure that they will take your thing and run with it. How great would that be??? This description has me thinking about Goldilocks – too hard, too soft, just right! That’s what you are looking for. So what does “just enough” structure look like?
Let me share with you what I did when I was a new Director of Women’s Ministry… My goal was ministry involvement for our women. Think of an area where you would like to see more engagement and make a mental note of your goal. I wanted women who were not serving in other capacities at church to find a place with me for ministry so I created a Women’s Involvement Ministry. I actually named it Joppa because one of my favorite authors of Christian reference material, the late Herbert Lockyer, said that Joppa was a town where many women were involved in many charitable businesses. And I think that for back in that time, that was very uncommon. And I too wanted to provide a place for our women to impact others. Plus, Joppa just sounds fun and causes women to ask – What is JOPPA? So it its name was a great marketing tool. When I launched this ministry – 50 women out of the 65 women who attended my vision casting meeting signed up. This was huge for a congregation who had about 650 in weekly attendance.
This Women’s Involvement Ministry was made up of 8 teams that the women could join. The teams were:
Event Planning Team
These teams were given specific focused activities, which is part of providing just enough structure.
So, on the first Wed night of the month, each team met in our church fellowship hall and planned a project to complete within the next 30 days before their next meeting. So I had a designated place and time for the teams to meet with an assignment and deadline. This is basic structure.
Each team had a facilitator who shared the lesson plan I created. Are you giving your group members opportunities to lead? Some will already have leadership skills and some will have a desire to become leaders – use both. Assign champions to your thing; share your leadership role. This will up your engagement considerably. You will need to provide support to them but they will still multiply your efforts so be rest assured there will be a payoff to your training and development investment. Also notice that I am not calling the facilitators leaders and that is because that title would have created too much hesitancy. Most people do not consider themselves as leaders, and when you throw in a church title like that, many women would not feel confident in taking on that responsibility. Facilitating something sounds a whole lot more do-able, doesn’t it? So take that tip for what it’s worth.
Please note that people are looking for upward mobility and a place to be useful. Some operate better within a leadership role. I had this one girl who attended all of my Wednesday night Bible study classes, but she always sat in the back, alone and rarely spoke to anyone. I would try to engage her without success. After the vision casting for Joppa, I was totally surprised when she came up to me and said “I get what you are doing and I want to be a facilitator” and so she was. I once worked with a woman who was super intelligent but could be a real instigator UNTIL she was put in a leadership role. Now obviously there was some emotional intelligence issues with her, but at least in a leadership role, her energy could be redirected and put to good use, and she grew into even higher levels of responsibility throughout her career. Also, introverts will become more involved if they have a specific role to play. Instead of them left to their own motivation to get involved, just enough structure gives them a place to engage and shine.
I also provided the material which was a short devotional about a woman from the Bible whose team was her namesake. For instance, the event planning team was called Esther’s Events and they studied Queen Esther from the book of Esther, which was full of extravagant events. Our prayer team was called Lydia’s Guild. As you probably know, Lydia attended prayer services near the river in Phillipi? The Apostle Paul led her to Christ there. And guilds for various skilled trades were very popular in that time – so that’s where I came up with Lydia’s Guild name for the prayer team.
I provided each team’s devotional as a written letter and all the facilitators had to do was read the letter. See how simple I am making this for the facilitators to take the lead with? Again, its about providing just enough structure…
I also provided idea cards that were appropriate for each team’s purpose and I encouraged each facilitator to come with their own back-up ministry project idea, but I really wanted the team members to come up with the ministry idea. You see, I had provided just enough structure for these groups of women to interject their own ministry ideas and this is what made Joppa so unique in their church experience. As you know, women do not always have an open format to submit their ideas in church on a regular basis, but here on Joppa Night, they absolutely could! And if for some reason they couldn’t which was rare, they had their facilitator’s idea or the back up for the facilitator which was my idea cards with which they could use to brainstorm. It was just enough structure.
We cycled through three years of Joppa Nights and ministered to countless people within both our church and community. It was highly successful. The local newspaper even did a story on it. The minister of ed and administration credited the success of the women’s involvement ministry for spawning off another ten ministries within our church within its first year of inception. So all that structure can lay the foundation for other value-added activities to be built upon until you have something you would otherwise not have because of inactivity. The lack of just enough structure leaves you with inactivity. Remember that!
It was after seeing the success of this women’s involvement ministry that I realized that when we leaders provide just enough structure people will engage. You see, many church members want to do ministry work but they don’t necessarily know how to, or they don’t want to do it alone, or they are unsure of their own ideas… so by providing them structure invites them to engage in ministry work. They will do it and they will do it happily.
Once you have hit the sweet spot of “just enough structure” you will want to do as God did with the good things of His creation. Genesis 1:4 states God saw that the light was good (pleasing, useful) and [e]He affirmed and sustained it;
Providing just enough structure will require your planning on the front end and the commitment to sustaining it thereafter as long as that activity is needed.
Even on the job, you can use a similar setup. I’ve done something similar with my safety teams before. How can you provide just enough structure in a team setting that will drive up engagement and blow through all of your goals? Just use my Joppa model…here are the take-aways:
- Vision cast – Help everyone see the big picture and make it exciting or at least highly important
- Provide boundaries/perimeter – a place, a time, goals and deadlines.
- Designate and develop facilitators who will multiply your efforts beyond what you could accomplish on your own.
- Provide the needed resources and be available to breakdown barriers
- Make it fun if not at least enjoyable for the team members. Happy team members are more productive team members.
- Sustain your structure.
If you are ministry leader who would like to participate in my program where I help you create your own Women’s Involvement Ministry, please reach out to me today, as the doors are closing on Friday, September 17th. There is a link in my show notes that will give you all the details.
So I think I am leaving you with a new leadership maxim today that will help you recall all the good tips of this episode… here it is: Just Enough Structure Invites Engagement. All you have to do is create it and sustain it.
Launch into September!
You are on a roll boss-sister! That’s right, you’ve rolled right up into a new month…Welcome to September! Y’all, It’s the last month of the 3rd quarter of 2021. Fall is peeking around the corner. Time is flying. Can you even believe that this year is soon coming to a close? I just can’t even. I love Fall and all, but I cannot believe that we will soon be buying porch pumpkins, planting mums and roasting marshmallows. This is a mini planning session to help you look ahead. Welcome to episode 15.
We are going to kick off this mini planning session with a short review of what I’ve already shared in previous episodes about how to address a new month. Grab your planner and your water and hit refresh.
In Ep 4 I shared a tip to stop procrastination, here’s how it works – at the beginning of each month we look ahead to see what birthdays and special events are in the month and by the 2nd day of the month, we make our plans, card and gift purchases so we are ready to go! Now this month, I am waiting until Labor Day weekend because I want to get the sale prices… what about you? This is a big birthday month for my family – it’s my husband’s birthday, my younger daughter’s birthday and now my granddaughter’s birthday and she will be one. We are going to throw her an Alice and Wonderland Party so I’ve been texting my daughter reminders about ordering all the party favors. I want everything settled by Sept 2, which is today!
In Ep 7 I reminded you that This weekend is the last long weekend to have any kind of last summer hoorah. If you have not thought about it – wait no longer! My hubs is taking off next week for his birthday and I am just going to be open to whatever he decides to do day-to-day. I am taking a no-planning approach. The last time he took off for a week, I made all these plans of things he said he wanted to do, and I don’t think we did any of them. He mostly just took naps and I thought if that’s what he wants to do, then fine by me. Plus, we just installed a swimming pool so it’s like summer 2.0 over here.
In Ep 11 I said that September would be coming in hot with all the questions. One of which was am I going to try to get all my husband’s extended family together. And as much as I would like to do this – I’ve decided not to do any huge gatherings because I’ve got people deathly sick and dying all around me from COVID and it is so heartbreaking. I am a safety girl and safe I will try to be. I pray you all will be safe, too!
In Ep 11, I also encouraged you to peak into the next month, which would be October now and just see what needs to get on your radar. Remember these mini sessions are a concierge service to help you stay on track when you’ve been covered up slaying it at work Phyllis!
In Ep 13, I gave a great tip for inventorying your wardrobe and coming up with a list of needed items so you will be ready to make pre-planned intentional purchases during the Labor Day sales. Ladies, are you ready??? I am!
Okay, you should now be ready for September.
But before you go, I have 2 things I want to share with you:
- Please take care of your emotional health. I must admit that after hearing about the 2nd COVID related death this week, which was someone close to my family who died today, and wondering if this pandemic will ever end, I had to take some alone time today for a good cry. Listen to episode 12. I had to remind myself of the three things I can do when the world feels like it is caving in. Lean into Jesus and seek medical assistance. Feel free to use this holiday weekend to just relax and shut the world off if you can. I pray you feel the comfort of God.
- If you have not joined my Facebook group. It’s called Life & Leadership Strategies for Transformational Christian Women – I’ve dropped a link in the show notes. I want you to come hang out there with me so we can get to know each other better. This would make me so happy! And there is 25 other awesome women waiting there for you to join us too!
I hope you have a happy holiday. It is well deserved my friend!
Links to both shows are below.
Commercial to Women’s Ministry Leaders and Directors – A Women’s Involvement Ministry 3 Year Program – Facebook Interest Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/joppainterest To purchase the program, go here: https://etsy.me/3lh4ILc
As a free gift for taking part of this LFOI experiment with me, I have a 15-page LFOI Framework Guide so that you can build your own personal framework for a Lifestyle of Faith, Order & Influence: https://ginaduke.com/podcast-resources/
Let’s build community in my private Facebook Group for The Gina Duke Show so we can LFOI together – Ha! https://www.facebook.com/groups/ginadukepodcast
One of the best things you can do to have more order in your life, is to have an organized approach to your prayer life. Grab yourself a copy of my award-winning book, Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray (Abingdon Press) https://amzn.to/3BWt2rw
For coaching, consulting, or collaboration, contact me here: https://ginaduke.com/contact-gina/
You can also follow me @TheGinaDuke on Instagram where I like to post pics of my junk journal inspired prayer journals. You just might want one for yourself!
Thank you for stopping by! Please tell ALL your girlfriends and female colleagues about the Gina Duke Show for faith-filled female leaders who want to grow in faith, order & influence.
Enjoy your LFOI and lead on sister!