Two Big Lessons I Learned in My First Two Years of Leading a Women's Ministry

October 27, 2015





It’s been just a little over two years since I began working on fulfilling a calling I felt God had laid on my heart, women’s ministry.  Although I must say, the tugs on my heart were long there before I would really listen to them.   


It’s amazing how God can impress on your heart certain things, certain callings.  It’s even more amazing when he does the same thing in another person and you find yourself coming together with the same desires placed on both of your hearts. 


On our way back from a women’s conference in our church van my friend and I began to dream.  We shared our hearts and our vision for a new ministry idea.  We wanted to reach women where they were and encourage a closer walk with Christ.  We just started rambling about all the possibilities. We can do this, we can do that.  It was all so exciting.  


And there in that church van somewhere off Hwy 27,  our women’s ministry was born. 


I’ll share more about our startup in a later post.  What I would like to share with you today are two very valuable lessons I have learned since that ride in our church van.  For some reason I thought that since God had given us this vision for a ministry it would be all smooth sailing from there.  Boy oh boy was I wrong. 

Since stepping into this new leadership role I’ve probably done more wrong than right.  I tend to learn more from my failures than I do my successes.  So here we go, two of the biggest lessons that I learned in my first two years of women’s ministry…



Lesson 1: You cannot rely solely on your passion.  


I’ll be honest, when I first began in women’s ministry I thought my passion for wanting to serve women would be all I needed.  Since I felt this call on my life, I should already know what I’m doing right?  Wrong.  This is a great concept in theory but it doesn’t measure up. 


Passion may give you drive, but it doesn’t organize meetings, plan events, or lead Bible studies.


I equate this idea to that of an artist.  A great artist doesn’t just rely on their passion for painting or sculpting. They take the time and hone their craft.  They practice new skills, try new methods.  Their passion may fuel them, but it doesn’t carry them through.  It is a combination of their passion and skill that make them successful.      


As a leader, I cannot just rely on my passion for helping women.  I must work on my craft.  I must practice my skills.  This may mean leading group Bible studies to work on my speaking skills, improving my organization abilities by finding methods for record keeping that work for me.  It may also mean building relationships with other leaders who have been serving for longer than I have.  Building relationships with other leaders has been extraordinarily helpful to me.    


Whether it’s fellow church members, blogs I follow, or conferences I attend, I’m always on the lookout for how other leaders are choosing to serve women in their community.  I observe what they do well and try to learn from what they have voiced as their failures.  I see their passion for serving women, but I also see how hard they work to grow in their leadership skills.


Passion is a wonderful thing, but it must be met with skill and purpose.  If I don’t put the work in and equip myself as a leader, I’m like an artist who wants to paint a picture but doesn’t know how to hold her paint brush. 





When your passion is met with skill and purpose, it can produce a glorious harvest for The Lord.  




Lesson 2:  Ministry is more than a Bible study.  


I know this may seem like an obvious one but to me it wasn’t.  I assumed that because I was a woman, I knew what women needed when it came to their spiritual lives.  Wrong again.  Don’t put assumptions on the women you are serving.  Each woman has a different need and each group has a different dynamic.     


We started off with Bible study and devotional time at our meetings.  Not that this is a bad thing, because it’s not.  But once we began asking our ladies what they wanted to see, it became clear that they wanted more time to fellowship with other women. They didn’t just want a Bible study.


We see each other at church every week, but how much of that is actually spent being able to share what’s going on in our lives?  It’s mostly small talk because we’re all running here or there on Sunday mornings. 


Our women wanted more time to talk and simply be with one another.  So we began offering a mix of Bible study time and fellowship opportunities.  This has proven to be wonderful and it’s amazing to see how relationships have flourished between our women.  It’s important to remember that


You don’t always need to have Bible study to make an impact on women.



It’s meeting them where they are at.  Its relationships.  If they have had a bad week, offer them encouragement through a fun fellowship opportunity (a craft party, bowling, dinner out).  Some women are also more likely to accept an invitation to your church if they can meet other women in a less intense situation.  Something that promotes conversation such as a craft party or a fun night out can help ease any nerves they have about being around a new group of women.  In return, they may feel more comfortable about coming to a Bible study. 


Ministry is more than a Bible study, especially when it comes to women.  We often like to hide our struggles.  We always want to appear like we have it all together.  We show up on Sunday’s and smile at people and say we are fine and everyone is doing well, but that’s not reality for most of us. Many of us are performing a juggling act between family, work, friends, ministry, our hobbies and growing in our relationship with God.    


Ministry does mean more than having Bible study together every week.  It means a sense of community and fellowship among women.  There is community in sharing our struggles with one another.  There is friendship found in the deep dark places where no one goes.  There is comfort when another woman whispers me too to the woman who felt all alone in her pain.  There is Jesus shared between women who just let go and let their guards down in front of each other. 


It is beautiful watching women come together.  Whether it’s during a Bible study lesson or between two women during a private moment after Sunday school.  There is such beauty in the sisterhood of Christ. 


Bible study is an essential part of our walk with Christ so I hope you understand that I’m not saying not to have Bible study or do devotions within your women's ministry.  It’s just that for me, I’ve learned that there is a great need for community among believers and that includes more than gathering together once a week for a women’s Bible study.  




I want to help produce a relationship among our women which in return will encourage them to want to grow more in their relationship with Christ.




So there you have it.  Two of my biggest lessons learned in my first two years of leading a women’s ministry.  They aren’t groundbreaking observations or things that could change the world, but they have encouraged me to dig deeper and serve women in a different context.  A more real context.   I've learned there is no magic formula for a successful women's ministry.  It's seeing a need among the women you serve (or hope to serve) and creating a safe place for them to share their struggles, their pain, their hardships, and encouraging them to have a stronger walk with Christ.  


Over the next few months I’ll be sharing more about what I’ve learned since answering the call to pursue women’s ministry.  I’ll share a few of my failures and a few of my favorite ministry events as well as my go to resources for all things women’s ministry.


I would love to hear from YOU!  


If you are a ministry leader, what are some of the lessons you have learned?



As a participant, are there more effective ways your leaders can serve you? 

4 comments :

  1. So many "Ah-ha!!" moments in this post. Thank you. I wholeheartedly agree with you that women need that personal relationship with other females along with our study of the word. Very interesting.

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  2. Would love to be able to print this information. Don't see a link to be able to do this.

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  3. Great post! I wholeheartedly agree with your points! I especially love "Ministry is more than a Bible study." It is so much more. It is about walking side-by-side through the ups and downs of life. It is real and transparent and filled with a love bigger than ourselves - filled with the love of Christ. I am so glad to know that you are leading and pursuing God's heart as you do so! I just bet your ministry is a beautiful blessing to many! It was so fun to find you on #FaithandFellowship!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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  4. "Since stepping into this new leadership role I’ve probably done more wrong than right. I tend to learn more from my failures than I do my successes."

    This is SO good! And I can totally relate. My biggest struggle recently was being faithful in giving UP a ministry (our small group ministry... I had to step back for my own family commitments) but I can definitely say I have had both of these experiences as a leader as well. The past... hmmm... 4 years (?) have been a HUGE time of refining fire for me as God continues to teach me patience and trust in HIS work... most of which I will probably never see after I do the part He asks me to do!

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