11 Time Savers for Busy Women’s Ministry Leaders

 

A few months back I sent an email out to all of my subscribers asking: “What is your biggest struggle right now?”

Over and over I heard:

  • I am overloaded
  • I’m so busy
  • I have too many things to do and not enough time
  • I’m overwhelmed

Can you relate?

I’ve been there before and know it’s a place I’ll visit again.

Today I want to share some practical time savers I use and love.

When I find something that’s able to save me time cooking, cleaning, or working on ministry projects I am all-in!

I hope there will be something on the list that you find helpful.

Some are free – yeah! And others you may want to place on your birthday or Christmas list.

PSA: Please note that there are affiliate links below. If you chose to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission that helps to cover the costs of this site. Your support is appreciated. Thanks!

Now on to the time savers!

11 Time Savers for Women’s Ministry Leaders

1. Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that allows you to prep meals faster! I love, love, love my Instant Pot. Ya’all I have made moist, delicious chicken in basically 30 minutes. I cooked corn on the cob in 3 and made mashed potatoes in 8. Seriously. This has transformed our mealtime. It is currently one of my most favorite things! If you have a favorite Instant Pot recipe, I’d love for you to share it in the comments below!

2. Zaycon Fresh

Zaycon Fresh is a company that allows you to purchase meat in bulk at great prices. Every item is as direct from the farm/processor as possible. Items are delivered to a location near you. You’ll have just an hour to get there to pick up your items, but the price break is so worth it! You’ll make less trips to the store. Meal plan from your freezer. We’ve ordered the shrimp (huge!), chicken breasts (the biggest I’ve ever seen), and ribs so far. I’m planning to order some ground turkey soon.

3. HootSuite

I use the free version regularly for this site. HootSuite allows you to distribute announcements through multiple social media sites all at one time. No logging in and out of each one! If your women’s ministry uses social media to communicate to your ladies this would be a huge help and time saver!

4. PicMonkey

PicMonkey allows you to easily create graphics and images for women’s ministry events. I have the paid version because I like to use several of the “royale” features. As much as I use it, it’s worth it. Every image you’ve seen me post on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter was created with PicMonkey.

5. Kindle

About a year and a half ago I switched from using a Kindle Fire to a Paperwhite Kindle. I love that my Kindle allows me to read my Bible and other books on the go – taking advantage of small pockets of time. The Paperwhite Kindle is much easier to read outdoors. And you’re probably aware that books are cheaper on the Kindle than in paperback form – plus you don’t have to wait for the mailman!

6. Study Bible

A few years back I was gifted this HCSB Study Bible. For a while I was doing the electronic Bible thing but I found I was really missing turning pages and digging into the notes in my study Bible. I love that I don’t have to stop to pull out a resource book or Google. As we embark on a new way of doing bible study with our women this fall, my study Bible will be getting a work out!

Making the best use of time

7. Pinterest

I have Pinterest installed on my toolbar so I can save ideas as I come across them. It’s so much easier than spending hours searching on Google for it! I have secret boards for ideas I don’t want to share publicly. I’ve created shared boards for our women’s ministry team planning. I’ve pinned hundreds, if not thousands, of recipes, home ideas, holiday decorating tips, etc. I’ve got both a personal and a business account on Pinterest. I love that you can search Pinterest and just see the things you’ve pinned. Huge time saver!

8. iDrive

My husband set us up an account for our personal use, but I find I’m using it often to send documents and photos to team members. When we went to Panama we were able to share a link with all of our 600+ photos with the whole group. We’ve set it to automatically sync our computers every day ensuring if something crashes we’re not sunk! After losing some photos on an external hard drive years ago, I rely on iDrive to keep copies of our photos safe too. I also have it installed on my phone so I can upload photos and videos when we’re traveling. I’ll never have to run out of space on my phone.

9. Checklists

I am a serious list maker. Lists keep me on task. If I don’t write it down, chances are I’ll forget. I don’t head to the store without printing out my grocery list (based on the week’s current sales ad). I’ve got lists for all kinds of women’s ministry tasks, for packing, for blogging, etc. I recently shared this video by Becky Higgins about list making in my monthly subscribers-only newsletter.  I really like this new way of tackling my weekly to-do list.

10. Roomba

Yes, this is a splurge. My dear hubby got this for either my birthday or Christmas, I don’t remember which, and it was a deal at the time. Confession, I have a messy house. Seriously. I can organize and plan an event, but my house is never visitor-ready. If you’re going to stop by, can you at least give me an hour to run like a maniac through the house hiding stuff? So this fancy little robot vacuum has been awesome on the floors, rugs, and carpet in our house. I’m always shocked when I empty it. It finds dust and hair I didn’t know was on our floors. It saves me hours of cleaning. It’s a win-win-win in my book!

11. Amazon Prime

We’ve found the annual membership fee more than pays for itself between the money we save and the time we save. Just last week I realized I was about out of black ink for our printer. Rather than take an hour to run to the store (and pay 4 times more) I hopped onto Amazon and with our Prime membership it was here in two days with free shipping. Sometimes I find items ship even faster! Whether it’s for our own needs or ministry needs, I head to Amazon first before I head to the store or mall. We’re also enjoying the free movies and free music you can stream. Rather than taking the time to run to our nearest Redbox, I hop online. If you don’t have a Prime account, you can try it for 30 days for FREE – just click this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial . Happy shopping!

May God give each one of us wisdom to make the best use of the time He has given us!

You may also want to read:
10 Tips for Surviving a Crazy Ministry Week

One year ago: Fall Table Talk Cards (Free Printable)
Two years ago: Does your ministry need a Facebook group?
Three years ago: Publicity Checklist


 

Encouragement Idea: Blessings Bags

Brand New Publicity Idea for Reaching Your Neighbors

Brand New Publicity Idea for Reaching Your Neighbors

Quite by accident I stumbled upon an effective, new publicity idea when I was working on promoting our Bible Journaling Event.

That event is a perfect outreach event. The problem lies in getting the word out.

But I figured out a new way how to get the word out!

Perhaps, like me, you live in a big neighborhood and know only a few of your neighbors.

You may wave at most of the folks living on your block, but inviting them to church may seem a bit too forward (or even a little creepy) when you don’t have much of a relationship to speak of.

There is a way to cast an invitation to your neighbors online that eliminates that awkward “Hi there, I know we don’t know each other’s names and we just wave, but there’s this really neat event coming up at our church that I think you’d enjoy.”.

So just what is this online new publicity tool?

It’s a site called Nextdoor.

Nextdoor is a “private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. It’s the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. And it’s free.”

Every user must verify their address and must use their real name. You decide how much personal information is shared online. You also decide how often you receive updates. I recommend the “daily digest”.

Our neighborhood is extremely active on Nextdoor sharing events, safety concerns, posting items for sale, responding with business recommendations, and so much more.

So just how would you use Nextdoor to share a church event?

Once you’ve created and verified your account on Nextdoor, you’ll click on “Event Calendar” on the left-hand side. Then click “Add Event”.

You’ll then fill out all the details – location, time, date, description, etc. I recommend uploading a photo or graphic for your event.

Unless the event is at a private home – check the box for “Allow anyone on Nextdoor to view or share this event.” That way others on Nextdoor in other neighborhoods and can see and share your event – extending your reach even further!

So just how effective is Nextdoor?

We had two women sign up for our Bible Journaling Event. I consider that a win!

I didn’t realize at the time that others have posted our morning Bible study offerings on the site and that we have definitely had women come to our morning Bible Study because they saw the post on Nextdoor.

Don’t become discourage if you don’t catch any fish with your first posting. As people see what great events and activities your church is hosting, they’ll become interested and show up!

Take care that you don’t bombard your neighbors with too many posts. I would NOT use this for posting weekly service announcements.

I would use it for posting:

  1. Special events
  2. Vacation Bible School
  3. Bible Study Classes outside of regular Sunday offerings
  4. Women’s Ministry events

We don’t want to be a noisy gong, but rather a gentle breeze.

If your group feels your posts are inappropriate – you can get flagged and even banned from posting.  You can read Nextdoor’s guidelines for posting here.

When I mentioned to the team that I had posted our Bible Journaling Event on Nextdoor, several of our team members did not know about the site.

I strongly encourage you to take the time to share what Nextdoor is with your team so that ALL of your team members living in neighborhoods can post. Pull it up on a laptop or table if you can.

Make it easy for your team members and provide them with the exact wording they’ll need to add an event.

When you take the time to write up and distribute the publicity wording to the whole team you greatly decrease the chance for errors to be communicated.

I’d love to know, is Nextdoor something your team has used to publicize your women’s ministry or church events? How effective has it been for you?

You may also want to read:
25 Ways to Publicize Events Outside of Your Church Walls
13 Ways to Publicize Your Event Inside Your Church
13 More Ways to Publicize Your Event Inside Your Church
Updating Your Publicity

One year ago: The Importance of an Agenda
Two years ago: Why Women Are Running from Mentoring
Three years ago: Small Group Idea: Sister Six

Encouragement Idea: Blessings Bags

 

A Fresh (and much needed) Perspective on Mentoring

A Fresh (and much needed) Perspective on Mentoring

*Please note this post contains affiliate links.

The stereotypical picture of mentoring is of two women, one older than another, meeting weekly to study the scriptures for a set number of months.

The problem is that in many churches these types of formal “mentoring programs” just aren’t working.

Churches are finding that their women are “programmed-out”. Their women see mentoring programs as one more thing to cram into their over-stuffed schedules.

We need a different approach.

A fresh (and much needed) perspective on mentoring.

There is a Biblical alternative.

It’s one that Sophie Hudson tackles in her newest book, Giddy Up, Eunice – Because Women Need Each Other  .

For those of you who don’t know who Sophie is, let me give you a little background. She is the author of Boo Mama Blog. She’s as southern as it comes and she is a great, big HOOT ya’all! I had the pleasure of being introduced to Sophie when she spoke at the blogging conference, Allume, I attended back in October 2014. She writes the way she talks. So if you’re not used to a southern drawl and southern sayings, you are in for a treat!

What we have in common far exceeds any perceived generational differences

Sophie walks readers through three sweet mentoring relationships God shares with us in His Word – Mary and Elizabeth, Ruth and Naomi, and Lois and Eunice. Side note: I admit I wasn’t totally sure who Lois and Eunice were in the Bible. Here’s a link to 2 Timothy 1:5 if you need it.

Almost the first half of Giddy Up, Eunice is dedicated to examining the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. It would make a great foundation for a retreat! How better to encourage our women to be Mary’s and Elizabeth’s than to study that story in scripture together! (Oh, if I could get Sophie to come lead that retreat I would be over the moon, ya’all! Really!)

In addition to digging deep into scripture, Sophie shares her own personal stories of how “we can find comfort and encouragement from someone in similar circumstances even if we don’t belong to the same demographic…all too often, though we look to folks of our same age and miss the wisdom and the perspective of someone who’s a little farther along.” Just like Mary and Elizabeth…

I promise you there are women in your church and community that are outright desperate for someone to step into their life to love on and encourage them.

Desperate for a Christian friend. Desperate for a real, honest friendship. Desperate for someone to pray for them.

Sophie puts into words what we all know is true, “At every age and stage of life, women need other women who will listen, confirm, teach, bless, and pray.”

Safe places become sacred spaces

So how does Sophie suggest we find a mentor? By first finding a friend. As those friendships blossom and grow, without any word, awkward plea, form, or pledge, older women become mentors.

I haven’t usually noticed it in my own life as it happened, but looking in the rear view mirror I can see how Kim, Lois, and Jeanine became my mentors – though none of us ever used that word.

And to those women in the church who feel like they have served and it’s their right to put up their shoes and rest, Sophie’s got a few words of “encouragement” for them too – “Elizabeth’s life is a beautiful reminder that God continues to do new things in and through us no matter what our age happens to be.”

There’s so much more, but I don’t want to spoil the book for you!

Giddy Up, Eunice would be a great book for your entire women’s ministry team to read and discuss.

Figure out how you can encourage women to listen, confirm, teach, bless and pray for one another. I know you’ll come up with some great ideas! Maybe you’ll read it like I did and want to do a whole weekend retreat on the relationships of Mary, Elizabeth, Ruth, Naomi, Eunice, and Lois.

I’d love to hear what you’re doing to encourage your women to build relationships with one another across the generations! Your ideas may be just what another team leader needs to hear!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Giddy Up, Eunice in exchange for my honest review of the book on my site. All opinions expressed are 100% my own. No monetary compensation was received. 

You may also want to read:
Why Women are Running From Mentoring
Watch out for these mentoring pitfalls!
Changing False Assumptions Women Make About Mentoring

One year ago: 6 Questions Your Women Will Have About the First Day of Bible Study
Two years ago: The Best Women’s Ministry Theme Ever
Three years ago: Calendar Planning: 3 Critical Questions

Encouragement Idea: Blessings Bags

5 Ways to Keep Absent Team Members in the Loop

5 Ways to Keep Absent Team Members in the Loop

Sick kids, doctor’s appointments, school events, family vacations, and other scheduling conflicts will often make it necessary for one or more of your women’s ministry team members to miss a meeting.

Just last month I had to miss our meeting due to a previous commitment to chaperone a Youth trip.

I know first-hand that feeling of being “out of the loop”!

Today I’m sharing some quick and easy tips for keeping absent team members in the loop.

The time it takes to keep your missing team members in the loop is well worth it!

Team members that feel they were missed will feel their presence is valuable!

Let your team members knows they were missed

Here are 5 ways you can keep those absent team members in the loop:

1. Meeting Minutes

Ladies this is critical. Minutes clear up any confusion for both your present and absent team members.

2. Phone Calls

Both BEFORE and AFTER the meeting. Get their opinion on agenda topics and touch base after they receive the minutes to answer any questions.

3. Agendas

Members can’t share information if they don’t know what will be discussed. It’s no fun to sit at a meeting to find out your missing member has key information about an event that could have been procured in advance. (Be sure to read my post on Meeting Agendas. Do your best to have minutes distributed within three days of your meeting.)

5. Text

Depending on their scheduling conflict, they may be available via text during your meeting. Ask if you can text them if questions come up. If their participation is critical, see if they can call into the meeting and put them on speaker phone for that portion.

6. Schedule Coffee

Depending on the size of your church you may only see your team members at your women’s ministry team meetings. Don’t let another month go by without spending some time with that missing team member. Meet her for coffee and spend some time with her. It doesn’t have to be all business – in fact, it shouldn’t be. Meetings are also about building relationships and praying for one another.

Missing team members don’t have to slow your team’s progress if you’re proactive.

Keeping missing team members in the loop doesn’t just ensure your meeting will run efficiently –  when your team members are informed they know how they can:

  1. Help
  2. Pray
  3. Share

Your team members have great ideas, connections, knowledge, and resources – keep them in the loop and the whole team benefits!

You may also want to read:
10 Agenda Tips
The Importance of an Agenda
8 Habits of Effective Women’s Ministry

One year ago: Tips & Tools for Bible Study and Small Group Facilitators
Two years ago:  How can we keep cliques from harming our ministry?
Three years ago: How to Frustrate Your Women’s Ministry Team

Encouragement Idea: Blessings Bags

The Biggest Mistake Women’s Ministry Teams Make

The Biggest Mistake Women's Ministry Teams Make

Over the last 10+ years I’ve had the opportunity to serve on three women’s ministry teams in three different churches.

Everywhere I’ve served and even in the places where I haven’t, I’ve seen this women’s ministry mistake committed over and over again. And I’m not just throwing stones, I’m 100% guilty of committing it myself.

This one mistake:

  • Increases burnout
  • Dismisses the other women in the church
  • Fuels pride
  • Creates isolation

It’s a mistake this is fixable. It’s a mistake that’s reversible.

And it’s a mistake you need to address and correct if your team is making it.

Are you ready for it?

The biggest mistake women's ministry teams make is not utilizing women outside of the women's ministry team

The biggest mistake women’s ministry teams make is not utilizing women outside of the women’s ministry team.

If you’re thinking, oh, that’s not us, hang with me for a couple more minutes. You may be surprised to find your team is guilty too!

Think about your women’s ministry team events.

Who brough the food?

Who sat at the welcome table?

Who served as prayer counselors?

Who decorated?

Who sat at the registration table?

Who served as Bible study facilitators?

Pull out a sheet of paper and write down the names if you need to.

How many of those women are NOT on your women’s ministry team?

Over and over I’ve been a part of and witnessed teams that do it all themselves.

Whether it’s an issue of not wanting to bother other women (that’s a lie, by the way), not making the time to make a few phone calls, texts, or emails, or hanging onto control it’s a problem.

When we exclude women of the church from serving at our women’s ministry events we:

  • Create a clique
  • Keep women from using their God-given gifts (1 Peter 4:10)
  • Restrict other women from being a blessing
  • Inadvertently hurt the feelings of some of our women
  • Limit our reach

I get it.

It’s sometimes (okay, almost always) easier to do it yourself. It’s a pain to communicate your expectations. It takes time to train others.

Here’s the bigger problem – those excuses/reasons aren’t Biblical.

God calls us to be part of a church body. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

God tells us to carry one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)

We are to work together in community with other believers. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Titus 2 tells us the older are to teach the younger. (Titus 2:3-5)

When we ask women outside of our women’s ministry team to bring food or serve it does two big things:

  1. It allows other women to shine and serve! There are many women in your church who would LOVE to bring a snack to or serve at your next fellowship. Bringing a dish or serving guarantees they will show up. And chances are they will bring a few girlfriends along with them. If you are struggling to get a specific generation to come to your events – ask them to bring some food (or serve)!
  2. It gives your team a break. Seriously. Your team is already working hard to pull off the event. They don’t need to be the ones make food, greet, register, etc. for every single event.They are doing enough.

Tap some women who are welcoming to serve as hostesses.

Call on some mighty prayer warriors to serves as prayer counselors.

When it’s time to add women to your team, you’ll have a whole pool of women whose strengths you know that have already dipped their toes into women’s ministry. It’s a whole lot easier to serve when you’ve already been made to feel like you are part of the team.

When we involve as many women as we can, the women’s ministry truly becomes the women’s ministry.

Is this something your team has struggled with? How have you overcome the problem of doing it all yourselves?

You may also want to read:
How to Ask Women to Serve on Your Women’s Ministry Team
How to Recruit Women’s Ministry Team Members
Women’s Ministry Team Job Descriptions – Part 1
Women’s Ministry Team Job Descriptions – Part 2

One year ago: 10 Things I Learned as a Youth Camp Chaperone
Two years ago: The Door Prize Basket
Three years ago: Ultimate Christmas Game Round-Up

Encouragement Idea: Blessings Bags