How to Ask Women to Serve

This is it! The last post in the How to Build Your Women’s Ministry Team mini-series!

Today we’re going to tackle HOW to ask someone to serve on your team.

Does even the idea of having this conversation cause your heart to beat faster?

Are you unsure of what to say?

Would you like a step-by-step list?

I’ve got you covered! Let’s do this!

Most of the time these conversations will occur over the phone. This is not a “grab someone in the hall and ask them a quick question” kind of deal.

When you take the time to really ask someone to serve, it lets them know that you want them to take the time to really consider and pray through their response.

Take the time to ask them to serve

We’re not just asking someone to greet women at the door; this is a big commitment that warrants serious time in prayer.

1. Introduce yourself and explain why you are calling. Let them know there is an opening on the Women’s Ministry Leadership Team for (insert position) and their name was suggested. (I almost never “out” my source as it can add unwanted pressure to say yes and that source may not share names with me ever again!) If possible, share WHY they would be a good fit. IE. Susie, you always make everyone feel welcome. You are so organized, have a heart for missions, etc.

2. Ask them to pray about it and ask them to call you back by a specific date. Many years ago the mentor who taught me how to do all of this told me to give them one week. A few years back, I learned from my former BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) Teaching Leader to give them 72 hours. When I told her I would always give women a week, she challenged me – didn’t I think God could give them an answer in 3 days?! Gulp! I must admit waiting a whole week for a yes/no can really drag out the process if you are getting a lot of “no’s”.

3. Encourage them to seek scriptural confirmation. Many women don’t know how to do that. It makes for a great teaching moment whether or not they say yes! I encourage them to spend time in God’s Word and that they should ask God to give them a clear yes or clear no. I often share a recent personal example of how God did that for me.

4. If they are married, I insist that they make sure their spouse is in agreement. Their participation will affect their family’s schedule at times.

5. Ask if they have any questions and answer them as honestly as you can. If they don’t ask about what the position involves or team expectations (IE. meeting monthly), share those with them. You don’t have to get overly detailed at that point – just give them a general overview. You don’t want to scare them off!

6. End by praying for God’s discernment for them. Yes, out loud, over the phone with them.

7. Thank them for their time and remind them that you look forward to hearing back from them by (insert date here).

You’ve done it! Great job!!

Now it’s your job is to keep praying that God’s will is clear and for their obedience.

More tips:

  • If they do not call you back on the designated day (and many of them will not), you need to call them the very next day. If they ask for an extension, give them one more day, no more. If God hasn’t given them a clear yes, by then it’s okay to assume His answer is no/not right now. If He wants them to be part of the team He will do it some other way or some other time.
  • Try not to take an answer, either yes or no, during that first phone call. You want them to seek God’s will. If they are adamant, end the conversation gracefully and thank them for their time.
  • If they say they are too busy, remind them that God rarely asks us to take on a new role when we’re not! Be understanding and sympathetic. If you can, kindly remind them that God can expand our time and when He doesn’t sometimes takes something off our plate to make room. Encourage them to pray and seek God’s will.
  • Graciously accept the answer they give you. It can be really hard to get a “no” when you are super confident God is calling them to serve. You’ve been obedient to ask. Their obedience is between them and God.

I’ve also used this method for asking women in our church to speak at an event and to lead worship for an event. In one particular case, waiting a week for “no” was putting a lot of pressure on our team as the date was drawing closer. Had I learned the 3-day rule earlier it would have saved us from a lot of stress!

I’ll admit I used to dread these phone calls until God helped me to see what great opportunities they are. Even the “no’s” have given me the chance to get to know some of our women better and have provided some great teaching moments about seeking God’s will.

Your turn to share: Do you have any tips for other leaders about asking women to serve on their team?

Other posts in this series include:

How to Build a Women’s Ministry Team
What positions do you need to fill on your team?
Women’s Ministry Team Job Descriptions – Part 1
Women’s Ministry Team Job Descriptions – Part 2
How to Recruit Women’s Ministry Team Members