Below you’ll find the transcript for episode 35, Looking Back and Moving Forward in Ministry, from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
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As we prepare to move into 2022, I want to encourage you and your team to take some time to look back before moving forward.
Today we’re going to talk about taking time to pause, ponder, and pray.
Intro: Welcome to the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast. I’m Cyndee Ownbey, your host and women’s ministry mentor. I’m the founder of Women’s Ministry Toolbox and the author of Rethinking Women’s Ministry. The Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast is a podcast for women’s ministry leaders and team members of all stages (from new to seasoned) serving in their local church community. If you’re looking for hope and inspiration, you’ve come to the right place! In addition to discussing the nuts and bolts of women’s ministry, I’ll be asking seasoned women’s ministry leaders to share their best tips and the lessons they’ve learned. Together we’ll learn to build a flourishing, Christ-focused women’s ministry.
I have a shelf full of scrapbooks in our home and many that need to be created. There’s something powerful about looking back and seeing how God was at work in our family. We can see His faithfulness through difficult seasons.
Looking back over your ministry year can have those same benefits.
We often miss what God is doing in the moment, but can see it more clearly when we take the time to pause and ponder.
I’ve found that specific reflection questions encourage specific recollections. Details are more helpful than generalizations as we seek to move our ministry forward.
I’ve got some specific reflection questions you may want to use with your team.
As you begin the process of looking back, I want to encourage you to take out your ministry calendar from this last year. Pull out those post-event evaluation forms if you have them too. Write down some of the highlights from this past ministry year.
Invite your team to look at the last year through the lens of your mission statement.
Don’t have a mission statement, now’s a great time to create one! Check out this post for help in crafting a great mission statement.
Consider asking some of these reflection questions:
- Did your events and activities support your mission statement?
- Were there any gaps you need to fill next year?
- How did you see God’s faithfulness throughout your ministry plans?
- Did any of your women or Bible study groups experience growth – in size and spiritually?
- Did you start a new ministry initiative? If so, how did it go?
- What do you want to make sure you don’t forget?
In episode 17, I talked at length about surveys. Your team may want to adapt some of the questions from that episode for your time of reflection.
Here are three you may want to use:
- In the last year, what did our women’s ministry team do that we should keep doing?
- In the last year, what did our women’s ministry team do that we should stop doing?
- In the next year, what does our women’s ministry team need to start doing?
If you haven’t surveyed your women lately, consider creating an online survey for their input too. You might be surprised at the things that matter most to them.
As you consider what went well in the last year, I want to encourage you to move forward with purpose. Sit down with your team and plan out your ministry year.
Our women’s ministry team will be going on a retreat at the end of January. It’s a time for us to plan and pray about what God wants next for our women and our ministry. Perhaps before your team starts placing ideas on your ministry calendar, you want to take the time to pause and pray too.
It doesn’t take much to fill our women’s ministry calendars with ideas – you’ll find hundreds of them shared in the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Facebook group, on the Women’s Ministry Toolbox website, and on Pinterest.
While God can and will use the plans we’ve made, I’ve experienced the difference it makes when we take the time to prayerfully seek what God wants us to do.
When I’ve spent time praying and in the Word asking God to give our team a specific verse to guide our plans, it’s made a BIG difference. Our plans weren’t random but intentional as each one was connected by the thread of a focus verse. Our ministry efforts and team operated in unity with the same objective. Our women benefited as we followed the Lord’s leading.
If selecting a focus verse or theme is a new idea to you, I want to encourage you to check out this post where I share my process in greater detail.
If you’re thinking you’d like to lead with greater purpose this next year, I want to invite you to sign up for the Women’s Ministry Makeover. Over 8 weeks we’ll take a look at how God might want to makeover your ministry with an addition, a minor renovation, or maybe a little demolition.
Our planning process doesn’t need to look like throwing spaghetti at a wall, instead, we can be throwing well-aimed darts at a target.
You can sign up for the waitlist here. The doors will open in mid-January with two options – individual or in community. The individual option will give you access to weekly videos with the course content. The community option includes live weekly trainings with other leaders. You’ll be able to ask me your questions and connect with other leaders. Whether your ministry is new or established, expect God to reveal how you and your team can make your ministry more effective.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
I’ve recently spent some time working on a new message to encourage leaders to find and follow the Lord’s direction in their ministry.
Seeking and following the Lord’s direction in our ministries is the best way we can move forward.
I’ll be incorporating this message in the Women’s Ministry Makeover, but I’d love to share that message with your team in-person or via Zoom. You can email me (cyndeeATwomensministrytoolboxDOTcom) or fill out the contact form on the Women’s Ministry Toolbox website to connect with me.
Today’s Toolbox Tasks
- Plan some time with your team to celebrate last year and make notes for this next year.
- Prayerfully consider what new things or changes God may be asking your team to make in the new year.
- Consider posting some of your ministry highlights on social media so your women can celebrate with you.
- Get your name on the Women’s Ministry Makeover waitlist. Waitlist members will have a special offer you won’t want to miss!
God has great plans for your ministry for this next year. Take the time to pause, ponder, and pray so you can follow in His steps.
You may also want to read:
Crafting a Solid Mission Statement
Post Event Evaluation Forms (Free Printable)
Everything You Need to Know About Women’s Ministry Surveys
How to Select Your Women’s Ministry Theme
Women’s Ministry Makeover Training