I’ve just returned from a denominational women’s leadership training in Atlanta.
Watching women from nearby churches connect during our regional meetings was one of my favorite parts.
So often we “do” women’s ministry within the confines of our churches rather than partnering with other women’s ministry leaders and teams in our community.
As I’ve been processing the lessons learned, God has brought to mind other ways in which we overlook resources He has given us.
It is my hope and prayer that this list encourages you to utilize better the resources God’s placed in your path.
10 Valuable Resources Women’s Ministry Leaders Overlook
1. Denominational Resources
If you’ve read my post about being wounded by the church, you may know that God moved us out of one church and into another. The move resulted in a change in denominations. I’m just now learning about some of the resources, including the incredible training I’ve returned from, that are available to all churches within our denomination.
If your church is part of a bigger denomination, do you know what resources you have access to on a local and national level? You may be surprised to find out you can borrow Bible study DVD sets, receive a list of local speakers, borrow equipment for events (tents, concession equipment, sound systems), and receive free or inexpensive women’s ministry training. Do some investigative work and then make a list to share with your team members and put in your women’s ministry binders.
2. Former Women’s Ministry Team Members
I know this one can feel a little bit weird, especially if God’s led your team in a different direction, but I urge you to push past the uncomfortable. Some teams retain former leaders and team members as advisors. Former team members may be able to save your team hours by sharing information or insider knowledge and resources. While your team may not follow every suggestion offered, the wisdom that can be gleaned from these seasoned pros should not be ignored. Consider how you’d feel as a future advisor for your women’s ministry team board? Would you be honored?
3. Pastoral Staff
Many women’s ministry team leaders hesitate to reach out to the Pastoral staff for fear of being a bother or coming across as needy. Asking for advice and input from your Pastors is a good thing! Increasing communication and building deeper relationships builds a stronger church community. Consider asking your Pastors for suggestions for Bible study leaders. Share specific prayer requests. Ask for their input on a decision or upcoming event or activity. Submitting to their authority over your team offers a layer of protection both practically and spiritually.
4. Small Group and Sunday School Teachers
When our women’s ministry team in Kentucky was looking at how to better reach the younger women in our church, the best thing I did was to contact our Young Marrieds teacher. One hour on the phone yielded insight our team desperately needed to reach this group that was not engaged in the women’s ministry.
Group leaders are a treasure trove of information – we just need to ask! In addition to insight that can help you better reach the needs of missing age groups, these leaders can influence the women in their group to attend, if they have the details. They can also be a source for volunteer needs such as Bible study, table leaders, and potential women’s ministry team members.
5. Pastor’s Wives
Some women’s ministry teams extend an invitation to their Pastor’s wives to sit on the team as an advisor. Need a fresh perspective? Ask your Pastor’s wife if she’d be willing to meet you for coffee (treat her if possible). She may see or hear things that she’s willing to share to help your team.
If communication is a struggle with her husband, she may be able to share some tips and insight that can improve your relationship but don’t ask her to break any confidences or use her influence to benefit the women’s ministry. Proceed carefully and with much prayer. You don’t ever want anyone, especially your Pastor’s wife, to feel as if you are using them.
6. Other Ministries Within Your Church
If you’re not already in the practice of partnering with other ministries in your church, discuss as a team ways you can work together.
Reach out to your Missions or Service Team for speaker suggestions and service opportunities. Ask your Men’s Ministry to help plan a marriage event, provide security at a big event, or serve the food. Partner with your Youth Pastor to plan an event that includes women of all ages. Ask your Children’s Minister for a list of childcare workers and materials to use while children are cared for during Bible study.
7. Women’s Ministry Leaders in Other Local Churches
During the weekend, a women’s ministry leader at a small church shared with me how they are partnering with another small church in their community. They started by hosting an event together, and it went so well that they are going to go on a retreat together this fall. They’ve found a way to share volunteers and resources that benefit both churches. Start by inviting the other women’s ministry leader out for coffee to find out if working together would be of interest to them.
If you’re a larger church, how can you help the smaller churches in your area? Can you invite them to an event you’re having with a big-name speaker? Perhaps they’d be able to provide some volunteers allowing some of your women to enjoy the event, rather than having to serve at the event. Inviting multiple local churches to attend a big event, might bring in the extra ticket revenue your church needs to make it feasible. Think of ways you can create a situation that’s a win-win for everyone.
Are there ways we can work together to reach more women with the Gospel together than we could on our own?
8. The Women on our Women’s Ministry Team
I sometimes suffer from “it’s just easier to do it myself” syndrome. Do you? Our team members want to help, but sometimes we forget to ask. It’s difficult to build team unity when we neglect to delegate and divide responsibilities. Team members that feel valued are going to support you and serve the team well. Before you do something yourself, stop and consider if this is something that falls under someone else’s roles and responsibilities.
9. The Women in Our Church
We often overlook or are unaware of the skills, gifts, and wisdom of our women. Rather than looking outside the church for a counselor, find out if anyone in your church is a counselor first. You may have a talented artist in your midst that could lead a Painting Workshop. There may be someone who has extensive experience with Bible Journaling that could teach the basics at a Bible Journaling event.
Rather than struggling with details of a decision, such as which nights should we be gone for the retreat, ask your women. Conduct a survey, gather their input on the back of an index card at Bible study, or send out an email asking if anyone possesses the needed skill. God’s given you an abundance of resources that you should tap into!
10. God’s Word
Before you gloss right over this one, convinced this is never something your team overlooks, can I ask you a question? Do you ever bring ideas you’ve found on Pinterest or the Internet before God?
Before we reach out to any person or resource, we must spend time in God’s Word and prayer seeking wisdom, discernment, a solution, or direction. God will likely use another person in your church or community to help you carry out the vision He’s given you, but if we fail to go to Him first, the process may not be as efficient as it could have been.
Lord, help us to see and use the resources you’ve given us to better reach the women in our church and community. We long to be good stewards and ask you to gently nudge us when we are not.
You may also want to read:
5 Ways the Internet Undermines Your Ministry
What Your Pastor Wants You to Know
The Beauty of Events at Other Churches
How to Recruit Women’s Ministry Team Members
8 Reasons to Develop a Strong Women’s Ministry Team
One year ago: How God Can Use Music in Your Ministry
Two years ago: $10 (or less) Door Prize Ideas
Three years ago: Bible Study Review: You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide
Four years ago: What Your Pastor Wants You to Know
Five years ago: R3 Ministry – Ransomed, Restored, Released