Below you’ll find the show notes for episode 56, Women’s Ministry Reflections and Resolutions for a New Year, from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
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Women’s Ministry Reflections and Resolutions for a New Year
The end of the year lends itself to taking time to reflect on the successes, challenges, and disappointments of the last ministry year. It benefits the entire team when we celebrate our successes and make note of areas of improvement.
Before you jump into planning your next event, I want to encourage you to schedule time for ministry reflections and resolutions.
Women’s Ministry Reflections
How you organize your reflection time can be almost as important as your reflections. If you’re the team leader, you’ll want to take great care to direct the conversation so it’s productive and not destructive. Carefully frame your questions to your team members aren’t making personal attacks on one another. Be ready to step in, if necessary.
How to collect the responses in the least painful manner possible:
- Often provide more honest answers
- That level of honesty sometimes is presented without a filter
- You’re unable to respond one-on-one to concerns that are mentioned or answer questions someone has. You’ll have to bring them in front of the whole team if you feel it needs to be addressed.
- People can’t hide from their comments.
- Those that are willing to be more transparent will usually do so in a kinder, gentler manner.
- Some people won’t answer honestly because they are uncomfortable about sharing their true opinion with you – whether they want to avoid confrontation, worry about hurting your feelings, or don’t want to deal with any possible fallout.
- You can address concerns and questions one-on-one.
Logic would say we’re all adults and especially within the church we should be willing and able to bring our concerns to one another. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. I suspect almost every one of us has been hurt by someone in the church. Some folks have been hurt so badly or so many times that they’ll no longer put themselves in a position where they can be hurt.
Time can help women process their responses so they aren’t as harsh as they may be if they are asked to respond on the spot.
I’d encourage you to send out your reflection questions to your team with a note to prayerfully respond within a week’s time.
If you want anonymous responses, you could create an online survey for them to complete. If you want your team to personally share their answers, encourage them to write down their thoughts before your meeting.
I like to keep the number of questions small. Women are busy and may not answer a long survey. Broader questions allow the Holy Spirit to direct their thoughts rather than possibly unintentionally leading them to an answer we hope to hear.
Three Suggested Reflection Questions
- What is our women’s ministry team doing that you feel God wants us to continue doing?
- What do you think God is asking our women’s ministry team to start doing that we are not doing?
- What do you sense God is bringing to an end or asking us to stop doing?
Before we transition to resolutions, let’s chat for a moment about constructive criticism.
This is an area where God has done a lot of work in me. Throughout school, I despised constructive criticism. My brain would shut down and fixate on the first negative comment. I was a perfectionist and didn’t see the value in refinement. All I experienced was pain.
As I’ve matured spiritually, it’s gotten better. I still don’t like being called out, but I know now it’s a necessary part of growing as a Christian. Proverbs 27:17 in the CEV says, “Just as iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other.” Dull knives are not as effective as sharp knives. If we want our ministry and our leaders to be the most effective, some sharpening is going to have to take place.
Personally, I receive constructive criticism best from people who know me well. They know my heart and I know theirs. I know they aren’t trying to hurt me, but to push me to be better. That’s not to say it doesn’t hurt. Sometimes it really hurts. When I remember to take that feedback to the Lord and pray about it, I can more clearly see where change may be needed.
Here are two more verses that may be helpful to share with a team member that struggles with receiving constructive criticism. Proverbs 12:15 ESV, says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 15:31-32 ESV says, “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.”
Reflections are most helpful when the feedback is prayerfully applied to future ministry efforts.
After your team has had the opportunity to process the group’s reflections, you may want to make a list of resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions often fall short because of a lack of motivation. You may be motivated on January 1st to stop eating chocolate or lose 20 pounds, but as time progresses most of us return to old eating habits. However, if your doctor said it was a matter of life or death and told you to stop eating sugar or lose 20 pounds, the consequence may frighten you into action.
I don’t want to frighten your women into action (although eternity hangs in the balance for the souls of your women), instead lovingly convince your team members to take action. It’s easy to keep doing what you’ve been doing, especially if your efforts have been mostly successful.
We don’t want a mediocre ministry, we want a ministry that changes the lives of our women. We want to see women walking in freedom, sharing Christ with others, growing in godliness, and living their lives boldly for Christ.
No doubt there are a few things your team could do better.
It may be obvious after your reflections which resolutions need to be made.
- Maybe the response to an event was so overwhelming that you resolve to increase capacity or offer the event twice.
- Maybe your retreat speaker didn’t open the Bible but a handful of times and you know you need to seek out a speaker that will dig deeper into God’s Word.
In addition to specific changes God is leading your team to make, it may be helpful to think more broadly too.
What resolutions does your team need to make related to prayer, planning, and people?
This could be as simple as writing those three words on a dry-erase board – prayer, planning, and people and asking the team to share ideas for each one.
You could make three columns:
- How does God want our team to pray better?
- How does God want our team to plan better?
- How does God want our team to reach people better?
How does God want us to level up or refine our prayers?
- Does He want your team to spend more time praying for the women in your church by name?
- Do you need to add time for tables to share prayer requests with each other?
- Does your team want to commit to a prayer challenge? (Check out my 21 Prayers for Women in the Church if God grabbed your attention when I asked that question.)
No doubt your team will think of some great prayer resolutions.
How does God want your team to plan better in the new year?
- Maybe your team will decide to commit to scheduling your ministry calendar for the next 6 months or year
- Maybe God is leading your team to distinguish clear roles and responsibilities
- Maybe a little more organization would decrease the stress level of your team
And lastly, how does God want your team to reach more people?
- Maybe God’s laid on your heart the need for encouraging connections outside of cliques
- Maybe expanding your team to include more women would add a new voice and perspective to your plans
- Perhaps it’s as simple as more clearly communicating that you want your women to bring guests to every women’s ministry event
- This is the year you resolve to train your leaders at every meeting. (Check out the Quarterly Leadership Trainings I’ve written with CTA Christ to All.)
- This is the year you’ll resolve to reach the younger women in your church or the older women in your church.
- This will be the year that you resolve to have monthly team meetings.
I don’t know what God has planned for your ministry next year, but I believe He wants your ministry to grow and flourish. Just as my blueberry bushes require pruning each winter to bear more fruit, so do our ministries. We must be willing to reflect on the past and make resolutions for the future if our ministry is going to continue to grow and bear fruit.
Today’s Toolbox Tasks:
- Prayerfully consider how you and your team will take time for ministry reflections and resolutions.
- Take action to make it happen.
Lord, we ask you to give us discernment and wisdom as we reflect on this past ministry year and make resolutions for the next. Help us to serve them and love our women well. May our ministry glorify and honor you. Amen.
Podcast Resource Highlight: Women’s Ministry Event Planning Course