This article is adapted from Organic Ministry to Women, by Dr. Sue Edwards and Kelley Mathews.
Women’s ministry exists to transform women into mature, productive, joyful daughters of the King. For a woman to be transformed, she must have opportunities to see how God can use her. She must know her gifts and step out in faith expecting God to work through her. When she does, she experiences profound pleasure—and usually surprise.
The feelings we experience when God works through us to teach and minister to women can’t be described—only experienced. God wants every believer to know that joy! God expects leaders to offer multiple opportunities for women to serve.
Offer Multiple Levels of Opportunity in Any Size Ministry
Offer Entry-Level Opportunities
No matter what size your church, new believers and newcomers need entry-level opportunities to serve. These jobs will not sink your ministry if neglected. They don’t require training, maturity, or expertise. In an entry-level job, you do not oversee others. Every ministry should divide the tasks in such a way that even new believers and women without experience can participate.
Do you provide service opportunities for women who have never volunteered before? Do you give newcomers a chance to show you who they are and what they can do? Are they nurtured by trained coordinators who will shepherd and instruct them so that they will enjoy a positive experience?
From these entry-level opportunities will bubble up women with leadership gifts. Women will emerge who are diligent, punctual, gifted, and personable. You will identify those who work well with others, those you can count on, and those who love women. One day, these women will lead the ministry. One day, one of them will sit where you sit.
That’s the plan. Begin by using volunteers for entry-level tasks, but recruit women you know to serve as sub-team managers and coordinators.
Offer Sub-team Manager Positions
Once you have identified a woman who works well on a team and has the attitudes and gifts for overseeing others, give her a chance. For example, if you chair an event, let her be your registration coordinator. Find a woman with computer expertise and the gift of administration. Let her register women, oversee making name tags and work the registration table. See how well she delegates. She might replace the coordinator next year.
In every area of ministry, these varied opportunity levels should be in place. The process of transformation cannot proceed without them.
Give Major Responsibilities to Tested Coordinators
The coordinator oversees the major facets of your ministry. She usually emerges by serving first at the entry and support levels. She has distinguished herself as a spiritually mature woman. She may be young in years but is well-grounded and shows promise. She works well on a team. She is passionate about her ministry. She knows that her work is more than accomplishing a task, putting on an event, or serving in a support capacity. She is building leaders with you, transforming women one at a time.
Let’s Examine Some Team-Building Principles
This “Transformation Model” is built on teams. To transform postmodern and modern women, we must embrace them one by one. You don’t have enough arms or enough time to do that alone.
Refusing to work with others is often a sign that you fear losing control. Women’s ministry is messy. It has been compared to herding cats. You may fear the conflict that might erupt when women work together. Maybe you’ve had a negative experience in the past that colors your perspective. Maybe you think you can do it better yourself. If your only concern is decorating the stage or providing a delicious dinner, you may pull it off. But that does not transform women’s lives. To transform women requires multiple arms, hearts, and minds—and it’s a lot more fun.
If teams scare you because you don’t know how to build one, the following team-building principles should encourage you.
How Will You Structure Your Team?
You can call your key leaders a team, board, committee, or anything you want to. Make it fit your environment. It is important, however, that you give it a name—an identity. New millennium ministry may be characterized by chaord, but there is still order in chaord and you’ll need it to accomplish your vision.
Small churches wisely limit what they do to what they can do well. If you have four widows, don’t organize a widow’s ministry. They should be able to link up without it.
At a minimum, include a team leader and her assistant, and coordinators for Bible study, prayer, and events. Then perhaps choose a secretary, publicity coordinator, and financial coordinator, or find someone who can do all three tasks. If needed, others can be added in time.
Don’t forget to add your Bible teachers to your team if they are not already involved. They are leaders in your ministry and should be included. In addition, they will be better teachers if they understand the heartbeat of the ministry and cooperate with you.
How Do You Recruit Your Team?
First, write clear job descriptions. Ask each team member to rework these every year to reflect on what she is actually doing.
Then meet with several women leaders or your entire team to pray and brainstorm possibilities. Your team members often know just the right women to replace them. Try to come up with several women for each open position.
Consider their gifts, age, and experience. Try to balance your board so that a variety of women bring differing perspectives. I tried to recruit several young single women if possible. I wanted a young mom and some older women. Ideally the team should reflect the makeup of your ministry.
For key leadership positions choose women that you know well. One wrong choice can make a miserable year. Be selective. If God doesn’t bring someone to mind, wait.
For more insight into creating and maintaining a thriving, transformational ministry to women, pick up a copy of Organic Ministry to Women. Even better, win a free copy from Beyond Ordinary Women Ministries! Sign up for your monthly e-newsletter before the end of November 2019 for a chance to win.