By Cyndee Ownbey
One of the most common issues women’s ministry leaders battle is a shortage of volunteers.
We can usually round up a group of women to bring food for an event, but our need for prayer counselors, discussion group leaders, Bible study leaders, and even women’s ministry team members is a constant struggle.
Your women may feel they don’t have the time or the skills necessary to take on the role or responsibility.
How’s a leader supposed to continuously fill these critical roles in women’s ministry?
Is there something we can do to equip our women so they can succeed and step into those roles with confidence? I believe there is. Training equips women for the tasks God calls them to.
Paul repeatedly uses athletic analogies in his New Testament writings with good reason. Success in athletics requires training and perseverance. In many similar ways, ministry does too!
Hebrews 12:1 (ESV) says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
When we take the time to equip our leaders for the task at hand, they are able to endure and run well. Their success depends upon the training we provide.
Practically, what can training look like?
- Provide training sessions. Before launching a new season of Bible study, discipleship, or small groups, set aside a day for training. Go over expectations, role-play different situations, and allow time for questions. Before the year ends, ask group leaders to identify potential leaders.
- Create mentoring opportunities between seasoned and new leaders. Having that go-to person when issues arise can be the difference between someone giving up and pressing on.
- Use the buddy system. Have new leaders colead a Bible study before leading on their own. Having two people fill a role on your women’s ministry team instead of one lightens the load and enables women to serve longer because they aren’t burnt out.
- Set up a rotation system. Ask team members to commit for two years. The first year they are trained, the second year they lead. The one stepping off is always mentoring the newer team member.
- Establish a system for knowledge transfer. So many times, women will step into a women’s ministry role with no idea what was done in the past. You may find it helpful to create women’s ministry binders with documented procedures and post-event evaluation forms (available in the Women’s Ministry Leadership Digital Training Manual).
Once you put a process in place to prepare women for the women’s ministry roles you need filled, word will get out! Women will brag about how easy you made it to serve and the support they received. Women who have a great volunteer experience won’t hesitate to serve again.
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