By Julia Schumacher-Martin
It’s here again: the beginning of a new ministry year. And you know the saying: “Begin as you mean to go on.” That is usually interpreted to mean that you should take your first steps with the preparation and intentionality that you want to flow through your entire journey this year. No pressure, right?
This year, consider taking a different approach to your ministry leadership. The tips below might seem counterintuitive, but they could change your service in positive ways.
- Take your time. What? you may be thinking. We’re behind on planning already! But when we hurry, constantly rushing from one thing to the next, we forget things. Tasks get forgotten. Details get missed. Most importantly, rushing makes us misplace our focus. In the Bible, God tells us again and again to wait for him (see Psalm 27:14 or Isaiah 40:31). In your ministry, the relationships between the women you serve—and between these women and our Savior—should be at the heart of what you do. So many connections are formed during the process of building a team or putting together an event, so don’t hurry from important date to important date: take your time, wait for the Lord, enjoy the journey.
- Let things go. Here’s a tough one: let it go. There is no room in the budget for your usual kickoff bash at the local golf club? Let it go: hold a potluck BBQ instead. Your longtime go-to event leader is taking time off to concentrate on her grandkids or work on a Master’s degree? Let it go: thank God for her service and fill in the gaps as best you can. There is a quote attributed to Coco Chanel about pausing before you leave the house and removing one accessory. Try that with your schedule this year: remove one thing—just let it go. Will people miss bowling night? Possibly. But with a lighter, more streamlined calendar, your remaining events (and the all-important roads you’re taking to execute them) have more breathing space and more of your time, prayer, and energy.
- Get away. As a ministry leader, you are called to serve others. God is using you to shine his light into the lives of women and their families: you are his instrument. Sometimes it is easy to forget that you are also his child. You’re not just called—you are loved and precious to your Savior. He wants a personal relationship with you just as deeply as he wants one with each of the women in your ministry. Put time in your calendar (actually schedule it!) to spend with Jesus every week. Regardless of what crises are churning in your organization, turn off your phone, shut down your computer, and talk to God or read his Word. As he promises, he’ll restore you and strengthen you, and you’ll be a better leader for it.
- Laugh more. Yes, the limitless power of our Creator and the unfathomable love of Jesus are serious truths. But God’s plan for us is that we rejoice in his creation—our hope in the promise of eternal life should fill us with joy! And one of the many great joys in our earthly lives is the fellowship we have with one another. Try asking a few of these silly icebreaker questions when your ministry group starts up to remind everyone to laugh together.
- What was the craziest fashion trend you ever rocked?
- What is your favorite smell?
- What kind of dog would you be?
- Finish this verse with a rhyme about yourself: “Roses are red, violets are blue . . .”
Finally, remember that Jesus is with you through all that you do, in your ministry and in your life. That “begin as you mean to go on” saying comes from 19th-century preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The full quote is this: “Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you” (emphasis added). May Christ bless your ministry’s beginning and every day!
Editor’s note: Looking for support for your women’s ministry efforts? Check out Women’s Ministry Leadership items at ctainc.com.
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