May 20, 2019 • Jackie C. King
The conversation is growing in regards to women and ministry in the local church, and more than ever I am having pastors ask, “How do I help develop and foster relationships with my women leaders in my church?” Although this won’t be an exhaustive list of ways, I hope it will be a spark to begin the conversation and thought process as you continue to lead faithfully in your churches and communities.
Acknowledge The Need.
We need one another. Men and women, working together, serving out of our gifts is the way God set up the church. From the garden to glory, men and women are a part of God working out His mission and as leaders if we are only fulfilling half of that commandment we are lacking. This means that we strive to work together and encourage one another because it shows the reflection of who God is and how we are distinctly made in His image.
Identify and Champion Women Leaders in your Church.
Think about who is around your table at staff meetings. Who’s on your committees? Whose managing and maintaining volunteers in the nursery, the greeter team, teaching Bible studies, and hospitality? My guess, and my hope, would be that several women came to mind as you thought through these question who are serving and committed to your local church in various roles. More than half of your congregation is made up of women who bring unique gift sets, experiences, and insights.
An easy way to create confidence, ownership, and buy in is by championing the women on your team. If you don’t have them on your team, find those that are serving faithfully and humbly and invite them on. Empower them and call them “leader.” I know this sounds so simple, but as I have developed in different roles, and had more conversations with women in the church I have seen more and more women not even consider themselves leaders because they are only viewed as administrative assistants or volunteers. A simple example of this would be in your Sunday school classes or small groups communicating that couples lead together. She gets to help set the culture and the environment for engaging Jesus together. Your nursery coordinator who is there week after week holding babies and managing volunteers, she is your Nursery Leader. When there is a mindset shift from I work “for” you to I work “alongside” you there is so much more buy in.
Develop & Encourage.
One of the things I hear often from pastors about women’s ministry is that they sometimes become a “rogue” group. They choose their own material, dictate the church calendar, and make decisions as if they are their own sect within the church, and respectfully I always push back a bit and ask, “How have you brought them into your heart and overall vision for the church?”
Your women can’t follow what they don’t know. In the same way you would develop a young staff member, you need to intentionally spend time developing your female leaders and communicating to them your vision, discipleship plan, and hopes for the body as a whole.
I once was asked to speak for a local church women’s retreat and before I was officially hired, I had a meeting with both the women’s minister and discipleship pastor. They both asked me questions on my theology as well as simple questions about my family and passions in life. This simple meeting not only communicated to me that the leadership cared about who and what was being taught to their women, but it also was intentional time where the pastor affirmed her giftings and ability to lead and that he was in full support of her ministry. He didn’t come in making the decisions, but gave positive insight and encouragement to her as she was leading out in her ministry.
I know your time is limited and you have so much on your plate as you try to balance life, ministry, and calling but simple and intentional steps to meet with, listen, engage, and dream together with your women leaders will help overall unity, joint efforts, and communicate that you are working toward the same goal. Another huge and helpful tip is to find resources to help her grow in her leadership abilities. Books that you have read that have helped develop you, MinistryGrid training through Lifeway has an entire Women’s track you can suggest. Point them to the new network I’m a part of called the SBC Women’s Leadership Network.Give them tools and set them up to succeed. They will see that you want them to flourish just as much as they want to work hard and succeed.
Use Your Platform For Their Good.
As a pastor you have a space of influence. You set vision, shepherd the flock and set the culture for your faith family. With that platform be mindful of the ways that women can be involved and how you can invite them in to the overall vision and health of the church. Here’s a couple different ways to consider doing that:
- Sermon Illustrations: Study and know women in the history of the SBC who are great examples of women living out the great commission. Women like Lottie Moon, Amy Carmichael, Karen Watson, and Elisabeth Elliott. Use their stories, quotes, and example for both your men and women to follow.
- Greetings: I guarantee you there are women in your church who have the gift of gab. They are the ones who light up a room and whose presence make others feel like that place is home. Have her welcome everyone as the service begins, or put her in charge or your greeter team.
- Read Scripture: Pick a woman from your congregation to do the Scripture reading and prayer time before the sermon.
- Give a Testimony: We know that God is working in both men and women all across the globe and our church’s need to know that He is doing work through the people in your church. Listen, coach, and allow a woman to share her story of what God is doing in her life. This could be especially helpful along with sermon illustrations and emphasis that you are wanting to emphasize.
The fact that you are even taking the time to read through this article shows your heart and your care for the women you lead. Maybe forward this blog to her and ask her for feedback and thoughts, send her an encouraging note to let her know how much you see the Lord using her and working through her. Your encouragement, intentionality, and care will go far beyond what you can imagine.
Jacki King is a Jesus follower, Bible teacher, and Taco and Coffee Addict. She has a passion for seeing women fall in love with Jesus and His Word while challenging them to be on mission in their homes, work places, and communities. Jacki lives in Conway,AR with her Husband Josh, who is the Lead Pastor of Second Baptist Conway, along with their 3 boys Haddon (10) Leland (8) and their youngest Amos (5) who was adopted from Ethiopia. Jacki is a committee member of the new SBC Women’s Leadership network and host of their podcast: “At the Table.”
To connect with Jacki follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @JackiCKing