"So, when do you start to eat an elephant?" I am in a season right now where I am wondering this question. Some days of ministry are overwhelming although blessed! Do the next thing becomes my motto many days. So does, “who’s on first?”!! Today my guest blogger is Dawn Stephens, women’s leader at The Church at Brook Hills, in Birmingham, Alabama. She has some great advice to help us eat the elephant we are facing!
Are there days you wonder if you can really “pull off” what you’re expected to do that day? Do you wonder if you have the “smarts” or wisdom to handle daily situations in ministry? Do you doubt your ability to “eat this elephant” of women’s ministry?
How do you eat that elephant? One bite at a time!
For most women in ministry we just started serving in our local church, using our spiritual gifts and experience and “whoosh” we’re here!
But, no matter how we find ourselves here, we are the women God has chosen to empower with His Spirit and use us in His plan to serve and disciple women.
If you have said, “Yes” to God, and walked through the doors He has opened in your life, then He has already equipped you to serve the women in your church body and community. “To equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God – a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature”. Ephesians 4:12-13.
Here are some things I have learned over the years that I pray are encouraging to you as you take a bite of that pachyderm (a.k.a elephant):
1. Model healthy boundaries to the women you lead
This means having a confidence of your abilities and the courage to ask women to live and serve in their abilities. This also means not enabling their unhealthy behavior and mindset, but letting them “own” their own healing in Christ. It means not worrying with the pressure to make every woman happy in your church, which you cannot! But it means pointing them to Christ and his Word at every opportunity.
2. If you don’t A-S-K, you don’t G-E-T!
This advice was given to me years ago by a man who was in sales and I wholeheartedly believe it when it comes to women in ministry and in life. If you do not ask women to serve with you, use their God given spiritual gifts and “get in the game” of discipling other women, you will “die on the vine” and burnout very quickly trying to do it all.
3. Lead in your strengths and staff in your weakness
This advice was also given to me by a male Christian counselor when I called saying “Help!” the first year of ministry. I was completely overwhelmed with the pain women in our church were facing and felt very ill equipped to help them. I had not experienced most of the pain they were facing, but with this advice, I quickly found other women in my church who had walked those roads and began intentionally connecting these women for prayer, spiritual direction and mentoring.
I pray these tidbits have encouraged you today as you lead women in your family, community and church. Begin to see yourself in the role God has specifically equipped you to fulfill in His plan and walk confidently in it!
Dawn Stephens has been involved in women’s ministry in both volunteer and staff positions for many years. She is the Associate Minister of Local Disciplemaking and Women’s Small Groups at The Church at Brook Hills, in Birmingham, Alabama. Her desire is to train, equip and encourage women to use their God given gifts and abilities to show Christ’s love and grace to our world. She graduated from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Women’s Ministry certificate program, has served on the Alabama Baptist State Women’s Ministry leadership team, and serves as a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier.