Leighann is the senior pastor’s wife at Thompson Station Church, Thompson Station, Tennessee and our guest blogger today. Perhaps you can identify with her thoughts for the new year, and you will certainly be challenged as you decide your focus in ministry this year.
I had a dream the other night. It might have been spurred by the variety of drugs that are pumping through my body as a result of chemo treatments–but with it came a great lesson that I’ve been pondering ever since I awoke. In my dream a very good leader sat down with me and several others and explained the secret to his success. I am not sure what he led or why I was part of his little group of listeners, but this is what he told us…”Your ministry will be directly influenced by the strength of the relationships you share with the people you serve.” He explained that the secret to success was having authentic, caring relationships with people.
The preschool ministry at Thompson Station Church (where I serve as Women’s Minister and my husband serves as pastor) understands this. They are led by a team of 3 women that are friends. They have great turnouts at teachers’ get togethers because they love to get together! The staff often goes to lunch together; they play games, go on mission trips and pray one another through life’s struggles. Unlike many churches, we have little difficulty getting people to serve our preschoolers–young parents naturally navigate in that direction because they know they’ll experience relationships there.
From my dream and the example of our preschool ministry, I’m considering many things. Perhaps this year I should make a phone call rather than send an email. Perhaps I should invite women out for coffee and listen with no agenda at all. Maybe I should do a better job of remembering birthdays and other special occasions. I heard it often said that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Maybe 2013 will be a year of letting people know how much I care.
This past year I was also faced with my mortality. The cancer I thought I conquered in 2010 returned in 2012. There’s nothing like a good dose of cancer to help your priorities become crystal clear. One thing I plan to do for as long as I breathe on earth is let people know how much they mean to me. I plan to write more letters–the old fashioned kind that are stuffed in envelopes and mailed with a stamp. I plan to make more phone calls just to catch up with old friends and I intend to spend a whole lot more time with my family–and not hold back telling them how I really feel. I don’t know how many more minutes I’ll be living my life here–but for as many as I have I intend to make them matter. As leaders of women, it’s our job to fix our eyes on Jesus and the eternity we get to spend with Him–all the while making the most of the time we have until that day arrives.
Just a few things to ponder as you begin this New Year.
Leighann is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is the senior pastor’s wife at Thompson Station Church, Thompson Station, Tennessee, a mother of three, a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier and a writer and speaker. Currently, she serves on staff at Thompson Station Church as the prayer and women’s minister, and is a frequent speaker at women’s events and prayer conferences. Throughout her ministry, she has served in several denominational positions relating to children and women’s ministries. She is the author of nine books, most recently being Spiritual Warfare for Women, published by Bethany House. In addition to her website and personal blog, you can read more about her ministry here.