I recently read a blog post, Volunteers and (Not or) Discipleship, by Eric Geiger, leader of the division where I serve, Church Resources. It made me think of the first time I remember serving in my church as a very young adult. My pastor’s wife asked me to help her with our children’s mission organization. Then she taught me how to do it since I’d never taught children before.
I was in the early stages of growing as a disciple, and serving moved me more quickly in that direction. Another time I was asked to serve in one of the first outreach opportunities I’d ever participated in. This involved holding a monthly birthday party for underprivileged children in a local day care facility. Bringing joy to those children always made me feel as though I’d received much more than I gave. It also made me want to “never not” serve. (I know that’s not good grammar, but it says it best!)
My first hand experience with serving and growing has shown me personally what Dr. Geiger’s blog post is talking about. Read it and then let’s talk about how it relates to women’s ministry.
Here are three practical suggestions for us to engage women in serving:
- Make the “ask.” How are you getting to know women personally so you can help them find a place to serve? Are you intentional about making sure everyone finds her place of service? Idea: Help women discover their spiritual gifts, skills and interests, and connect that with ministry. (Check out some assessment tools here.) Share personal stories of how serving has blessed you and others, and that the return is always greater than the investment.
- Apply the truth of the gospel to your teams. When was the last time you taught what the Bible says about serving Christ, and why we serve? Teach the balance of being and doing that Jesus taught Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. Help women see that one of the most fulfilling things we do in our walk with Christ is serving Him by serving His people and those who do not know Him.
- Place the volunteers under healthy leaders. As you lead your team of women, pour into them, shepherd them, and help them continue to grow as followers of Christ so they can lead others to do the same. As you invest in your team members, they in turn invest in their teams and others they serve along the way. A healthy leader grows a healthy ministry, which grows a healthy church.
How are you helping women serve and grow as disciples? Please share your thoughts in the comments.