Are you a woman who leads? Maybe you don’t see yourself as a leader, but God has you leading someone right where you are. Maybe it’s your kids, your friends, or the teenager next door. Maybe it’s a Women’s Ministry, a team at work, or a small group. This series—led by our women’s ministry specialist, Kelly King—will help you no matter where you lead, and whether you’re leading one or one thousand.
If you’re a leader, you know the importance of investing in those you lead. You understand relationships are pivotal to your success and that they require patience, mentorship, and intentional time with others. But, how are you at building community with others yourself? What are some ways leaders develop a sense of belonging? If you’re in search of a way to build community as a leader, we can all learn from early believers in the second chapter of Acts.
First, consider how you define community. We may often use this word in Christian circles, but do you know what it is and what it entails? In essence, it is moving people who are disconnected into connected relationships. In other words, you are not meant to lead in isolation. The early church was defined in Acts 2:42-47 by the way they learned, what they learned, and how they lived. As a leader, you should strive for the same.
Second, the early church found community when they grew spiritually together. Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…” As a leader, how are you finding spiritual community? From whom are you learning? If you’re serving on a church staff, make sure you are sitting under the leadership of biblical teachers where you find yourself in a position of receiving and not always giving. While spending time leading others to grow closer in their walk with Christ is important, don’t neglect your own spiritual development.
Third, leaders build community with like-minded leaders and enjoy being with one another. Acts 2:46b-47a says, “…and [they] broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” Who do you know that shares similar passions and work? Can you find a network of women who share a similar calling? If you’re leading a ministry to women in your local church, seek other women who are doing the same thing. Build a community where you can share ideas—and even a meal—and have a safe place to discuss struggles or find answers. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.” Who is sharpening you?
Fourth, find community outside of your normal circle of friends and be stretched out of your comfort zone. If you’re not intentionally finding ways to make new relationships, how are you creating spaces for gospel conversations? Whether it’s joining a local gym, taking an art class, or being involved in your children’s school, good leaders are willing to get outside of their Christian bubbles and seek relationships with those who need the Lord. The early church opened their doors, their hearts, and even their wallets. Acts 2:47b shares the result, “Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”
Finally, within her Christian community, a good leader understands that biblical community allows for accountability, transparency, and generosity. Acts 2:44-45 says, “Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need.” Leaders who find biblical community find a place where they can openly share their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs with others. There is a give and take in community, and leaders need a place where they trust others.
Finding community isn’t optional for spiritual leaders, because when a leader is faced with spiritual temptations and battles, it’s in community that you find others who are willing to go to battle for you and with you. It’s in community that leaders find strength and perseverance to stay faithful in their calling.
Are you ready to lead well? Sign up for the ministry to women newsletter to get monthly content specifically for leaders here. Get training at events like YOU Lead around the country and Women’s Leadership Forum this November in Nashville, TN.
Kelly King is the Manager of Magazines/Devotional Publishing and Women’s Ministry Training for LifeWay Women. She has a Master of Theology degree from Gateway Seminary. She has been involved in women’s ministry and led Bible studies for more than 30 years. A native Oklahoman, Kelly and her husband Vic enjoy kayaking and exploring their new state of Tennessee. She is the author of Ministry to Women: The Essential Guide to Leading Women in the Local Church and Living By Faith: Women Who Trusted God.