Karen Finke formerly served as Director of Support Ministries at Noland Road Baptist Church in Independence, MO for just over 6 years. She is now a member of the church’s women’s ministry team. Read about her first experiences as a women’s leader and what God taught her about prayer and planning.
At the time of this writing, the entire LifeWay women’s team is up to their cute little ears in the last details for the annual Women’s Leadership Forum. This year marks the 15th anniversary of this spectacular opportunity for women’s ministry leaders.
Fourteen years ago I attended my first Forum and, although it was a mini version of the more recent ones, I was blown away. So many good ideas! So much valuable information! So many godly women ready to share their thoughts and expertise! I took home with me a wealth of knowledge, but one truth literally changed the way I did (and do) ministry.
I was new to doing women’s ministry and full of good ideas and collecting more and more. I enthusiastically jotted down thoughts I heard from leaders from all over the country. I was anxious to implement them at my own church. God was teaching me also and I began to sense a resounding message from Him.
As well as hearing about events plans and new ministries, these seasoned leaders had learned something else through their experiences and were quick to pass it on. One simple truth… Pray before planning anything. You would think that would be instinctive for a Christian leader. But I had so many “good ideas,” surely God would bless them, right? I came home from the Forum determined to put those “good ideas” aside and ask God what He would have for the women in my church. Through the years I have often had to recognize that I have slipped back into trying to do ministry on my own rather than asking God directions first. I am thankful for the lesson I learned so many years ago. Maybe I’ll see you there next year!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (HCSB)
Karen continues to teach a ladies’ Sunday School class and is a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She has received both the Basic and Advanced Certificates in Women’s Ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She is a contributing author to the women’s leadership book Women Reaching Women: Revised and Expanded edition, published by LifeWay, and an event speaker. Karen is married to Ron and has three married children and two grandchildren.