From Chris Adams: One of the topics women’s ministry leaders are always seeking wisdom on how to build a team of women to carry out the vision God has given a church. Today begins a four-day journey with my friend, author and Beyond the Call Ministries founder Shirley Moses on this topic as she addresses various types of teams and how to effectively lead women in their spiritual journeys.
You may be wondering what makes this article about teams important for you to consider when you have read so many others. Why yet another message about team building? And what made the teams I started during the course of my work worth analyzing? What made them successful? I can answer the last question quickly: It was God! I look back in awe at how He used me in leadership. Answers to the other questions will require a little more time. In this four-part series, I want to talk about four different kinds of teams and the goal of each.
First we need to consider how we can measure the success of a team-building effort. To me, success can be measured by considering two elements: the spiritual growth of each woman on the team and the bond that develops between the women as they work together.
I received my direction from 1 Peter 1:22: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart” (NIV).
I believe that the first goal of a team leader is to know and love her team before she asks that team to serve other women of the church. How can we minister and love each of those women deeply from the heart if we do not begin with the team God has given us?
My objective is not to give you a step-by-step plan of action, but to motivate you to think outside the box about your own plan.
Learning about your team will show you how to truly love them.
I know all too well that when women receive the call to lead, we just want to start doing service activities, but for the first four months, all I did was meet with the team once a week to go deep into each of their lives to discover who they were and what their dreams were. Each week I gave them an assignment for the next week. These were some of our assignments and discussions:
- Tell me when and how you met Jesus.
- Make two lists. First list what acts of services bring you joy; then write what things you just dread doing.
- I told them about my dream of having a team I could share my spiritual journey with, a team that would feel the same way I did about the women of our church.
- We talked about what it really means to love each other deeply from the heart.
- We tried to answer the question, “What would that kind of love look like in our church?”
Intentional love for others will create an atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to direct your goal for this time in your church.
At the end of the four months, after spending much time in conversation, prayer, and sharing meals and lots of laughter, God had given us our direction. We began in this way:
The name of every woman in our congregation was given to one of the team members. We were a team of five women. We wrote each person a note asking how we could pray for them. I had no idea how much this would impact the women of our church. Excitement was in the air. It was a very good first step to show we honestly wanted to serve and care for our sisters in the church. Our church membership included 230 ladies. And as a result these ministries were developed:
- A Mentoring Ministry that enlisted the participation of the majority of the women.
- My Brother’s Keeper assists women who needed help with food or cleaning house after a death in the family or hospital stay.
- Bible Studies are well attended at the church, and 50 more women are involved in study at a community center.
- Barnabas Baskets are given to women who needed specific encouragement.
- The Food Ministry provides whatever nourishment is needed.
Our goal was to love each other deeply from the heart. And that goal was reflected in each ministry.
I hope you too will be inspired to teach your women to live out this verse: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22 NIV). May our Lord bless each of your teams and your ministry, and may we all bring Him glory.
Tell us how God had helped you develop your church women’s ministry leadership team.
Look for Building Successful Teams Part 2: Networking tomorrow.
Shirley Moses is an author, speaker, women’s ministry team advisor at Hagerman Baptist Church in Sherman, Texas, and founder of Beyond the Call Ministries. Formerly she served as the women’s Ministry consultant for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. She also serves currently as a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier, helping train women’s ministry leaders across the country. Shirley contributed to LifeWay’s leadership book, Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level and is co-author of Heart Friends: Beginning and Maintaining a Small Accountability Group. Shirley has completed her Advanced Certificate of Women’s Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.