Are you seeking out seasoned followers of Christ to invest in younger women?
By Dawn Stephens
I’m sure you probably haven’t heard the word “courting” in a long time, and today’s generation of young adults may not know what it means. But it’s a word that I think accurately describes what it’s like to help potential women’s ministry leaders come to a place of committing to lead in our churches and women’s ministries.
Over the past two years I’ve been having conversations with older women who I knew were about to retire from their full-time vocation, asking them to consider leading young women in our church’s small groups in the future.
Retirement is no longer sitting on a porch rocking, knitting, and living a carefree life of leisure. Our retirees now have full lives of caregiving for parents or grandchildren or both. Many work a part-time job or volunteer large amounts of time in the church and community. They also want some “down time” to enjoy hobbies, travel, and family.
But these mature women (as described in Titus 2:3-5) facing retirement from their careers, potentially have a little more time and a lot more experience to impart to younger women who will become our future leaders, wives, mothers, and grandmothers.
The last two retired women who have committed to lead younger women in our church have each walked a road of prayer, training, and conversations over about a year’s time. This helped prepare them for making this much-needed commitment in our church.
Here are a few perspectives to consider when “courting” future leaders for your ministry:
- Be aware of changes of seasons of women’s lives in your church and intentionally take advantage of these shifts to introduce the need for them to consider women’s leadership.
- Initiate one to three conversations with these women to introduce the need for leaders, expectations of leaderships, and time commitment.
- Give them opportunities to shadow or apprentice with another more seasoned leader to see for themselves what leadership might look like in their lives.
- Set a specific time frame for them to make a commitment to lead.
I pray that you begin to be aware of the many women in your churches who God has allowed a season of time to invest in other women and that He moves on hearts to step into leadership. I also pray that you are able to equip these women to be confident leaders of women.
Dawn Stephens has been involved in women’s ministry in both volunteer and staff positions for many years. She is the associate minister of local disciple making and women’s small groups at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala. Her desire is to train, equip and encourage women to use their God given gifts and abilities to show Christ’s love and grace to our world. She graduated from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Women’s Ministry certificate program, has served on the Alabama Baptist State Women’s Ministry leadership team, and serves as a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier.