I recently received an email from a women’s ministry leader friend sharing how over-burdened she feels by women coming to her for counsel. Because this friend is a leader of leaders in her church and in a para-church ministry, women are drawn to her regarding their issues. She loves helping and is in a good place with the Lord, but has become overly burdened by her load. Here are some things I shared with her to consider. Perhaps these will help you if you feel the same way as you serve.
1. Pray about where God may be leading next.
Perhaps He is preparing you to let go of where you are and move into a new location or area of ministry.
2. If the burden is much too heavy, it’s not from God.
Read Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
3. Raise other leaders up to help counsel women.
As a trainer of leaders, you know the importance of handing off ministry. Perhaps this is the time to start doing that? Who else could give wise counsel to these women?
4. Set healthy boundaries.
If women come up to you in church or other times when you need to focus on worship, family, or work, ask them to text you and set up another time to talk. Give them only a set amount of time: “I have 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Will that work for you?”
I know some women’s ministry leaders who will only counsel a woman two to three times before moving them on to someone else if necessary. One leader I know gives the woman she is counseling two to three very easy and doable assignments and if they do not complete that by the next time they meet, she asks the woman to reschedule when she completes the steps.
As God is using you in mighty ways, He also wants to teach you lessons in the midst of it all. He doesn’t call us to live in constant exhaustion and stress. Nor does He want us to run when we see women heading our way. Ask Him to teach you and use you as you serve at His direction.