A note from Chris Adams: I bet many of you are wondering how you can simplify your life, relationships, and ministry — especially as the busy holiday season is upon us. Guest writer Deb Douglas is minister to women at First Baptist Church in Bossier City, La. She has found a way to simplify and wants to share it with us.
By Deb Douglas
Simple. It’s a word we all love and an ideology that we all crave. The words December and simple seem to be exact opposites. But think back to the first Christmas. It was simple — a barn, a manger, a mother, and a baby boy born to be the Savior.
This Christmas, I am focusing on simplifying the New Year. I am throwing out the format for women’s ministry and I’m redefining and restructuring for simplicity.
Why? Because I became convicted that I was adding to the struggle women have with over-busyness. In an effort to please everyone and fit every schedule, I was cramming the calendar full of options. Yes, me — women’s minister who wrote her doctoral project on simple women’s ministry — was driving myself and the women in our ministry crazy with busyness!
So what I am doing?
1. I’m asking questions.
- What are the biggest needs encountered by women?
- How can women’s ministry work to meet these needs?
- What is the best, most effective way to communicate with women?
- How much time do women have for women’s events, Bible studies, and missions?
- Am I expecting too much from women’s schedules?
- What’s adding stress to the ministry without producing eternal results?
2. I’m praying.
A prayer retreat brought clarity and peace that made the path to follow easier to see. Enlisting others to pray with me has become a sweet experience and has brought insights along with ideas.
3. I’m throwing out things I like.
If it’s not fitting within the mission of my church and the lifestyles of women, then it’s gone! Just because my women or I like something, it doesn’t mean that it’s effective. If women’s lives are not being changed, then it’s gone.
4. I’m not listening to others.
I hear too many good ideas. I see what others are doing and because I am competitive, I add them to our schedule. Not smart. Realizing that each women’s ministry is unique and that not all things work everywhere, frees me up to follow the Holy Spirit into designing a beautifully unique ministry that fits the needs of the women in my church.
5. I’m taking risks.
I cannot make a perfect women’s ministry. I have to be willing to strike out in order to follow the Holy Spirit’s leadership into new areas and methods of ministry.
6. I’m going “shopping.”
I’m not shopping for stuff; I’m shopping for ideas. I’m looking for what is fresh, new, and for things that get my mind sparking!
The new women’s ministry looks different, streamlined, and uncluttered:
- Weekly Bible studies are still the mainstay.
- One simplified big event every two years to draw women into the ministry.
- Purposeful small events for target audiences (no more than three per year) such as a book club event, a prayer event, a generational mixer event, or an evangelistic event.
- Mission projects continue to be essential but these have been redesigned, streamlined, and made more efficient.
- Social media has taken a dramatic leap in importance. While we were already out there (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest), we are relaunching all. Our blog will be the driven with video segments on specific women’s topics, posts targeting each generation, recipes, links to helpful articles and reading recommendations, information on events coming to our area, stories of women who have faced challenges and overcome them because of God’s help.
Notice the main focus of women’s ministry will be through social media, which means it is available at any time to fit anyone’s busy schedule. Will this work? I’ll keep you posted! But I know I’m not stepping out alone; I’m simply following into “simplehood.”
Dr. Deb Douglas is the minister to women at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, La., and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier, launched her first women’s Bible study at the age of 20. Her passion is encouraging and equipping women to serve. She is also a freelance writer and contributed to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level, Revised & Expanded. Deb graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts of Christian Education/Women’s Ministry and a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree. She is the wife of Paul, mom of Jared and Katie, mother-in-law to Emily and Jacob, and grandmother to Caroline.