How do these tensions affect us as women’s ministry leaders?
1. Family time versus church time.
I’ve said many times that family is our first and most important ministry. But we struggle if others make demands on our time that impacts our family. Pray and ask God, “Is this task my responsibility?” If it’s not, let it go or delegate it. If it is, ask for wisdom in how to complete it without making your family feel left out or neglected. (Perhaps they can even help with the task and be a part of what you’re doing.)
2. Office time versus time in the community.
There are a number of things we have to do at our desks or wherever we get our work done. But if we shield ourselves from the community, it makes it very hard to understand and reach the community. Also, whether you are paid staff or a volunteer, members often expect you to be at their beck and call. Help them understand the importance of reaching women outside the church and understanding the culture of your city.
3. Being a people pleaser versus being a good steward.
Our desire is definitely to serve our women in the church, but we also need to make sure it fits our purpose and strategy for reaching and discipling women. Help those who suggest ministry ideas to measure those with your stated mission for the ministry. If it doesn’t, she will see that for herself.
4. Visiting for crisis needs versus visiting for commonplace needs.
Often, we don’t even know there is a need if no one tells us. We cannot be expected to know what we aren’t told. However, when we are told, we must prioritize the needs. This is never easy. Ask God to not only help you make the best decisions for your time, but also to raise up other leaders who will help with this responsibility.
5. Counseling versus referral.
Unless we are trained counselors, we have to understand what we are capable of doing to help and what we are not equipped to do. Someone once said, “A circle of concern is not the same thing as a circle of responsibility.” Know what you can and cannot do and do not feel guilty by referring a woman to others who are more equipped to meet her need. (For help with this, we published a resource for leaders called, Women Reaching Women in Crisis to help train leaders to minister to women in crisis.)
6. Spending time with church members versus spending time with non-Christians.
God has called us to disciple and evangelize. Without evangelizing, we have no one to disciple! Be sure you build teaching women how to help evangelize into your discipling process by equipping them to discover and share their own life stories and stories of faith.
7. Local church ministry versus other ministries.
Depending on your church size, location, and extension of ministries, you will have to make decisions as to what other denominational or national ministries you can also participate in to learn and to serve.
8. Being prophetic versus being positive.
We all know our world (and even our own communities) are struggling and filled with many who do not believe the truth of Scripture or seek to live out moral lifestyles. But if all we do is focus on what is wrong, we become discouraged and we discourage others from even seeking to be a catalyst for change and hope. Dr. Jim Denison has a daily cultural commentary you can sign up for here. He addresses current issues and then gives positive direction for how to address the issues from a Christian perspective.
9. Long-term perspective versus short-term perspective.
Both are necessary. We must know where we are heading in the long run—what is our goal in ministering to and with women? Then we have to look daily (weekly, monthly, yearly) at how we get there. Make sure what you do today impacts the overall goal.
There are other tensions we experience as leaders. What are yours?