A Note from Chris Adams: When did you last read a leadership or ministry book? Listen to a podcast? Take a college class? No matter what age we are or how long we’ve led ministry, we can NEVER stop learning. Read today’s post by Dawn Stephens, Women’s Minister at The Church at Brook Hills, in Birmingham, Alabama. She gives us various ways to continue our own education as we serve and lead women.
However and wherever God has called you to serve women, you have constant and ongoing opportunities to continue learning.
For some of us, reading and learning is like breathing. For others it’s not quite so easy and normal. Wherever you fall, let me encourage you to try gaining the mindset of a life-long learner. I first heard the word, “life-long learner” from a women’s ministry friend, Linda Lesniewski, who challenged me and others in ministry to gain this mindset.
She knew that as women in ministry leadership, we are put into so many different situations with women that we need our toolboxes full of varied and adequate tools for diverse ministry opportunities God may bring along our paths.
As we think about learning, let me share some simple options I have found along the way that you might consider as well:
1. Local junior colleges. Subscribe to the newsletter or e-news from local junior colleges in your community. You can gain valuable insight and learning on a variety of subjects that intersect with women’s ministry. Topics such as communication, public speaking, grief support, or basic computer skills are some of those “tools” that will enhance your skills as a leader.
2. Local hospitals. Watch free community newspapers for workshops and conferences that local hospitals may offer. When I was very new in women’s ministry, I took a one-day, free workshop on domestic violence that was offered by a local hospital. I came away with a very informed and foundational understanding of this common topic in today’s culture…all for free!
3. Church or community library. If your church or a large church in your city has a library, go visit and find out what resources there you might utilize for your learning. Also, most public libraries have good free workshops and sometimes computer training.
4. Seminary. Check out some seminary information here. (Click on “Seminaries” under the Women’s Ministry Contacts section.) Many offer online and self study programs with a focus in women’s ministry, theology, leadership, and other ministry related courses. Some are certificate programs while others work toward various degrees. Check out other seminaries across the country as well.
5. Events at other churches or religious organizations. Keep your “ear to the ground” through your local women’s ministry leadership networks of upcoming workshops or conferences that might help you grow personally and professionally.
Perhaps set a day away from regular obligations to soak in the teaching from books, sermons, or podcasts or something you have gained at one of the above venues. Local botanical gardens or libraries are great places for this type of day retreat, or maybe even consider a friend’s lake house or cabin in the woods for an extended personal retreat.
Never forget that you are worth the time and effort to continue to learn new concepts and understanding about a lot of topics that affect women…and maybe you will learn something new about yourself as well!
Dawn Stephens has been involved in women’s ministry in both volunteer and staff positions for many years. She is the Women’s Minister at The Church at Brook Hills, in Birmingham, Alabama. 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.