A couple of weeks ago, I relayed some advice from LifeWay Women trainers on their “rookie” mistakes as new leaders. In addition to their “mistakes,” I also asked them for advice to new leaders. As I read through them, I realized this advice isn’t just for new leaders. I need to be reminded of these things on a regular basis. I hope you’ll look through this advice today and highlight two or three you need to incorporate in the near future.
“My advice would be to find older, wiser mentors who have already been where you are in ministry and confide in them weekly. Ask them hard questions and be willing to accept challenges from them and change when change is needed. Leaders who have already ‘been there’ will be able to spare you from burnout, selfish ambition, and waywardness if you are willing to share with them, listen, and learn from what they have been through.”
“If you are going to be a part of ministry that has Kingdom impact you will have to fight the devil to it! LISTEN CLEARLY to the Lord EVERY DAY and LEARN EARLY how to be victorious in spiritual warfare.”
“Just because change is needed doesn’t mean there’s not wisdom to be found from those who went before you. Seek it out. Embrace your passion to enact something fresh and new, and at the same time, humbly recognize there was good stuff before you and there will be good stuff after you’re gone, too.”
“Make sure you are taking a Sabbath. It’s so easy to let your excitement override rest, but it’s needed even in your early days!”
“Find out the gifts and stories of the women in your church and utilize as needed.”
“Lead in your strengths. Staff in your weakness.”
“Cling to Jesus. Have a mentor. Don’t be afraid to go to counseling.”
“I’ve been in my current position at the church since January, and something that I made a priority early on is to start each morning at work by praying for one of my leaders. I have their names on a calendar, and I have a notebook that I use when meeting with them where I jot down what’s going on in their group as well as ways to pray. So when it’s my day to pray for that leader, I look at their page in my notebook and use that as a prayer guide. Sometimes I’ll text the leader or write a note to follow-up with them on that day as well, but by just praying for the leaders by name and for their groups I’ve seen God answer so many of those prayers this year as well as grow my own love and compassion for these leaders.”
“Find other women outside of your immediate context—ladies who do not go to your church or those who do not specifically know the people on your team. This provides outside encouragement and potentially unbiased opinions. It will even give some accountability for any errors in your thought patterns or speech about your ministry context. We all know ministry is hard; finding your faithful few will help keep your candle lit!”
“Don’t try to do everything that everyone else does. Do what God is leading for your specific group of women.”
“Don’t put the ministry before time with God or time with family!”
“Steward your own story well. I would encourage every new ministry leader to gift themselves four counseling sessions. Look under the “hood,” be vulnerable, ask yourself hard questions, confess, invite the Spirit into wounded space, and let the Lord pour out His healing, help, and hope over your story. Don’t ask others to do something you haven’t been willing to do or done yourself.”
“Never neglect your time with the Lord. You serve others best when you are seeking God most.”
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources and oversees the YOU Lead events. Join her this year and get to know her heart for ministry leaders. Follow her on Twitter @kellydking.