A note from Kelly King: Once a month, we’ll bring you insight from a woman in leadership. There is no one I’d rather sit down and have a conversation with than Sheila West. So if you’re enjoying the holidays and have a few minutes, pretend you’re sitting across from Sheila as she shares some of her wisdom.
Who has been most influential in your ministry leadership and how did they influence you?
A former pastor, Ken Cole, constantly encouraged me to “study to show myself approved.” That meant that getting to know God the Father, Jesus, His Son and my Savior, and the indwelling Holy Spirit is the only way to experience real life in this reeling world. That should be my focus because out of Him flows ministry, and ministry flows back to Him. It really isn’t about me. I learned that it is followship—intentionally following Jesus—that motivates and mobilizes a leader.
How do you practically spend time with the Lord each day? What is your normal practice?
I practice His presence all day long, asking for Him to constantly make me aware of His presence and to sense His divine thoughts and directions. I practice the intentional spiritual discipline of being in the Word, and to be in the Word means reading it. I believe we should read the Word every day. And in addition, I do intentional studying of the Word, gaining clarification of what it means so that my reading produces clarity in what I know and understand. I circle, highlight, and write down valuable information, insightful revelations, and life lessons that are revealed. Then I practice listening—intentionally saying, “Speak Lord; I’m listening.” I then write down how the Word applies to day-to-day life. I write down a praise, or I tell Him what I am still wrestling with. Or, I document what “I got” loudly and clearly. And if there is something I need to do, I write down how I am going to respond in obedience.
Now, I may not do all this everyday, but I do this every day I can. And if I don’t do all, I do part. Often, I study during the day or at night and listen in the morning.
What is your best piece of leadership advice to another women’s ministry leader?
Prayerfully be in the Word. Don’t be driven by the pressure of projects, people, or personal ambition, but by a passion of purpose for the Person of Jesus Christ. Join Him in what He is doing.
What is your current leadership struggle?
For me right now, it is developing an exit strategy that is God’s with His timing, not mine. It is not seeing age as a deterrent, but leveraging it in passing on a legacy of steadfastness until the end while still making room for and empowering those who are coming alongside and ready to move forward.
What “new” thing are you trying this year that is requiring faith?
Launching an intentional discipleship process for the church that has not been in place before.
Sheila has been involved in women’s ministry for over 35 years, serving as Director of Women’s Ministry for over 20 years in the local church. She is presently on staff at Heritage Community Church, Fruitland Park, Florida as Director of Administration as well as serving as Director of Women’s Ministry. She is the founder of Real Living Ministries, a speaking, teaching, and leadership development ministry to women. Sheila is also a contributing author to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level, Revised and Expanded edition. She is the author of Beyond Chaos, and is a LifeWay Women’s Trainer. She and her husband, John, are the parents of two and proud grandparents of seven.