A note from Kelly King: Being a shepherd to women entails a lot of various aspects, but I really like the way Dawn Stephens uses the metaphors of good grass and clean water in regard to leading our ministries to women. We can never forget that our focus in ministry is people and not projects.
As the first discipleship pastor that I worked for in ministry so wisely said, “Ministry would be great if it weren’t for people!”
Well, we all know he was teasing, but to be honest there are days when we wish we could “get away from the crowds” and not have to talk to another person, answer another question, or help solve another problem.
But if you are serving in a ministry role, people are your mission and your focus. People are the “sheep that need a shepherd,” and you are the shepherd God can use in their journey.
Using the metaphor of sheep, Jim Putnam, author of Real Life Discipleship, says one of the important aspects of a shepherd’s role is to find the good grass and cleanest water for his sheep.
To correlate it to our ministry to women:
- Would that good grass and clean water be theologically correct and gospel-centered teaching?
- Could it be emotionally healthy environments and relationally invested leaders?
- Should it be “others” focused, with women using their gifts to bring healing and wholeness to other women?
To correlate it to our churches:
- What barriers need to be removed in our churches for guests to hear and understand about Jesus? (e.g., poor welcome process for new families with children, poor signage moving people to worship and small group spaces, unfriendly greeters and ushers that don’t really help welcome guests graciously)
- What preconceived misperceptions about guests need to be challenged for our churches to be more welcoming and appealing for our communities?
Danny Franks, author of People are the Mission said that “you need to know what God has called your church to do and then set up a plan and system that complement that calling.”
To correlate it to our families and friends:
- Do we extend our “best” to our nuclear families or do they get our leftovers of time and attention?
- Do we lose sensitivity to those closest to us and not “see” them as brothers and sisters in Christ?
Let me encourage you to think through these questions and ask God to show you where you need to be more sensitive and in tune with people in your life.
Because God has sovereignly placed them in your life at this time, ask Him to show you how He wants you to engage them and help them take one step closer to Christ—how you can lead them to good grass and clean water.
Dawn 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. She graduated from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Women’s Ministry certificate program, has served on the Alabama Baptist State Women’s Ministry leadership team, and serves as a LifeWay Women’s Trainer. She is a contributing author to Transformed Lives Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level. She is married to Greg and has one son, Tyler. They make their home in Birmingham, Alabama.