How can you lead most effectively in a ministry role? Why is it important to do what you love and embrace your gifting instead of trying to do it all? And how can developing a team help a ministry to grow and thrive?
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In this episode, I talk with Holly and our church’s women’s minister, Sandy Flewelling, about how to be an effective, God-centered leader, how to not do ministry on your own, and how we can serve the women in our church’s women’s ministry.
Sandy’s Leadership Journey:
Sandy says that she fell into leadership. As an introvert, she never intended to be a leader. When she moved back to Maine, she found herself increasingly getting involved in her church’s women’s ministry. She noticed that her heart came alive as she worked with and taught women.
After insisting that she wasn’t a leader, she realized that she was rewriting then teaching her church’s Bible studies. She felt the Holy Spirit pressing on her that she could write her own material. Sandy felt like leadership had to look a certain way and required certain skills. She realized that she was a leader when she understood that she didn’t have to be everything.“A leader doesn’t have to be everything.” - Sandy FlewellingClick To Tweet
Her pastor’s wife saw in and called out gifts that Sandy didn’t see in herself. A women’s ministry co-leader, Karen Reynolds, was supportive and reminded her that she didn’t have to be or do everything on her own.
How Sandy Embraced her Wiring as a Leader:
Sandy reminds us to not take at face value that you’ll always be who you are right now.“I don’t have to trust in myself to be able to do this job. I can trust God to empower me to do what’s not in my skill set.” - Sandy FlewellingClick To Tweet
Sandy’s Advice for Younger Leaders:
Focus on what you love. Work in places where you get life and energy. What if you have an idea that isn’t in your skill set for your church? Trust that God will raise up the right person.
Building an Effective Women’s Ministry Team
Sandy’s role at her church as women’s minister is to teach and shepherd women. She does this through event planning, overseeing women’s Bible studies, prayer groups, and small groups. She sets the vision for how women’s ministry executes the mission of the church as well as representing women to the church leadership team.
How Holly and Sandy Worked Together
Holly had been involved with other ministries at church, but knew they weren’t her thing. She just wanted to be around Sandy, which works out well because they are a natural fit. After Sandy’s fellow women’s ministry leader stepped down, Sandy asked Holly to help her.
Sandy’s gift is teaching and setting the vision + direction. Holly’s gift is executing that vision and having a heart for the women in church.
When Holly came into leading the women’s retreat, she felt overwhelmed to make it perfect. Then she realized her job was to mentor those who were supervising each area, i.e. food, registration, decoration. Her job was to set the tone for the retreat so in each meeting, she reviewed the mission and ensure that each woman on her team feel cared for and welcomed.
The importance of not doing women’s ministry on your own
The biggest advantage of not doing everything on your own is that you get to do what you love. What you love, you do well.“There is no way one person can do it all.” - Holly CainClick To Tweet
Three challenges of working with a team
1. Personalities respond and work together in different ways. This can be stressful, but as a leader, you need others. Here are some tips as you work with a team:
- Trust others to get things done, even if how they do ministry differs from you.
- Continually communicate the vision.
- Trust God to use the outcomes for His glory.
2. Sometimes people have to step out of their roles (family emergency, a move, etc.) so other members of the team will need to be ready to step in. This happens through mentorship, training, and trust.
3. Communication is always a challenge. Here are two tips:
- Make sure people hear what they’re supposed to execute.
- Explain how each piece fits within the vision.
What do women need from women’s ministry?
Sandy believes that what everyone truly needs is time and opportunity to be intentionally face-to-face with God. But they may not realize what they need, so you need to provide this in ways that will allow it to happen.“What we most need is time and opportunity to be intentionally face-to-face with God because that’s the place where healing, growth, and life happen.” - Sandy FlewellingClick To Tweet
Sandy and Holly both feel that what women need and want in churches are the following:
- Connection with each other.
- Depth in our relationship with God.
- A purpose; a place to fit in in God’s kingdom.
- Mentors, those ahead of us who have Bible knowledge, life wisdom, and a willingness to pour both out.
Ways women’s ministry can meet these needs
Ultimately, the goal of any women’s ministry is to make a place for people to be who they are, to love what they love, and to come together in a place where they feel comfortable.
- Depth, connection, and purpose are met in the context of small groups. Bringing together a diversity of ages in small groups helps us connect with others and Jesus.
- Coming together as the body of Christ is found in a larger event context.
How someone can start or strengthen the women’s ministry in their church:
- Start praying for God to raise us who can partner with you.
- Don’t be afraid to partner with other Bible-believing churches.
- Don’t try to do everything. Actually identify the needs of your church. Do the most important things. Make a place where people can encounter the living God.
- Look around and see what’s already happening. Speak life over this. Encourage and pray for who is already leading well.
- Pour into women you’re already gathering with.
- Ask how you can contribute instead of being frustrated by what’s not happening.
Sandy’s book recommendation:
Connect with Sandy:
Sandy Flewelling is wildly passionate about helping you find freedom through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Whether speaking before a crowd in a retreat setting or sharing a conversation with one in her cozy office, her desire is to be faithful and true to the God who loves us and changes us with that love.
She has been a graphic designer for 25 years and is the owner of TrueBlue Design. But smack dab in the middle of that career she decided she wanted another one, so Sandy attended The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology where she earned her Master’s in Counseling.
In her spare time, Sandy is a Women’s Minister at Church of the Open Door in Hampden, Maine as well as a self-proclaimed toilet paper ninja and unashamed lover of two long-haired felines, Buddy and Bear. Her home is in Maine, where the tender beauty of summer makes the long winters worth enduring.
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Other Podcast Episodes Mentioned:
- Episode 1: Our Leadership Journeys and What to Expect
- Episode 10: Finding Your Purpose
- Episode 19: The Value of Mentoring with Elisa Pulliam
Other Ways to Connect with Esther & Holly and the Christian Woman Leadership Podcast:
Episode Sponsor: Confident Leader Club
Today’s show is brought to you by the Confident Leader Club. If you’re a Christian woman leading in ministry or business, and you have a desire for deeper community with other leaders, accountability towards reaching your goals, access to ALL the downloads I’ve created, monthly bonus content including workshops and trainings on specific topics, and much more, I want to invite you to check it out. Visit confidentleaderclub.com to learn more.
Photo Credit for headshots of Sandy & Holly: Denise Lilly of Eyes to See Photography