Satan’s ploy is to steal, kill, and destroy. It is his vision, his mission, his very existence on this earth, to steal your joy, kill your relationships, and destroy fellowship among Christians. We have to understand that as ministry leaders in women's ministry, there will be things that arise. Why? Because if you are truly impacting lives for the Kingdom of Christ, particularly women, who are raising up children in the way they should go, the enemy is scared. He is going to attempt to disrupt your ministry in a variety of ways. Here are the best things you can do to guard against the disruption:
- You have to be mature as a leader. You can’t be easily offended. You have to guard your heart. There will be times when the women will be critical of you. The volunteers may criticize. The church leaders or members may not say the right thing to you. Get over it. Please. I say that in love. Get over it. This work is too important. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. If something offends you or someone hurts you, give grace & move on. Don’t dwell. There is danger is the dwelling! The more you stay there, the bigger the issue becomes. So just resolve in your mind that no matter what happens, God has called you to this minister and he guides, who he calls.
- Lay down the competitive spirit. Competition kills ministry. You aren’t competing with any other ministry in your church. You aren’t competing with other women. You aren’t competing with other womens' ministries in your area or your state. There is no competition in ministry. We all have a role and a part. You aren’t competing with anyone within your group for the best speaking ability or singing voice or leadership skills. You are you. Walk in your role. SO much drama in ministry has to do with the fact that we don’t know our role. We aren’t confident in who God has created us to be. We should celebrate the successes of other women, other ministries. Celebrate their gifts. Celebrate their victories. Don’t compete.
- Don’t ignore conflict. Handle it. Let’s say the conflict is with you and another member of the ministry, whether an attendee or a volunteer. You can’t just ignore the situation. The Bible says to take your problem to your brother first. Unfortunately, what we sometimes have a tendency to do is either ignore it, because it’s uncomfortable and we don’t like conflict. Or we tend to talk to other people about it, so that we can somehow be right. Relinquish your desire to be right. The goal is healthy relationships and restoration of the relationship, not your ability to be right. So….that means sometimes you apologize, when it wasn’t your fault. The conflict will get bigger when it isn’t handled. This is critical in ministry.
- Understand that “problem” women are simply hurt. Yes, there will be what we consider to be "problem" people in our ministry. They are broken. Maybe they are past abuse victims. Maybe they’ve been so disappointed by so many that they do things like lie or gossip or manipulate or need to control or offend or maybe talk too much. Whatever the problem is, understand there is a root to the problem. Relationship helps these women heal. God loves you so much and trusts you so much that he has now positioned you to shepherd another group of women. This is big. And the more you foster relationships and create a safe space for these women, the less likely you are to battle the “problem” . Listen, we all have problems. Issue tons of grace, when they don’t say the right thing in group or behave the right way. Love them. They need you to love them. You are Christ’s ambassador.
- Don’t judge these women. The last thing that the women in your ministry need is a finger-pointing leader who is constantly dissecting why they are sinning. Now, this comes in lots of forms. Here’s what often happens. We, as leaders, are so excited that God has done the miraculous in our lives. We love Him so much and we just want the world to know about His goodness. Those are all great things. But if we aren’t very careful, we translate that excitement into, “Well let me tell you the 5 things you need to do to fix your life.” And then, when she doesn’t do those things, or we go around the same mount with her over and over again, we just tend to finger point or become disappointed and frustrated. Okay, so I’ve been in women's ministry for a decade. I have seen God do the supernatural. I have seen him set women free of addiction in a moment. I have seen women’s lives transformed in a moment. I have seen the miraculous. I know hundreds of women personally that God has redeemed. But….I also have some of the same women in my local ministry that were there 10 years ago, talking about the same things, making the same mistakes. Thank God that He didn’t give up on us, when we failed.
- Always honor your spiritual authority! No matter what. ALWAYS honor your spiritual authority. (The only exception is illegal or immoral behavior). Maybe you have a pastor or a women’s ministry leader or missions pastor that has been unbearable in your opinion. Maybe they’ve been unfair. Maybe they’ve not been as supportive as you would’ve hope. You honor them. Pray for them. Do not talk about them with ANYONE. The more you talk about them, the more bitter seeds you plant. God is in control. God will speak to them or remove them.
- Give challenged women a task to complete. Listen, I’m not naïve to think that you aren’t going to have some problem women in your group from time to time. I understand. Now, their job isn’t going to be mentoring other women, of course! But maybe the job is, "Hey, I really need some help with organizing the food each week. Would you be willing to help get volunteers to cook the meal?" Whatever that looks like for your ministry, give women a task. Maybe it’s sending emails or inputting data or follow-up welcome calls or set-up or clean-up or greeters & welcome team. Whatever you need, give them the task. Whatever the root issue is that may make her defensive or a busy-body or whatever could likely be addressed over time, as she finds value in her service to others.
Jennifer Maggio is a national author and speaker, mom to three, wife of Jeff, and CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is chauffeur, chief dishwasher, carpool queen, and duct tape aficionado. But more importantly, she is passionate about teaching women how to find complete freedom in Christ. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.