He loved Judas. The Samaritan Woman,too.

MBA

A few months back, at a Women’s Ministry Council meeting, one of the speakers shared something that I can’t stop thinking about. I’ve mentioned it before… but it is on my mind today. So, I’m guessing either I need to be reminded about it or someone needs to hear it.

Jesus knew the role Judas would play.
He knew that Judas would betray him for handful of coins.
He know that this betrayal would lead to his death.
Yet, Jesus never stopped loving Judas.
Jesus still poured into Judas.
Jesus taught Judas, broke bread with Judas.
Jesus had fellowship with Judas, and served in ministry with him.
Jesus kissed Judas and embraced him like a brother.
All the while knowing what Judas would eventually do.
Then I thought some more about Jesus and how He treated those He encountered. Jesus knew everything about every person who came into His presence. The good and the bad, their thoughts and their hearts.
Jesus loved them enough to call out the truth of what He saw, but never in a way that heaved upon them guilt or shame. Instead Jesus helped them to see their value and worth, and to choose a better path. He didn’t hurl degrading words at them, but instead challenged their accusers who were blameless to cast the first stone.
Jesus had more concern about people knowing who He was and His purpose in their life. He preached the Good News before we could even understand what that meant. He knew that the people having a relationship with Him and His Father would be the catalyst for transforming their lives. He knew that the closer He could draw them to Himself, the more they would desire to follow His ways. His thoughts would become their thoughts.
Instead of shunning the Samaritan Woman at the well… he actually went out of His way to spend time with her. He didn’t talk down to her or avoid her, like the townspeople. Instead, He intentionally chose her to reveal himself to. Through her many were saved.
Instead of allowing the woman accused of adultery to be stoned, He turned the tables on the accusers. Jesus reminded every one of them that they had their own sins to worry about, the planks to remove from their own eyes.
He allowed the broken, imperfect, sinning women… who had the faith of a mustard seed to wash his feet, anoint him with oil and perfume. To sit as His feet and learn, to witness miracles, and be healed.
If I am to be Christlike, then this is my calling.  This is what I am to do.  I am to love those who are broken, imperfect, sinning, with small doses of faith (if any).  I am not to shun them but invite them to see the glory of God by teaching, leading, and guiding them to the Cross.  My job is not to make these women feel guilty or cast upon them mantles of shame.  For Christ died for whatever it is they are in the midst of.  Instead, I am to remind them of freedom and God’s love.  I am to show them a better way, and introduce her to a loving God who forgives those who call him Father.
I seek out the lost sheep.  I open the door to the prodigal daughters.  I trust that I have trained them in the way they should go, and one day they will return to it.  I understand that I cannot dictate their path to salvation, nor convict their hearts.  I am not the Holy Spirit, I am not qualified for that job.  I do not murder them with my words or demean God’s handiwork.    I remember that she is created in God’s image and to insult her is to insult the one who crafted her within her mother’s womb.
She is HIS, and He loves her.  He says she is more precious than rubies.  He says she will be a jewel to her husband’s crown.  He says that she belongs to Him.

40 Under 40 – Nominations Are Open

4040camp

WomensMinistry.net has begun a campaign to celebrate 40 Women’s Ministry Leaders under the age of 40, who are making impact in their community and churches through their Women’s Ministry leadership.

Click on the Forty Under 40 image above, and you’ll be taken to the nomination process.

Women’s Ministry – Everyone Has an Opinion

As a member of the leadership team for our Women’s Ministry, I have spent a lot of time researching the subject.  We want to make sure that we offer activities that interest the women of our church.  We want to account for the various ages, stages of life, marital statuses, and availability of the women who make up our body.  At the same time, we must find balance with the church schedule and other ministries.  A ministry should not overwhelm the calendar, but meet the needs of those whom the ministry is intended to serve.

We can not please all the people… all of the time.    We can, however, please some of the people some of the time.

What is interesting to me, as I researched the subject of Women’s Ministry over the years, is that there are a LOT of opinions on what IS and ISN’T an effective Women’s Ministry.  There are open letters, on blogs, about what we don’t need.  Things like fancy brunches, with hired in speakers.  We don’t want fluff, we want substance.  Deeper studies, testimonies, formal education, accountability, prayer groups, etc.

On the other hand, you will find women who are happy with their Sunday services and small groups, who are looking for social connections.  They want to fellowship, build long lasting friendships and create community.  If you try and research Women’s Ministry on the internet, I promise you…

You will be more confused than you started.

So, what DOES an effective Women’s Ministry look like?  How do we really know what Women’s Ministry looks like, for our church?

1) Ask Your Church –  This may seem like a no-brainer, but really it is the easiest and most over looked starting place.  You don’t have to sit down with a team of women, and decide what you think the women want out of the women’s ministry.  A simple or complex survey is always a great starting place.  It also gives you are great way to find out what women from your church want to help.  Not everyone is called to a leadership position, but many are willing to be the hands and feet when needed.

Also, be sure to ask your Church Leadership.  It is important to know from the staff, what the vision the Church has for the ministry.  What is their “measure of success” and also what would their concerns & boundaries for the ministry look like.  Nothing can hamper a ministry like the lack of communication between the team and the church leaders

2) Reference, but Don’t Imitate Other Churches –  A great starting point for building a ministry is to look at what other churches in your area, denomination or similar size to your church are doing.  However, I would caution you to not make your Women’s Ministry identical to their ministry.  The women of your church, they may want something entirely different.  However, knowing what other churches are doing will give you a launching point. 

3)  Start with Variety – In the beginning have a calendar that offers some variety.  You may have events on weekdays, weeknights, weekends, one day retreats, or weekend long get away.  Your activities may include brunches, ladies night out, dinners, movies, bible studies, community service, church service, etc.  Have events where baby sitting is provided (for free or a small fee), and have events where there is no baby sitting provided.  Variety helps you reach the whole body of women, but over the course of time with different events.

4)  Review Every Event You Hold – Establish a guideline for your ministry, something that you measure every event against.  It might be guideline the church leadership suggested, a verse, a mission statement, or even establish a scoring system with the ministry team.  When each event is over, run it by this guideline & determine if it was a success.  If it was a success and meets the criteria your ministry established, repeat it again.  If there was low attendance or the outcome wasn’t what you expected, you know to let it go (at least for the immediate future). 

It’s easy to write an open letter about what YOU want in a Women’s Ministry.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  However, what YOU need, and what the woman sitting a few pews away from you needs… may be entirely different.

The best way to impact your Women’s Ministry doesn’t begin in open letters on the internet, but instead starts when you join the team.