• "...to bring good news to the poor... proclaim release to the captives... let the oppressed go free..."
  • (Luke 4:18-19)

    Leadership mentoring

    Often, for women who may be relatively new in your ministry or congregation, for younger women, or for women who haven't held leadership positions before, the idea of taking on a new leadership role can be daunting. Additionally, it may be difficult to discern whether a woman is gifted in the way a particular role requires if you don't know her well, and you may be setting her up for failure by convincing her to take on a role for which she isn't suited.

    An excellent way to develop leadership in the ministry is to have an intentional mentoring initiative in which members of your leadership team each identify a woman in the congregation to raise up in leadership. This would be a slow, step-by-step process, starting first with building a relationship. See our materials on the companioning relationship for more information. Although that material is geared towards intergenerational relationships (which could be the case here as well!), it has information helpful for any sort of intentional companioning relationship. 

    This can begin, of course, just by developing the friendship. As the trust in the relationship builds, the pair could then discuss developing leadership. Asking questions like these are a good place to begin: "What kind of leadership experience do you have already? What do you feel you do well? What would you like the opportunity to learn? How do you feel God is calling you into leadership?" Be careful not to start with any assumptions. Just because a woman is a professional accountant doesn't mean she always wants to end up being the treasurer. In fact, it may mean anything but! If you spend all day doing something for work, you may well want to do something completely different in your volunteer life. Teachers may not always want to teach. Pianists may not want to always be the accompanist. Indeed, we develop as whole women of God by having a broad range of opportunities to grow, experience, and challenge ourselves. 

    Next, short-term, low-commitment types of leadership opportunities are a great way for someone to test the waters, so to speak. Invite a woman who has expressed interest in developing a prayer life to plan a prayer segment for your next gathering, rather than asking her right off the bat to lead an entire retreat. When the woman indicates interest in an actual leadership role, invite her to attend a meeting or two of the leadership team to get a feel for how you currently interact. If she has ideas for more effective ways to have discussions or for relationship-building activities, listen! 

    The key idea here is that leadership is something that's developed over time, and some very gifted women may not be able to jump right into the key leadership roles as your ministry defines them. Allowing women to lead in a variety of ways, building strong relationships with current leaders, and having your current leaders view a significant part of their ministry as cultivating leadership in others, will benefit your ministry as well as every woman involved. 

    Po Box 851 · Valley Forge, PA · 19482-0851
    (610) 768-2288 · info@abwministries.org