Congratulations on being a new ministry leader! I’m so glad you are answering the call to bless the women in your church. I want to give you so many tips. But I will start with the first and most important one right now! Ok. If you are taking over a women’s ministry, the first step is to access the ministry’s historical documents and decisions.
What has it done in the past? What worked? What didn’t work? Who are the stakeholders? Who are the informal leaders? Hey, have you heard the saying, “You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been?” The same is true for a women’s ministry. In my years of experience, reviewing history or a women’s ministry past is so important in charting a path forward.
It is as essential as when a single woman meets a new guy and asks about his history. Really! The answers serve as a foundation for future objectives and strategies, Christian Leader!
Look, by examining historical data, you will gain valuable insights into what has worked well in the past and what hasn’t. This historical perspective allows you to make informed choices and avoid the same old mistakes the previous leader made.
Once, I worked in a women’s ministry, and the leader continually planned events she liked but did not consider the diversity within the church. She never asked the women what they wanted to do. She did not have a committee helping her brainstorm, and the result was a bunch of what I, at the time, called “old people” activities that no one ever attended. Besides that, she was mean.
This was valuable historical data for the women’s ministry leader taking over a women’s ministry after her, right?
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I was there when the next person assumed leadership and had to clean up some of the messes the first leader made. That is when I learned taking over a women’s ministry is no joke.
In fact, the minister’s wife, who took the ministry over after her, had her work cut out for her! She had to sort of re-brand the ministry and convince women to give it another chance. She was a creative woman, whereas the former lady was more rigid. So, taking over a women’s ministry after such a person is really hard – but not impossible. I saw her do it with grace and success! If she could, so can you!
Taking over a women’s ministry table of contents:
It’s a good idea to figure out what you’re getting into as a new women’s ministry leader.
One key reason why reviewing history is essential if you are taking over a women’s ministry is that it helps identify patterns and trends. Just like in my example above, you can discover what harmful patterns contributed to failures or shortcomings before you arrived.
You can totally uncover recurring themes or factors that have influenced previous success or failure by analyzing past records (if they exist).
This insight lets you capitalize on strengths and opportunities while mitigating risks and addressing weaknesses.
Most women’s ministries start well!
I hope my example wasn’t too negative. Truthfully, most women’s ministries start out strong! Looking at past successes can help you build upon them while charting the pathway to brand-new successes and future ministry triumphs!
Furthermore, studying the history of the women’s ministry [you’re taking over] can provide a sense of continuity. You’ll learn what worked back in the day and pray for opportunities to take those efforts to the next level.
Ask around and talk to women of different ages within the church to see what you can learn about past women’s ministry endeavors.
You may find out about a deacon’s wife in the 70s who really rallied and inspired the women.
You might find out about an event that really blessed the ladies.
Perhaps you will learn about resources that haven’t been used but are super valuable to the ministry.
Example: I learned about a tablecloth over 30 women from our church family signed in the 1990s! Can you believe that? I was able to have that and will cherish it and use it to teach women about the women who came before us. I hope to pass it on to the next generation of women ministry leaders.
I wish I could find it and take a picture of it. But I have it in a vacuum-sealed bag. It’s that precious.
You know, even the most boring women’s ministries likely had a good start! Maybe it just fell into the wrong leadership, or the church season was stagnant or strained.
Whatever the reason, God can breathe new life into it. Just dig and learn about the ministry’s history. Then, build upon it. Make it better!
Comparison – in a good way, after taking over a women’s ministry
Another benefit of reviewing history is that it offers a benchmark for progress.
By comparing current performance with past achievements, you can lead the women’s ministry to gauge their growth and identify improvement opportunities.
This retrospective analysis serves as a reality check and enables women’s ministry leaders like yourself to set realistic and achievable goals. If you need tips on writing ministry goals and objectives, click here.
Unfortunately, in women’s ministry, records are not often kept. But, if they were, maybe you can compare attendance, the number of volunteers then versus now, or some other metric to gauge growth.
Here’s the kicker, though: if this did not happen in the past, don’t feel bad. You could bring this level of excellence to the women’s ministry now. Begin keeping good notes. Think of it as a spiritual census. Then, you can pass that information down to the next women’s ministry later.
What will you need to repair?
Have I sold you on this step of reflecting on the women’s ministry you are taking over?
I hope so because nonprofits and business organizations have known for years to do this. In my opinion, when the Bible says the “wealth of the wicked is stored for the just,” it is NOT just talking about monetary wealth. I think it can refer to their business practices, too!
Why shouldn’t we take the best practices of business and nonprofits and use them to build the Kingdom?
Taking over a women’s ministry is daunting enough – especially if you are new to being a women’s ministry leader. You don’t need to re-create the wheel when you don’t have to.
Indeed, studying history allows women’s ministries to learn from past mistakes, and by examining failures and setbacks, leaders can identify the root causes and develop strategies to prevent similar issues from arising in the future.
You are going to need to do the following to fix past harm:
- Assess the impact and the errors of the previous leader.
- List them out and generate a list of solutions to remedy them – one by one. For example, if the former leader was a mean lady, you will have to be very visible and on the front lines to show the women you are down to earth and approachable.
- Record all the issues and impacts and form a plan to remedy them. You may have to meet with the women of the church to share your new vision for the ministry. This means, if appropriate, apologizing for past happenings (only if the former leader is gone).
Pray about this part and get the church leadership’s input. However, if the former leader stole money or something HUGE, you have to be transparent about it and talk about it publically to regain trust. Maybe you can also share a women’s ministry Bible verse for working together in Ministry that focuses on unity to encourage the ladies to be unified throughout the transition of leadership. This is especially true if it was disjointed under the former leader.
Review past printed and online docs.
After taking over a women’s ministry, audit past documentation and marketing materials. See what was up with the former leader’s communication style.
A ministry brand REFRESH may be in order. For instance, giving the ministry communications a fresh new look by updating all the visual elements such as logos, color palettes, fonts, and imagery.
Ask around the church to see if you have any graphic artist in the congregation that can help you create a cohesive and visually appealing brand identity that resonates with your target audience.
If not, there is always Canva!
Evaluate Your Efforts – after a few months.
Track the impact of your rebranding efforts and monitor key performance indicators to gauge success. Solicit feedback from anyone who has a stake in the success of the women’s ministry. This includes the women in your women’s ministry. I include in this thought the committee that helps you, the women the ministry benefits, and the church leaders (pastor, pastor’s wife, church mothers, etc.).
Conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups to understand their perceptions and incorporate their suggestions into your new strategy as you are taking over the women’s ministry.
After you get feedback, continually refine and improve your strategy.
Track the impact of your efforts by monitoring key performance indicators such as website traffic (like Jetpack), social media engagement, and event evaluations.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about here, key performance indicators (KPIs) are like the scoreboard in a game. They’re these cool metrics that can be measured to see how well the ministry is reaching your goals.
They give you solid data that you can use to figure out what’s going well and what needs a little work. KPIs are super helpful for making smart decisions and getting stuff done.
Give yourself time.
Women’s ministry is all about trust.
Trust takes time, and relationships take time. Give the women a chance to see who you are as a women’s ministry leader. Once they get to know you, trust me, if you follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, they are going to love you!
See what “was” so you can determine “what will be.”