Have you ever felt like a unicorn?
That’s a weird statement, but oftentimes, as women in ministry, that is what we are treated as. I have been to many an event where I look around and see many men in the room and very little women who I can connect with ministry-wise. I have spent many years in ministry attempting to figure things out on my own. It’s a very lonely place to be.
Thankfully, there are more women stepping into these roles, but we are still a long way off. If you’re a veteran pastor, leader, or someone who has been involved in ministry for a long time, then there is something you can do to help other women avoid the mistakes – and the loneliness – that we once felt.
You can mentor. You can disciple.
Chances are there is someone around you who you can mentor through the beginning season of ministry. It may be an intern, a young leader, or a fellow pastor. Whoever it is, I beg you to pay it forward and help them navigate the waters of ministry. It’s a tough field and that is why we were never meant to do it alone. Jesus didn’t. So, here are some practical ways you can pay it forward to another fellow woman in ministry:
I have tried to reach out to women in ministry who I could learn from, but many times, they were just too busy to help. For someone to step into your story and say, “let me help you on your journey,” is a blessing that is unexplainable in ministry. If you have the opportunity to disciple someone new, it would mean so much to them if you made the first step. After all, Jesus is the one who called out to the disciples first.
2. Meet or Check-In Regularly
It’s one thing to invite. It’s a totally different thing to actually go through with regular check-ins. I have found that in the past, I was often not the one to reach out first to meet with someone I could learn from. I was too embarrassed or felt like I was impeding on their life. But, whenever someone offered to meet with me and help me through a season, I was grateful beyond explanation. Have a regular meeting time set up or make it a point to check-in with whoever you are discipling. This could be regular phone calls, texts, video chats, or coffee meets. Either way, it means a lot for you to set aside time to listen and guide someone who just needs to vent and ask questions without feeling like they are taking away your time.
I have greatly appreciated any resources shared with me, whether it was graphics that I could use later or ideas for games. Sometimes, the hardest part about ministry is the administrative tasks that keep you from focusing on the really deep stuff. I have tried to share whatever I have been able to with those who need the help. Sermons, games, materials, or organizational documents are all helpful to someone who is just starting off in ministry. I mean, don’t you remember the first time you had to look over your yearly budget? Getting help in these areas are a huge breath of fresh air for anyone starting out.
4. Pray, pray, pray
It was amazing to know that I had a person in my life who was praying for any situation I was in. It’s also a great feeling when the people that I have mentored know they can text me whenever and ask for prayer. It could be about ministry or something personal. Whatever it was, I was intentional about not only praying for whatever they needed, but also checking in afterward to see how they were doing.
If you already doing these things, THANK YOU. You have no idea the impact that you are having on those that you are pouring into. You may be a factor that plays into someone’s decision to stay in ministry or even enter into ministry. Even though it is difficult, people like me are so grateful for you.
Jesus set up the ultimate example for how to mentor or disciple. He first invited the disciples, showed them how to do ministry, did ministry alongside them, and then sent them off. Following that plan is still successful to this day. We were always supposed to be like Jesus in this way and pay it forward to those who are to follow.
So, let’s all follow in Jesus’ ministry and step alongside those who feel as though they are walking this path alone. It’s a hard journey to go through, but with others to help, it’s one that is so worth it.