“A woman’s relationship with time isn’t determined by what she does or how she is able to accomplish it. Rather it’s determined by how she feels about what she does.”
Carolyn Castleberry, It’s About Time
We all know how busy women are. Each one of us is bombarded with options of how to spend our time daily. Our calendars are so full, blank spaces are obsolete. This applies not only to the women we lead, but to each of us as leaders. Maximizing options is key in the current climate of life.
Coming up with meetings that are attractive enough to commandeer any black space is daunting. More difficult still is planning something that will erase a previous engagement. Women don’t want to “white-out” tasks or plans, unless it’s checking something off their virtual to-do list. There is satisfaction in accomplishing a goal from those lists and many times, women’s events are missing. Yet, the need for connection is paramount. All of this generates tremendous pressure on women’s ministry leaders to maximize their planning.
However, the goal of any gathering of women is an encounter with Jesus. As leaders, this requires us to surrender the spaces to Him. Over the past 30 years in ministry, I have learned a few things regarding event planning and surrendered spaces:
Put the women before the work! How many times have you attended a women’s gathering and it becomes evident very quickly that substance is lacking? If you have experienced this, then it’s guaranteed the women you serve have, as well. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the planning and lose the people. Vision can become the obstacle to the voice of God. It’s important, and all teams need vision, but it must not become a speedbump. Women want a genuine authentic encounter with God, and this is what they will set aside time for.
Simplicity is the solution for a leader’s own self-destruction. Women don’t want to be impressed or entertained. That’s what Netflix is for. Keeping that ultimate result mentioned above in the forefront of any meeting helps keep over-planning from taking control. What is it you want women to leave your event with? Is there a specific message you want them to hear? What’s the takeaway? Figure that out, and work backwards from there. The presence of the Lord is the priority; it transcends performance and perception. Keep this surrendered to the Lord and the lovely and simple space you provide will NOT be your undoing, but rather life-giving. That precious, somewhat haggard toddler momma just wants to be with others like her and to hear Jesus whispering in her ear above all the noise around her.
Our role is to facilitate the space and allow the Lord to create the results. We merely provide the environment where the Lord can encounter the individual. That surrendered space is what changes them forever, not our theme or menu! When we make His presence the priority, He holds the results in His hands and distributes them where He sees the need. This can only happen in surrendered space. If just a few women show up, you can be sure Jesus shows up. It isn’t how well we do something or how others view our work. It’s about how well Jesus is seen in our work. In other words, unless the Lord is present, it’s pointless. Surrender the space and watch Him work!
It isn’t how well we do something or how others view our work. It’s about how well Jesus is seen in our work.
To be clear, I am not saying that proper planning executed well gets tossed out. There are vital tools that must be implemented to make any gathering a success. I am reminded of one of my favorite verses, Colossians 1:16-17, “for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (NASB) When we surrender all these planning spaces to the Lord, we find our own spaces surrendered, allowing those who enter our events to surrender as well.
Surrendered Spaces is Entry Four of June's microblog series on ministry to women entitled Serving Sisterhood. Come back each Wednesday to read from a new guest blogger about this crucial and timely topic. Click here to catch up on the first few entries to the series.
Kelli Best and her husband, Bill, have been in full time ministry for over 30 years, currently serving at Freedom Christian, Sterling Heights, MI. They have two married daughters. Kelli, an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God, has spent much of their ministry encouraging others through speaking and writing. She loves anything to do with food from cooking to eating--and coffee is a next level enjoyment. Follow her blog at Kellibest.com or contact her at Kbest@freedomchristian.org