Are you a woman who leads? Maybe you don’t see yourself as a leader, but God has you leading someone right where you are. Maybe it’s your kids, your friends, or the teenager next door. Maybe it’s a Women’s Ministry, a team at work, or a small group. This series—led by our women’s ministry specialist, Kelly King—will help you no matter where you lead, and whether you’re leading one or one thousand.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV) has become the verse epitomizing all things regarding “seasons” of life. The familiar words, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven,” are ones I often use to describe the various rhythms of my own life. Whether it’s the celebration of a birth, the grief of a death, a time of sorrow, or a time of laughter, women experience various seasons and experiences in life.
If you are leading women, you know that no two women are experiencing the exact same journey in their spiritual lives as well as their circumstances. Yet, a competent leader should recognize various seasons and transitions within her sphere of influence. A strategic leader not only recognizes life transitions, but seeks to minister to women within their contexts.
While it would be impossible for me to address every season of life, there are some general transitions in life that leaders should consider. And even though we often encourage women to connect generations and develop relationships across the transitions in life, the simple reality is you probably won’t reach everyone—at least not all of them all the time. And that’s not a bad thing. There are times when you should consider reaching women specifically in one season of life because each season has different needs.
So, what are some different seasons, and how can you effectively lead women who are in those seasons? While this list isn’t exhaustive, here are some life transitions to consider:
- Young single women. Many of these women are exploring their first “big girl” jobs, living on their own, and learning how to “adult.” If you are ministering to this group, consider opportunities for them to gather in groups, how you are offering mentoring relationships, and challenging them to grow deeper in love with the Lord. Build strong communities where they have opportunities to serve and connect with like-minded believers. They may not see themselves as part of your “women’s ministry,” so invite them to help in leadership and give them a voice.
- Moms of young children. This is such a physically exhausting season for women who are learning how to juggle schedules, figuring out how to balance work and home, and keeping their marriages strong. Develop opportunities for young moms to connect with playgroups, offer childcare so date nights are possible, and encourage them to find creative ways to spend time with the Lord. Seek opportunities to connect them with women who are in the next season of life so they have godly role models. Many of them may not have their physical mothers close by, but providing spiritual moms is crucial.
- Moms of teens and young adult children. The sleepless nights of getting up with a toddler may be over, but the sleepless nights of worry and anxiety may be settling in for moms of teens who are juggling children’s activities while giving up some control—whether that’s in new friendships or the freedom to drive. Leading this group is challenging because time may be limited, yet encourage them to be role models for their teens. Find ways for them to engage with their teens by suggesting they lead a teen small group in their home or host a church student ministry event. Develop prayer groups where other moms can pray for one another.
- The woman sandwiched between children and aging parents. This can be a difficult season for women who feel pulled in several directions. Look for opportunities, such as an out-of-town event, where she can pull away and experience some alone time with the Lord. She may not feel this is possible, but make it easy for her to attend and experience a new season of being refreshed. Women in this season may need practical advice on caring for elderly parents or friends who will help them with the grief of dealing with a parent’s illness or death.
- Women working in the marketplace. In the ministry world, there’s a tendency to focus on stay-at-home moms, yet the majority of women in most churches are working outside of the home. Whether they are single, married, or with or without children, how are you reaching women who work? Do you offer Bible studies where there is minimal homework or allow them to serve on committees where their work experience and gifts are needed? Do you equip them to share the gospel at work and see their vocation not just as a job but also as a specific calling in our lost world?
- Senior adult women. I won’t place an age on this demographic, but there is a wide range of opportunities for women in this stage of life. Encourage them to invest in younger women, yet know that they may not want a strict commitment that prohibits them from traveling or enjoying time with extended family. Those on the older end of the spectrum need opportunities during the day if they are cautious about driving in the evening. Some of them will be widowed and have practical needs that other women or men can help with. Some may experience loneliness, so offer various opportunities for community and friendship.
Seasons represent various ages or stages of life, yet the Lord can use every woman. No matter what season you might be in, maybe the Lord is calling you to a new season of ministry leadership. Be reminded of these words from the writer of Ecclesiastes, “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts. (Eccl. 3:11a)
Are you ready to lead well? Sign up for the ministry to women newsletter to get monthly content specifically for leaders here. Get training at events like YOU Lead around the country and Women’s Leadership Forum this November in Nashville, TN.
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for Lifeway Women. She and her husband, Vic, have been married for more than 28 years and have enjoyed serving together in ministry both teaching in student ministry for 25 years and teaching young married adults. They have two young adult children, Conner and Courtney, and a son-in-law, Gaige. They enjoy kayaking, having people in their home, and cheering for the Oklahoma City Thunder. A good day includes mocha lattes, Mexican food, and shopping for bargains.
Want to read more from Kelly? You can purchase her new book, Ministry to Women, here!