We don’t know when family emergencies, health crises, and unexpected life curves will rattle our leadership team, so it’s vital to keep a running list of potential leaders who can step up as needed. Praying for clarity, wisdom, discernment, and God’s help in identifying potential leaders is a great place to start! God answers prayers!
In addition to prayer, here’s a short list of attributes to watch for when considering potential leaders for your team or as you look for women in your organization who can help with projects and events, be prayer partners, or much-needed mentors.
- A passionate relationship with God. This is a non-negotiable. Leaders can be taught powerful leadership principles and provided opportunities to sharpen their skills, but a strong and passionate relationship with Jesus is up to the individual. If there’s a lack of passion, awe, and gratitude for God’s goodness in a woman’s heart or if she isn’t sure where she stands with God, it will negatively impact the unity and effectiveness of any ministry-centered team. A woman with an immature understanding of God’s character, faith, or grace is not a good fit for a leadership team despite how many other great attributes she has. If she’s eager to be part of the team, affirm her desire and give her ownership of projects, tasks, and responsibilities while providing opportunities for her to grow in her faith. Watch for maturity and fruit and ask her to lead as the Lord guides you.
- A servant’s heart. Women who are willing to serve others joyously, give humbly, and praise others openly are a tremendous asset! Those who love to serve behind the scenes often struggle to see themselves as “leadership material,” however, they often bring fresh perspective, address logistical concerns, offer solutions, and are a shining example of servant leadership. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10)
- Connects easily with others. Not every woman will connect well with every personality type so it’s advantageous to have a variety of connectors within a leadership team. For example, extroverted women are easy to engage with, energetic, and are amazing team cheerleaders! These women can easily rally help and will naturally influence the participation of others within the organization. Their introverted counterparts connect with others in more subtle, warm, and endearing ways and are hard workers and detail-oriented! Having both types of connectors on a team provides balance and a refreshing diversity in perspectives.
- A humble spirit. Humility and an eagerness to learn keeps a team well-grounded and focused on God. Listening to each other’s ideas, asking good questions, offering suggestions, and a willingness to partner on projects are just a few attributes of humble leaders. Beware of pride—it is the enemy of ministry and will quickly cause disunity and strife. Ministry is about bringing glory to God by serving others—not attaining a title, position, or respect. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
- Discretion. Ministry is heavily loaded with sensitive situations that require high levels of discretion. The goal of every ministry leader is to guide others to God for redemption, forgiveness, healing, and growth. This can be a long roller coaster ride of ups and downs requiring endurance, patience, and guarding the reputations of all those involved. If a potential leader seems to know lots of intimate details about others and doesn’t hesitate to share (aka gossip), this is a sign of indiscretion. You may need to take her out for coffee and graciously address your concern. This is not only loving and biblical, but it will help strengthen all her relationships! “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)
After identifying potential leaders, provide them with a variety of opportunities to serve. As they serve and your relationship with them deepens, try to discover what aspects about serving or ministry interests them, where they are most gifted, and how receptive they are to positive feedback. If they’re a good fit for your team or for serving in the future, great! Then follow the Lord’s leading, evaluate the needs within your team, and wait for the right timing.
Melinda Adair serves as the ladies’ ministry team leader at Kennewick Baptist Church in Washington and assists her husband, Cliff, in the youth department. She homeschools two of her three sons, blogs, and loves networking with other leaders.