As a women’s ministry leader, you have big dreams. You want your ministry to grow. You want to host wonderful meetings and events. Most of all, you want to touch the women in your care with the love of Christ.

We all have great intentions, but sometimes we clutter up our minds and hearts with “I should…” and “I’ve got to remember…” thoughts. I call these kinds of thoughts, and the anxiety that comes with them, spiritual clutter. Blessedly, you can prayerfully clear out that spiritual clutter with a little organization.

Certainly you don’t have to be an “organized person” to have a wonderful ministry for women! But no matter how structured or unstructured you are, in your life or your ministry efforts, you can use a little organization to help you feel more on top of things. You’ll know that you’re doing your best to accomplish that which God has called you to undertake in your ministry.

Proverbs 14:8 tells us that “the wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways.” To be a prudent leader, take the time to do some big-picture planning and give some thought to your ways. Once you have a plan, you can use organization to accomplish your dreams for your ministry! Here’s how to get started:

1.List the spiritual clutter in your mind and heart that pertains to your ministry. Take a week or so to really listen to your thoughts and feelings about the work the Lord has given you. What plans and dreams do you have for your ministry? What’s bothering you about how things are going? Write down all of your thoughts about your ministry as they occur to you, from your worries to your great ideas. Just unload it all on paper.

2. Set aside a prayerful time to change those written thoughts and feelings into goals. How can you turn your ideas into specific and manageable goals? How can you realistically tackle those worries? Write a goal list that covers ministry growth, events, service opportunities, and ways to love the women you’re leading.

3. Pray through your list and ask God to weigh in. Some of the worries you have about your ministry may not be yours to hold, so you’ll just need to lift them up to the Lord. Some of your goals may not be in God’s plan for your ministry…at least not yet. Try praying over these tough questions:

  • Is God setting me up for success here by opening doors and bringing me resources, or is this an area in which I haven’t felt the Holy Spirit moving?
  • Is this goal something that will make my ministry look good, or will it really serve the women of my group?
  • Is now the time for this, or does it need to wait for later?
  • Am I dreaming big enough here? Or is God calling me to step out in faith and reach for something more?

4. Get started! Write down the first step toward each of your goals. Don’t write down the whole goal; how would you ever cross it off at the end of the day? Instead, write down one specific thing you can do today to get the ball rolling.

For example, perhaps you’ve noticed some young moms in your ministry feeling isolated from other people and distant from the Lord. One possible goal is to start a new Bible study for young moms. But if you write, “Start that Bible study” on your to-do list, the task may overwhelm you.

Instead, you could start by writing, “Search online for moms’ ministry ideas” on your to-do list. Once you’ve done that, cross it off—isn’t that a great feeling?—but don’t stop there! Instead, write the next step: maybe “contact Anna about leading” or “request funding for the curriculum.” Keep taking the next step and the next until your goal becomes a reality.

You want to touch the women you’re so faithfully serving with the love of Christ. You want your ministry to grow and to further God’s kingdom here on earth. You want to dream God’s dreams for your ministry…so let God help you do it. Give thought to your ways by prayerfully considering your ministry goals. Then start taking those first steps toward them with Jesus right alongside you!

Shannon Upton is a Christian speaker and the author of Organizing You: Finding Your Spiritual Clutter and Using Organization to Clear It Out. You can find out more about her ministry at OrganizingJesusMoms.com.