Every once in a while we all need a reminder to keep things simple in our ministry. The programming, planning, decorating, and coordinating are all important, but they can overshadow the true purpose of our ministry—to connect women with Jesus. Isn’t that why we’re doing this in the first place?

At the core, each of us (including each woman in your ministry) wants to be known and valued, to feel wanted and worthy. While we know that Jesus is the only answer for these things, as ministry leaders we have the opportunity to be Jesus to those people God puts in our path. And that can be done simply—without a lot of programs, special events, and other things that sometimes distract us from our true purpose.

Maybe it’s time to simplify and ask God to reveal who you need to connect with. Next time you walk into a meeting or event, how about finding the woman who’s sitting alone? You know the one, she’s looking intently at her cell phone so she appears to be busy, but deep down she’s just trying to mask the fact that she’s alone. Or maybe I’ll give a personal phone call to the gal who didn’t show up to Bible study today. Just a quick call to let her know that I noticed she was gone and her smile was missed. Or maybe we could extend an invitation to a newly married gal to grab a cup of coffee or join a young mom on her outing to the park with the kids? These small gestures take our ministry to a completely different level and allow the realness of the Jesus we share from the stage to become tangible to the women we desire to serve.

Sometimes we do the necessary things to put on an inviting and God-honoring program or event, but we miss connecting with the women who need us, you and me, to be Jesus to them. Like the woman who has a story to tell of God’s redemption in her life has tried three other churches, and yet feels like she never quite fits in. Or the woman who was about to walk out on her husband this morning but showed up at your Bible study instead. Maybe it’s a new bride who is struggling in her marriage or the mom who feels overwhelmed with the demands of her children and home.

Getting personal is scary, even for those of us who have done ministry for years. It’s often easier to “do” our job than to be available to those who may just need us to let them know that they matter and that God is able to do more than they can imagine.

We want women to know that no matter where they’re at in their walk with Jesus or in the chaos of their life, we’re there to support them. Our ministry is about helping women experience the blessing of knowing and walking with Jesus and being part of God’s family.

So how about it? Let’s commit to not getting so busy studying, planning, preparing, cooking, decorating, or presenting that we get distracted from the one-on-one, belly-to-belly ministry that we as woman desire. Let’s keep it simple. Let’s love, individually, the women God places in our paths and watch him fill the places of longing and bring hope to his daughters.

Tamara Collins is a writer, speaker, wife, and mother to 5 children. She lives with her crazy family in Arizona. Tamara fills her days loving on her family and the women around her and at any given point can be found dancing in her kitchen (much to the dismay of her children).