“I have no idea where I should serve—or even if I should. I’m not really talented or gifted.”
Ever heard these words? I have. On more than one occasion. Virtually every woman who utters these words has fallen into the trap of what I call “Paper Plate Perception” – the belief that we’re nothing particularly special.
If believing we have nothing significant to offer sidetracks us from serving Jesus – and it does – then how do we convince women their contribution matters? How do we convince them they matter?
Personally Invite Women to Serve
Most ministries secure volunteers through what I call “The Big Ask.” A Big Ask is big not only because it’s an invitation to a big job, but (and here’s the important part) because it’s an invitation given to the masses, not individuals. Usually it comes in the form of an upfront announcement or appeal in a church bulletin, newsletter or email blast. The big ask is a big mistake; it’s easy to ignore a request that isn’t personal. If we fail to make invitations personal, most people won’t take our invitations personally.
Invite Women to Serve in a Personalized Job
I first started speaking when a wonderful women’s ministry leader gently tapped me on the shoulder and asked me personally to begin teaching the women at my home church every week. In all honesty I was untested, untrained and unsure. But her confidence in what God could do through me gave me confidence in what God could do through me. She invited me into an area of service that tapped into my unique gifting and the results far exceeded anything either she or I could have dreamed.
Paper plates are pretty much all alike; people are not. The world is filled with women who need someone to recognize their unique God-given abilities and breathe spiritual confidence into their souls. Be that someone. God puts the gift in; godly leaders draw the gift out.
Never Forget How Personal Ministry Is
When we’ve served God for years it’s easy to forget that service is scary — especially at first. And because we’re all a bit fragile, we never stop wondering if we’re doing a good job. Most people fear being treated like a paper plate because most people feel like a paper plate. The fear of being used and discarded runs deep.
Encourage the people you lead frequently. Honor those who have served well; even if they’re service has outlasted their usefulness in a particular area.
People are fine china not paper plates. Fine china is easily broken if not handled with care. But if treated well, it leaves a beautiful legacy for those who follow.
BONUS: Leave a comment sharing how you help women to see they have a place in ministry and be entered to win a copy of Donna’s book, SEEK. Winner will be randomly selected from comments left by March 30, 2016.