My neighbor, Lauren, wasn’t meeting very many neighbors at her job giving colonoscopies, so she started a neighborhood newsletter—something she had never done before. In the first issue she wrote an article called “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” that was the catalyst for our first neighborhood watch, block parties, community yard sales and a baby shower.
As a women’s ministry leader, you probably spend a lot of time helping women like Lauren identify their spiritual gifts. Lauren is a helper with the gift of mercy. At church, she takes meals to people and works in the nursery. But at home, where she spends the majority of her time, she applied her spiritual gifts very practically.
Using Spiritual Gifts Inside and Outside the Church Walls
Spiritual gifts are God’s supernatural power working its way through our words, our works, and our walk to take His witness to the world. We don’t have to have a title or position to use our spiritual gifts, and there’s no age restriction. The gifts are not commands, and they are not constant. They work in combination and they increase with exercise. All of our gifts work together inside the church to reach those who are outside.
Administration, discernment, evangelism, leadership, service and teaching are some of the spiritual gifts we find in the Bible (see 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4). We’re often adept at helping women use their gifts inside the church; we can plug her into a team or put her on an assignment faster than you can say “Volunteer Captain.” But it’s also important to help your women take their gifts to the streets.
Releasing Women to Do “Every Day Ministry”
While there are women under your leadership who are content with weekly Bible studies and annual retreats, others long to get their hands dirty every day working the harvest. Releasing them into the fields to use their spiritual gifts can feel risky. We’re used to planning, monitoring and controlling but releasing women to do every day ministry can get messy. This kind of ministry doesn’t have a website or a tag line: it looks more like two neighbors having coffee or co-workers talking about faith on their lunch break.
Jesus told 70 disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. Now go!” (Luke 10:2-3). We and the women in our church and ministries are the workers. As ministry leaders, we are to equip and release them to go. Because when the church leaves the building and roams the city, people encounter Jesus.
We want to hear from you: How do you release women to use their gifts outside the church?
BONUS: Leave a comment and you could win a signed copy of Amy’s new book, How To Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird. Winner will be selected randomly from comments submitted before Wednesday, May 13.