Welcome to the Leader Connection!

 

As women who lead and serve other women, we want to come alongside and encourage you with the Leader Connection. During the recent True Woman '14 Leadership Pre-Event, Nancy challenged leaders by examining the life, labor, and love of the servant of the Lord. In case you missed it or want to hear it again, click here to listen to the message. You can also read a recap of her teaching from 1 Thessalonians 2.

May God bless you as you seek to serve Him!
The Women's Ministry Leader Team

Portrait of an Effective Servant: 12 Ministry Characteristics

1 Thessalonians 2

  1. We are family (vv. 7,11).

    Our blood bond in Christ means each woman represents more than a name. It's our responsibility and privilege to minister, care for, and serve these women just as a parent relates to a child.

  2. Opposition is expected (vv. 1–2).

    Don't be surprised by it! Ministry will never be trouble free. Suffering is part and parcel of our calling. Effective servants don't throw in the towel when ministry gets hard. They keep proclaiming the gospel.

  3. Motive matters (vv. 3–6).

    We minister for an audience of One. There's no place for self-serving, ulterior motives. Our goal isn't to impress others, to tell women what they want to hear, or to gain more Facebook "likes." God knows and tests our motives. Are we serving to take or to give?

  4. God—not man—is feared (v. 4).

    Fear of man brings a snare (Prov. 29:25). If human praise unduly inflates you, the criticism of others will devastate you. Live for the praise of God, not for the praise of men. It's impossible to please all the people who have ideas about how things should be done.

  5. A mother's heart prevails (vv. 7–8).

    As a mother cares for her own children, so should we relate to those we lead. The sense of responsibility is twenty-four hours a day. This calling requires sacrifice and selflessness. Like children are demanding and needy, so are the people we serve! Pray to have a spirit of gentleness and affection, that others become "very dear" to our hearts.

  6. Life is given like Jesus (v. 8).

    Give the gospel and give yourself! It's not enough to provide solid curriculum, studies, or helpful programs. Ministry is life to life. This means spending time together in the laboratory of life carrying women's burdens, not solely speaking from behind a podium.

  7. Defined by hard work (v. 9).

    Ministry is long hours, often while others are taking life easy. Don't shrink back from hard labor or resent it; it's part of the price to be paid as an ambassador of Christ. In the midst of these demands, we're equally responsible to not neglect daily responsibilities on the home front.

    Ministry is . . .

    • giving when you feel like keeping
    • praying for others when you need to be prayed for
    • feeding others when your own soul is hungry
    • living truth before people even when you can't see results
    • hurting with other people even when your own hurt can't be spoken
    • keeping your word even when it is not convenient
    • being faithful when your flesh wants to run away

               —Author Unknown

  8. The goal remains in sight (v. 9).

    The objective isn't to run a program, entertain women, fill their notebooks, or give them a social outlet; the objective is to proclaim the gospel The gospel will transform women into the likeness of Jesus and produce faithful, fruitful followers of Christ who live and serve in community with others. Spiritual reproduction is present in effective ministry.

  9. Life begets life (v. 10).

    People are watching. They not only hear what we say, they see how we live. Our behavior and attitudes count. The truth is God also sees. He sees what others can't see in the privacy of our homes. Earlier in 1 Thessalonians, Paul wrote, "You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord" (1:5–6). Can people "see" in you what they have "heard" from you?

    In ministry, a life message is essential. "Everyone when he has been fully trained will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40). Like Jesus, influential leaders will be a consistent example of holiness.

  10. Tailored to needs (vv. 11–12).

    As leaders, we need to deal with women as individuals and be attentive to their unique needs. There are times to exhort, times to encourage, and times to charge. Ask God for wisdom to discern the balance of grace and truth each one needs to hear. The objective is that each person would "walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory" throughout all aspects of life. Give women a vision for His ultimate purpose in their lives.

  11. The Word is given (v. 13).

    Those we lead need God's powerful Word, not ours. Our word may be able to inform minds or reform behavior, but it's His Word that transforms hearts from the inside out. There exists a crisis today among Christians who are not submitting to the authority of Scripture. Pray that Satan won't hinder the Word and that when women receive the truth, they will be submitted to it.

  12. Relationship is foremost (vv. 17–18).

    Ministry is about being with people. It is meant to be face to face. Even when you cannot be up close and personal, hold women near to your heart while you minister through the various means available (Facebook, email, Twitter, etc.).

Nancy concluded by asking, "So what kind of reward can we expect? What will we get out of this investment? Is it worth all the time, effort, energy, tears, toil, disappointment?" The answer resounds in the final verses of 1 Thessalonians 2:

For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy (vv. 19–20).

The people whose lives have been touched and transformed bring leaders joy. Yet the full measure will not be experienced until Christ returns. Keeping our eyes on the hope of Christ will protect us from distraction, discouragement, and wrong priorities.

A final exhortation to effective servants—be faithful!

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About the Author

Leslie Bennett

Leslie Bennett

Leslie Bennett served as a Director of Women’s Ministries for a dozen years prior to joining Revive Our Hearts in Women’s Ministry Initiatives. She is also the content manager of the Revive Our Hearts' Leader Connection blog and editor of two ebooks: Women’s Ministry Leader Survival Guide and 10 Truths to Set Leaders Free.

The Lord captured Leslie’s heart for biblical womanhood and revival at the national True Woman conference in 2008. Since then, she’s been spreading the message of how a woman’s femininity adorns the gospel wherever God sends her. Spend a few moments with Leslie, and you’ll catch her passion for the Word, prayer, revival and discipleship. She and her husband Mac live in the S.C. Lowcountry where she loves drinking sweet tea and encouraging women to treasure Christ above all.

Contact Leslie at LBennett@ReviveOurHearts.com