As a young wife new to ministry and to life in New England, I was as green as the stalks of corn ripening back home in my family’s Illinois fields. I felt ill-prepared for life in the parsonage. Titus 2:3-5 instructs older women to teach younger ones. Where was the one who would “Titus” me?
Knowing the by design ministries’ mission “to develop women who are servant leaders for the equipping of God’s church and the enlarging of His Kingdom” was freeing, as I wasn’t being recruited for something new but being fed, encouraged, and equipped to go back to my home church and serve where God had called me.
In a quick Google search, you can easily find multiple studies that speak of the loneliness and isolation that can come along with being in ministry leadership. Leaders are often overextended, lacking in support staff, and so focused on serving others that they can forget to actually jump into the communities they are bringing together. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I know that, for myself, the first things to go when I am stressed or busy are spending time with God and quality fellowship with others.
No man is an island, but it’s possible that in ministry we might feel like we’re isolated on one sometimes. The New England reality we all know is that our churches and ministries are typically not very large. The role that you are serving in most likely has some element of solitariness to it. Especially in the particular responsibilities you carry. Especially in leadership.
Women in leadership in ministry and beyond tend to be at a crossroads of expectations. They are often expected to be both meek and strong, in charge but not bossy, compassionate but not too emotional, in control but not heavy-handed, etc. This can create pressure to be perfect, to put on a facade, or to be “on” all the time. This becomes exhausting.
This year’s Summer Sampler Series answers the question “What does by design do?” Each post will address an aspect of our ministry, as told by women who have been positively impacted. We hope that their stories encourage you and inspire … Continued
by Kristi Stoughton I hear the same thing every time I speak at a retreat or conference. The exact words may vary by circumstance, but the heart cry is the same … “My daughter stopped going to church when she … Continued