MENTORING FOR WOMEN IN MINISTRY by Linda Wallace
I have a real passion for mentoring and happen to believe it is crucial in developing women with a heart for God. There are some good one-on-one mentoring programs based on Titus, such as Apples of Gold (Cook Communications) and Woman to Woman (Lifeway). While these programs are geared toward helping women become better Christian disciples, wives, and mothers, there is a real need for mentoring women who are functioning in a leadership role in the church.
One question that has always bothered me when it comes to mentoring women who have chosen to become women’s ministers or children’s ministers or even youth ministers, is who mentors the minister? Who helps her develop the skills she needs to navigate safely in a leadership role? Who teaches her how to communicate effectively with a mostly male leadership staff? Who helps her feel validated in her ministry when the male youth minister and senior minister go to the area “minister’s meeting” and she is left behind?
These questions have no easy answers. There is no central “go to” place or person that provides all of these resources. Many times a woman is left to flounder without direction, until she either “figures it out” or she becomes discouraged and finally quits because she hasn’t been given the proper resources to be successful.
I did a 75-page research paper on this topic for my master’s degree, and unfortunately, realized that there is very little leadership mentoring happening with women’s ministers. Many women’s ministers are only part-time, and many of those who work at the job 40 hours or more a week do so as a volunteer. While this speaks highly of their dedication and commitment to their ministry with women, we need to start recognizing the crucial role of a women’s minister.
If you want to read further about my research on this issue, I would be happy to send you an abbreviated copy of my research paper as a pdf file. Due to the focus of the paper, this only deals with women’s ministers, but the same issues arise with any woman in a leadership role.
One of the roles of Christian Women’s Resource Network is to connect women in leadership with each other. Through our programs, women are given an opportunity to not only learn new skills, but to connect with one another and build relationships. Whether they have a title or not, we have many women in leadership in the church. It may be organizing the nursery, leading the volunteer cleaning crews, a “director” or a “minister.”
It is important that they have mentors to help them learn how to navigate through their roles successfully. A well-placed mentor can help provide guidance, counsel, and teaching to anyone. At CWRN our goal is to help provide a place where mentoring can happen.
Published by Pleasant Word (a division of WinePress Group).
Ann Griffiths and Donna Inglis have achieved an easy-to-read, practical guide to mentoring. Women’s ministry leaders everywhere can benefit from this book. It covers topics from why we need to mentor, how to select a mentor, the process of mentoring, and the benefits and perils of mentoring. I did my final research paper from my master’s on mentoring and wish this book had been available for my research!