Women in Ministry: Managing our Ministry, Career, and Family Lives

Part Three of Three

In previous posts in this series, we have examined the stressful side of women being involved in ministry. Prevalent in this discussion is the fact that, despite stress and juggling multiple ventures, they are capable contributors when involved and engaged. The skill set required to be “everything to everybody” is certainly in place, but for most women, a plan of checks and balances for their own well-being needs to be in place as well.

So why do we get involved so deeply and in so many different areas of life, from the kids’ soccer team and the local hospital volunteer corps, to event planning for work, and ministry work in church? “We get involved because we are born nurturers,” says Krista Kerin, Ministry Development Consultant with The Church Online. In fact, as wives, mothers, daughters, and friends, we are already well-versed in child-rearing, taking care of the household, caring for aging parents, and lending that capable and firm—yet reassuring—touch in everything we do. Naturally, it would follow that when those we love or respect need us, we are there.

Notoriously multi-taskers, women easily fall into adding more to their daily tasks. After all, when we were working and decided to have children, for example, we took on both roles with relish because we had to. After a short break when children were born, women resumed their regular roles as businesswomen, stay-at-home mothers running the household, or church leaders heavily involved in ministry work—all with the children in tow. We exercise, eat, clean, work, and play, all with our families foremost in our minds and our children right next to us.

To the pessimists who say that women take on additional stress when they add to their daily initiatives, the optimists are there to point out that adding church work to their lives is a positive choice. Keeping children close while dealing with work is also an admirable thing. Further, nurturing their own interests is never a bad thing. Thus, it is healthy to get out and find a ministry that reflects a passion or a talent. And it’s fine to incorporate any volunteering for your kids—dance recitals, sports and arts camps, classroom parties, and so on—into these full schedules.

As women and known people-pleasers, we need to be more cognizant of how we do it, however. We need to learn to assess what we have time for, how much we can contribute, and frequently gauge how we are feeling. It is okay to say “no” now and then. We can’t bring the cupcakes for every class party, and we can’t be the one who does every presentation at work. Nor can we be the best of ourselves in ministry work if we are too stressed out to contribute or to care. Again, a simple scan of the week can tell us if we are able to lend a hand to our extracurricular activities each week. What can I handle this week? What do I want to do today? Or, how much is too much this month? Women are capable of so much; time management needs to become one of those top priorities.

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