I am a control freak, like many women in ministry. When I began the women's ministry at my sweet church, I tried to do everything on my own, for many reasons. I enjoyed every aspect of ministry, of building something from the ground up. I was wired up with spiritual gifts in leadership, administration, and creative communication. I didn't want to burden anyone. And let's be honest, sometimes one person can get the job done—or get all the jobs done—much faster than explaining it to someone else or waiting for people to get back to you.
So in other words, I was selfish and prideful. In my defense, I was young and thought I was doing people a favor. And God. ("Look at me doing all this for you, Lord! See how much I love you to stay up this late? You're welcome!")
As the years went by and I grew in my leadership, I realized that the way I was doing things not only wasn't working, but wasn't beneficial for me—I'd be burning out very quickly. But my major motivation to make some changes came when I ran across Ephesians 4:11-12: "So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up" (NIV, emphasis mine).
I'd read this before, I'm sure. But one day it hit me between the eyes. My main task as a leader was not to do ministry. This was a shocking revelation to me. My main task as a leader was to equip others to do ministry. Why? So they may be built up. This changed everything for me. This changed how I built my team, what tasks I kept doing, and what I let go of.
I began with baby steps. I had to. It was as if someone had to pry my fingers off the entire ministry. This is my baby! I thought on more than one occasion, completely forgetting that in actuality, it was God's and not mine.
Who Are You and What Do You Want To Do?
I started by bringing my team together and doing a brief spiritual gifts survey, along with talking through their areas of passion. This was humbling to me because it showed me that I didn't know my women as well as I had thought, and I was basically using them to fill in holes. I was, in essence, saying to them, "I don't care that you don't like to use e-mail and you hate cooking; I really need someone to schedule all the hospitality needs for this coming year." When I found out that two-thirds of my ladies didn't have a passion for women, but were instead passionate for children's ministry or prayer or music, I was blown away. But I needed to know this. From this place of truth, I could build a team of women who wanted to be there. And I could steer the others into areas of better fit rather than trying to pigeonhole them as I had been.