Last month we explored how to make transitions in or out of your community and your women’s ministry easier and less bumpy. But sometimes you will find yourself in a time of transition in years in which you don’t move. Here are some tips for those times.
You held a leadership role in the past, but this year you aren’t part of the leadership team.
- Reframe your role to that of a mentor. Helpful, encouraging mentors are a valuable asset for any women’s ministry team!
- Leave the new team with complete after-action documents and a thorough transition period to help them succeed. Give time for the outgoing leaders to work with the incoming leaders to share information, answer questions, and offer support.
- Know when it is time to step back. After a thorough transition, be ready to pull back and let the new team do their thing. They may not do things the way you would have done, but they need time and space to find their own way of doing things.
- Practice redirection! If you were in a very visible leadership role, people may still come to you with questions, comments, or concerns. Help empower the new team by redirecting these inquiries to the new leaders.
- Above all, be a cheerleader for the new team. Keep the thoughts of what you would do differently to yourself and commit yourself to encouraging and building up the new leaders!
You have a new chaplain with new ideas about women’s ministry.
- Be open. New ideas aren’t automatically bad ideas so be open to what your new chaplain is recommending. Make time and space for this open dialog by scheduling a time(s) for your women’s ministry leadership to visit with the new chaplain.
- Respect his role. The women’s ministry programs in our chapel communities exist at the discretion of our chaplains, who have the ultimate authority over them. Respect that your chaplain (or your installation chaplain) sets the priorities for programs and funding, and that your group will have to operate within those parameters.
- Find common ground. Remember the first priority of our chaplains is to see that service members and their families have access to the sacraments. How can your ministry assist with that? Finding this common ground will allow you to work closely with your chaplain to achieve his priorities while giving him the opportunity to get to know your group.
- Be positive. Change can be hard for your group. Set the example of a positive attitude in the face of a new direction. This positive attitude will do more for your group and your chapel community than you can know.
Looking for more tips and resources to help you start, grow, or lead your women’s ministry? Check out the Think Local Sourcebook at www.mccw.org for a complete guide!