[In an interview with Dawn Stephens, we asked what exhortation she would give to women working in the context of the local church.  Here are the five things she shared with us.]

#1: Share the stories of the older women in your church.  

These are your greatest resource after the Holy Spirit and the word of God. know the stories, use the stories, highlight what God has done in women’s lives in your church.

Tweet this: The stories in your church are your greatest resource after the Holy Spirt and the word of God #vergewomen

Find a way to chronicle the stories of your women. Have your younger women that love to write and blog do some blog posts. Especially for women 70 and up who are of the generation that, you just didn’t tell your story; you didn’t talk about it. But they’ve walked through the fire, and our younger women need to hear about it. Because as my mom used to say, “there’s not much new under the sun.”

We walk in the same sin, the same experiences. And if a younger woman comes to you struggling, if you know an older woman’s story, you can match them together, because the older woman has been there. But you won’t be able to match women unless you know their story.

#2: Repeat what works.  

If something works feel free to repeat it. Don’t feel like you’ve got to come up with something new all the time. Don’t feel like you need to recreate the wheel.

For instance, we did a women’s gathering in June on journaling scripture. So, I’ll do that again in the same format because there were 180 women there, but there were a lot more that didn’t get to come. And every woman that came said, “I loved that. I was given a very simple tool as to how I can take scripture and journal it, and God can talk to me.” So, feel free to repeat what works.

#3: Align with what the big picture of your church.  

After the sermon series we are in now, we’ll do a women’s gathering we’ll call “BH Women Rewind”, where we rewind the sermon series, and just talk about it. We’ll just have some guided discussion basically around tables led by older women. We did that last November, on Thanksgiving. We had about 150 women, and they talked for an hour and a half. No one even hardly got up to go to the restroom. We had cookies and cider and that was it. It was an inexpensive event. They came because they wanted to talk about the sermon, which was very encouraging and exciting, so we’ll definitely be doing that again.

#4: Be a self feeder and a self teacher. 

Read. Read, read, read. We have access to so much information, there really is no excuse. If you do not know a lot about a particular aspect required of you, look into it. There are resources out there.

#5: Know your resources.

You need to know your counselors and your resources in your community for crisis intervention.  You need to know shelters, food pantries, clothing pantries, the counselors in your community recommended by those in your church, how to help a person in crisis, and how to help your leaders help women in a crisis.

Is there is a certain pastor or counselor on staff in your church? Is there a counseling center in your community where women can go when a crisis is beyond your realm of expertise? I don’t want anyone blindsided, and it can blindside you. There will be women in crisis in your groups, and I want women resourced as much as they possibly can.