Time to Stop Talking & Take Action!

Harassed & helpless! Boy, do I know that feeling! I watch the news & read the paper & begin to wonder if there IS any hope. I read the posts on Facebook from other moms, other women & I know I’m not alone. So many women seem frightened, hopeless, helpless. We all begin to wonder if there is ANYTHING we can do to make things better.

Things seem to be getting worse everyday. I get angry and resolved to take action. Unfortunately, I let other things get in my way. I knew God was calling me & instead, I let trivial matter distract me. Not anymore!

I’m not here to discuss political issues or constitutional rights. I believe this goes deeper than any of that. No, I’m want to look at this from my expert perspective. And my area of expertise is Theology. When I was a kid, people said, “Everyone always talks about the weather but no one ever does anything about it!” Well, there isn’t much we can do about the weather. And while many of us TALK about conditions in our nation, our cities, our neighborhoods, there IS something we can do about it.

In the verse above from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus felt compassion for the people because there were lost & afraid “like sheep without a shepherd.” We act like frighten sheep. We run around in a panic. Fortunately, we HAVE a Shepherd. Jesus is watching over us, protecting us whether we realize it or not. So the first thing we can do it put our faith in Him.

The second thing we can do is find strength, hope & comfort in Scripture. When life seems overwhelming, when we are unable to find answers, I know we can ALWAYS find the answers we need in the Bible.

The third thing we can do is PRAY! There is power in prayer. I also believe there is incredible power when WOMEN pray. More important, powerful things happen when women come together to pray. Jesus told us when 2 or more are gathered in my name, I will be there. Oh, He’s always there with us as individuals but when 2 or more of us come together to pray, Jesus is right there with us, praying beside us & personally taking our concerns to His Father.

In light of these three things, I came to the realization there is even more we can do. For a very long time now, I have felt God filling me with a vision. God has been calling me to create a ministry for women. A ministry made up of small groups of women, meeting in homes across the country, sharing faith, studying Scripture, praying, strengthening & supporting one another & having fun! The problem I had was how to do this?

I have dragged my feet long enough. I can’t worry anymore about the right way to begin, the right time to start, the right pice of the puzzle to fall into my lap. I’m just going to begin.

If you look at the top of the page in the menu, you’ll see Sisters of Simple Joy. This is the name I have given to our small group women’s ministry. Beneath that, I am adding information to help you launch your own group. There is no charge for any of this. I have created a workbook for group leaders. Anyway, you can find information at the top.

For now, pray. God is calling a small group of women to be the first small group leaders in this ministry. I’m not naming any names. That’s not for me to decide. I’m not saying anyone should do anything right now. Just pray. If you are one of the women God has chosen, He’ll let you know. All I ask is that you open your heart, mind & spirit to His leading!

And should you decide to join this adventure, let me know. I want to create a network of praying faithful women that uphold & support one another, their families, their communities & our nation.

Hugs & blessings!

Jean Ann

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The 6 No-no’s of Successful Delegation Part 2: Never Ask for Volunteers

In the last post, I wanted you to understand why you shouldn’t do it yourself. You CAN help out but as the leader, your job it to oversee the work being done, offering encouragement & guidance. In this post, I’m going to tell you something you may not believe & then appear to thoroughly contradict myself!

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NEVER ASK for Volunteers

This doesn’t mean you won’t NEED volunteers. However, the least effective way of recruiting help for your group or event is by making a public plea for volunteers.

We’ve all seen it. Sitting in church on Sunday morning when some poor shlub has to stand in front of the congregation to ask for help. Sometimes, they are almost on the knees pleading for someone, anyone to volunteer. Why doesn’t this work?

First, EVERYBODY is busy. They are all sitting there listing the things they have to do that prevent them from helping out.

Second, everybody assumes someone else will do it.

Finally, people like to be asked! The big fundraiser at my church is an event I had led for the last 4 years. When the new women’s ministry was created, I turned the event over to them. I began hearing there were problems within the group & it looked like the fundraiser would be cancelled. You might wonder why I didn’t volunteer to help out. Simple! No one asked me. Now, this isn’t a matter of hurt feelings or being a mean. When no one asked, I assumed they had a different way they wanted to do things. A new group was in charge. I stepped back & let them run it the way they saw fit.

People like to be asked! It shows them you specifically want them to help do a certain task. It shows you feel they have the qualifications to handle the job. It also allows you to overcome any objections they may have. “Yes, everyone is very busy. That’s why we are dividing the event up into smaller parts so no one is overwhelmed by a large time commitment!” Ask them face to face & your level of success increases greatly!

A final note: Henrietta Mears, late director of Christian Education at Hollywood Presbyterian Church & founder of Gospel Light Publishing always advised against a pulpit call for volunteers. She noted this seemed to be the most popular way to recruit Sunday School teachers. Even back when she was running a very large Sunday School that had multiple classrooms for each grade, she never did a pulpit request for teachers. She felt this often attracted the wrong people to the job. Not that you would get terrible people, just people with their own agendas. Often, individuals volunteer to oversee something in an organization because they  believe THEY can run it better. “I know how this should be done & this is my chance to show them how they SHOULD be doing it!” This brings on more headaches than it cures. You may also have situations where people volunteer to help because the volunteering is what gives them the warm fuzzy feeling. Unfortunately, they have no aptitude when it comes to follow through. Determine what needs to be done, the skills needed to do, then ask people qualified to do the job. Putting in time at the beginning saves you time, & pain, later!

How do YOU ask people to help with an event? What problems have you had when you call for volunteers?

Hosting In-home Bible Study Part 1

Hosting an In-home Bible Study Part 1

I enjoy attending & teaching bible studies at my church. However, I enjoy Bible studies that are hosted in a private home even more. The tradition of sharing the Word of God goes back to the first church in Jerusalem, when Christians met in the homes of members. Meeting in homes allowed the group members to worship in a more intimate & relaxed environment, sharing prayer & fellowship in a place that welcomed everyone.

Today, there are many women seeking to draw closer to God that might never attend a Bible study at a church. There are a variety of reasons for this & I am not going to discuss them right now. 🙂 Let’s just accept the fact that an in-home Bible study might be more inviting to some of your friends, neighbors & family.

I know the thought of hosting an in-home Bible study may seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. First, you don’t have to do everything yourself. But, more of that later. for this post, I just want to share the ingredients that go into hosting your Bible study. follow this recipe & you are on your way to having “tasty” event each & every time!

Acts 2:42: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Just like the ingredients in a recipe, it is important to add each of these 5 ingredients to all your Bible studies. Whether it’s your regular study or an open house to introduce potential group members, be sure to add all 5 ingredients to prevent your event from falling flat!

Faith

Your gatherings are faith-based. Begin with prayer, share your lesson, have discussion. Your group lacks strength without faith.

Family

Always remember how important family is to your group members. Show ways the day’s lesson relates to the family.  Renewing women, recharging women, strengthening women helps improve the quality of their family life.

Fellowship

Your gatherings are also a time to share with one another. Discuss events in your lives. Ask about family members. Fellowship allows each of you to draw nearer to one another. Fellowship strengthens faith & make the discussion during Bible study more intimate & powerful.

Food

Everyone relaxes more when they share food. Eating together is another way to become closer as a group. Be sure to have refreshments when you get together.

Fun

What would your group be without fun? Short-lived, I imagine! Faith doesn’t have to be dull. Schedule fun during your gatherings & at other times during the month. Each of you needs to see your gatherings as CELEBRATIONS!

Today’s Featured Digital Book: Accessorize Your Life

Accessorize Your Life

The little black dress is a fabulous addition to your wardrobe. In it, you to fit in with other people in any situation yet its style allows you to express your individuality. Add accessories to the little black dress and you have a difference that makes you stand out.

Being like Jesus is exactly the same. We want to fit in with other people in a variety of situations while still maintaining our individuality. What gives us that difference are 10 accessories, qualities that made Jesus like everyone else but different. What are those accessories and how can you incorporate them into your life?

Accessorize Your Life: Discovering 10 Qualities to Create Life with a Difference helps you develop a selection of the 10 qualities through a 10 lesson Bible study. Each lesson offers a Scripture verse that exemplifies the quality, introduction and questions to help you better understand the quality and incorporate it into your life.

Accessorize Your Life may be done as an individual study or in a group. It contains a Leader Guide to help you set up your own Bible Study group.

Enjoy a positive and powerful difference in your life when you “put on” a selection of accessories with the Christ-like difference. Only $3

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12 Professional Accessories for Successful Speakers

Confident Businesswoman

 

  1. Your Market: Once you have a firm overview of your company, you need to begin to define your customer or, as a speaker, your audience. Too often, the temptation is to speak on subjects that appeal to us. That is all well and good but if there is no audience for our material, then we are speaking for an audience of one. Instead, our goal as speakers is to create a marriage between the needs of our audience and our expertise. We always want to tailor our message to meet the needs of our audience. In order to do this, we must have a thorough an understanding of our audience as we possibly can.
  2. Your Mission: You might wonder why a mission statement is important. Well, your mission statement helps keep you focused. As you add topics and products to sell on your product table, you always want to refer to your mission statement to guide your decisions and keep you on track.
  3. Your Philosophy: Your philosophy takes into consideration what motivates your audience. For you to improve the quality of their lives you need to have a firm idea why they would want to attend your presentations. You want to approach your speaking and business from their perspective. Once you have an idea what they want, you need to show them how your presentations meet their needs. Remember, features tell, benefits sell.
  4. Your Topics: Developing a topic list cam be a daunting task. Unfortunately, most of the stress is caused when we overload our topic list. Be clearly defining your market, determining exactly what information you have to offer that market and then narrowing your niche, you can create a focused topic list that defines your mission, presentations and expertise.
  5. Your Ambitions: You went into business for a reason. Your reason is personal and it should be powerful. Your mission gives you a professional statement that tells the public the purpose of your business. It might motivate you but it is not as personal as your ambition. You want to have a firm idea what your ambition is. What do you want to accomplish? How far do you want to go? How often do you want to speak each month? How far are you willing to travel on business? Do you want to improve your family finances, buy a new car, buy a house? Your ambition is your personal mission that helps you maintain your positive attitude.
  6. Your Goals: While your ambition motivates you, it can be somewhat vague or worse still, far away. Your goals are the tangible steps you take to achieve your ambition. You might have just one ambition but multiple goals to take you to your ambition. You can have goals and then mini-goals, those smaller steps you take every day to move you forward.
  7. Your Business: A professional attitude is a must-have accessory for your success. Some speakers are only interested in a part time job, treating their business like a hobby. There is nothing wrong with that. Some women only want a bit of extra money. You are different. You are a Diva and you want to accomplish more than that. It is necessary for you to run your business like… well, a business. What you do is no less a business than your friend who opened a small store.
  8. Your Attitude: In business, it isn’t always a walk in the park. Things slow down. You struggle to get bookings. Nothing seems to bring you results. Doesn’t matter. You must maintain a positive attitude, an attitude of success. You must always convince yourself that there are opportunities that you have not found. Get busy and find them. Keep moving forward, even a little bit, day by day.
  9. Your Network: It is not who you know but who they know and then who those people know. If you limit your network, you limit the number of people you are able to reach. If you limit your network, you limit the outreach of your message. Your network is a living entity because it is made up of living people. You must nurture it and encourage it to grow. It must be in constant motion or it becomes stagnant and will soon lose its effectiveness. Everything you do when you walk out the door is marketing; everyone you meet is networking. Don’t like networking? Remember your one woman. You cannot reach her, you cannot accomplish your mission without a strong (and growing) network.
  10. Your Support Materials: You have made a decision to become an author/speaker because you have a message you want to share and feel there are women who need to hear it. Marketing is how you let them know who you are, what you do and why you are different from others who do the same thing.
  11. Your Appearance: All of us have days when we just need to run to the store and don’t want to take time to change clothes, put on make-up and fix our hair. All of us need to fight this urge with every fiber of our being. Every time you walk out the door, you have the opportunity to make a connection with a woman who needs to improve the quality of her life. She needs to look at you and know you are someone she wants to know. Better still, she wants to be like you. If she is able to relate to you, she will want to know you better. So, how do you control the urge? Get in the habit of getting ready for work first thing in the morning. When you worked outside the home, you managed to get ready every morning so why should things be different now?
  12. Synergy: Synergy is the theory that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We have all heard this statement made but few use this theory to effectively run their businesses. As an author and speaker, synergy is vital to the effective organization and implementation of your business. It is too easy to have a business made of various separate parts, each trying vainly to operate independently of the other parts. Having a business made up of individual parts working independently of each other is exhausting. Synergy helps you bring all aspects of your business together so they support one another and build one another.

Too is Just Way Too Harsh!

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My darling husband, the infamous Mr. D. coined a phrase a number of years ago. He came up with this expression after observing women over an extended period of time. He believes woman (maybe not all but many of us) suffer from “chick guilt.” He says this affliction cause us to apologize profusely over things, lots of things, many of them out of our control. Someone comments that it’s raining outside & we say, “I’m sorry!” Why? Are we responsible for the rain? We do this apologizing frequently throughout the day. When I speak at conference & retreats, occasions when I spend a significant amount of time with women, I tell them about chick guilt & suggest that, over the course of the event, they listen for other women expressing chick guilt & gently, very gently call them out on it. Believe me, it is an eye opening experience! Before long, women are calling THEMSELVES out on it! But enough of that.

Forget About It!

I bring up chick guilt as an example of how hard women tend to be on themselves. I know men can be hard on themselves but we really tend to beat ourselves up. Over the course of my adult life, I have held jobs where my co-workers were mostly men. In fact, on 2 occasions,  I was the only woman in my workplace. The men I have spent time around do not beat themselves up over things. When they make a mistake, they blow it off & move on. They might apologize but then again they might not. I’m not criticizing, just making an observation. Why, you ask? Good question.

Last Straw

These last few days I have been rather discouraged. One of those situations where a number of things happened all at once, things that, by themselves probably would not have bothered me but occurring all in the span of a few day, well, they brought me down. This led to refection. Not a good thing when you are down. As I considered where I’ve been, where I am & where I want to be, that’s when the gloves came off & I began beating myself up. I tried to get at the heart of my problem but couldn’t… until tonight. That’s when I realized my problem was the word “Too!” I was using it much to often & in all the wrong ways.

Not TOO

“I’m TOO old!”

“It’s TOO late for me!”

And perhaps the very worst one:

“I’m TOO scared!”

TOO!

Oh, there are more TOO statements but you get the idea & I’m not going there! Instead, I’m finding a new TOO!

“I’m TOO experienced to let anything stand in my way!”

“I have TOO much to offer women to stop now!”

“I’m TOO smart to let my fear slow me down!”

Too can be way too harsh but it can also be very uplifting. You must simply decide which too is right for you. If I can do it, you can TOO!