A Note from Mary Margaret West: I love today’s topic so much. There’s something incredible about seeing girls step into leadership that makes it worth all of the hard conversations and bumps along the way. It’s really easy to look at girls and call them “bossy” more quickly than “leader” but we’d be wise to lean into their gifting and encourage them to lead well.
One of the most rewarding parts of leading girls is when you realize that they are becoming leaders themselves. As a girls minister, there’s nothing I love more than realizing that my girls are joining me in ministering to their peers! This can look like girls leading Bible studies in their homes or schools, taking the initiative to disciple girls who are younger than them, or even sharing the gospel with their lost friends. Seeing your girls grow confident in their own relationship with Christ and their ability to lead can truly make your heart swell with thankfulness and joy when you’ve invested so much into their spiritual growth.
Inversely, seeing your girls flounder to find their leadership strengths and ministry giftings can be discouraging and challenging when you are longing and waiting for them to step into who God created them to be. Especially, when you feel as though you’ve been waiting, investing, and pouring your heart out for a long time with little to no change. So while there is no perfect formula to magically turn all of your girls into the leaders that they have the potential to be, there are a few steps we can take as ministers to encourage our girls and challenge them along the way.
- Model Leadership. This one is easy and it’s probably one that you’re already doing. Never underestimate how much the girls in your ministry look up to you and watch every move you make! Even if you’re feeling discouraged, remember that your girls have a great example of leadership right in front of them and whether or not they follow your example now or later, the things you are modeling for them in this season will certainly have a lasting impact on their lives. In the New Testament, Paul tells the church in Corinth to “follow me as I follow Christ” and I often think about that in the context of girls ministry. We should be following Christ in such a way that as our girls follow us they are also following Christ!
- Teach Leadership. Not only should we be modeling leadership for our girls, we should be teaching it to them as well! Help your girls understand key leadership principles by having a girls leadership seminar or take them through a Bible study on biblical leadership. (In fact, this one could be for guys and girls in your student ministry!) Bring in some community leaders from your church congregation and ask them to teach on leadership principles that are applicable to students. You could even take your girls to Student Leadership University! Ultimately, don’t just expect your girls to know how to lead without helping them learn first.
- Practice Leadership. This last one may be the hardest because it requires creating opportunities for your girls to practice their leadership skills. This might look like having them plan and execute a girls night (with a little help from you) or take the reins on Wednesday night programming for a month. In fact, you could even start a Girls Leadership Team and give them regular responsibilities within your girls ministry like reaching out to first time guests or helping you set up for events. Be creative and brainstorm ways that you can challenge your girls to practice their leadership skills. While it may mean a little more work for you at first, it will be totally worth it in the end!
In the end, it takes a good leader to lead young leaders so make sure you’re investing in your own leadership skills! Grab a new leadership book or sit down with a leader you admire and ask her questions. All of us have room to grow as leaders, no matter how long we’ve been leading.
- Student Leadership University
- Youth Pastor Summit
- Show Her the Way: Your Guide to Discipling Teen Girls
Taylor Cage is a newlywed living in Tulsa, Oklahoma serving students alongside her husband, Baron. After college, she spent three years as a Girls Minister and she’s passionate about building gospel centered community among women of all ages. She’s an avid reader, writer, and caffeine consumer. You can catch her telling cheesy jokes and taking long walks down the aisles at Target. Connect with Taylor: Instagram