How to Care for Your Women’s Worker in Lockdown
As remote working and lockdown looks to continue, how can we ensure the women’s workers in our churches are supported and cared for?
Back in July, one of the Leadership in Lockdown webinars explored how to care for and support women in our churches. They particularly looked at the challenges, pressures, benefits, and opportunities for ministry wives and women’s workers. If you haven’t watched it, it is well worth your time.
Three months on, with working from home and local lockdowns looking more likely to last even longer, how do we continue to care for women’s workers in our churches?
Three pressures for women’s workers
One of the biggest pressures of lockdown and the changes to ministry life has been the potential for isolation and a lack of face-to-face interaction with others.
This can be especially true if, as a women’s worker, you haven’t worked from home very much before. The informal catch-up over coffee or being able to pop into a colleagues’ office to ask a quick question are hugely missed. Contact needs to be intentional and planned in advance. This can make relationships seem more formal.
For me, having regular contact with my pastor and the rest of the team has made a huge difference to my feelings of isolation. Since the beginning of lockdown, the team at Charlotte Chapel (where I work part-time) has met for a daily prayer time on Zoom to start our working day.
This has been valuable in so many ways. It gave structure to my morning and a reason to get ready on time! More importantly, it gave me regular contact with the rest of the team. We were able to share how we were doing and find out more about how our ministries were developing or what the challenges were. Praying together continued to strengthen our relationships as a team.
Being included, where appropriate, in the plans to restart church ministries in person has made a huge difference to the way I have felt. When my pastor asked my opinion on meeting back together on a Sunday, I realised afresh I had a valued place on the staff team.
Having a conversation with your women’s worker about how their ministry might restart in person will also make a difference to how appreciated they feel.
For many women’s workers, the pace of life during lockdown and the ongoing restrictions did not slow down: work became more intense as they had to master new technology; pastoral matters became more acute; living situations became more fraught or lonely.
Taking regular rest is difficult when you work and live in the same place. It is hard to switch off from that difficult call when you are already at home. Being encouraged to take holiday and being asked how I was going to use it helped me to make my time off different from working from home.
Caring for your women’s worker
Here are some suggestions and questions to help you think through how you can show care and support to your women’s worker.
Ensure regular rest for physical and spiritual refreshment
- Are you helping your women’s worker to take regular rest?
- If your women’s worker lives by herself, does she have opportunities for her downtime to look different to the rest of the week?
- If she has a family, does she have all the support she needs to balance work and family demands without feeling overwhelmed?
- If she works part-time, is she trying to fit too much into her church ministry hours?
Express your commitment to the ministry of your women’s worker
- Do you know what she has been doing over the past six months?
- Have there been opportunities to share her ministry with the church leadership and wider church family?
Pray for and with your women’s worker
- Does she know you have been praying for her?
- Tell her of your prayers. Knowing you have been praying can sustain her through weariness and encourage her to persevere in her service of the Lord.
- Prioritise prayer as you discuss women’s ministry.
Speak words of encouragement
- Are you telling her when you see encouragements in her ministry?
- We can never underestimate how much a timely word of appreciation can refresh the heart and give the lift needed to keep going in ministry.
Little things can make a big difference in encouraging and supporting your women’s worker. We all know ministry can be hard and discouraging especially at the moment.
As your women’s worker gives out, help her to look to the Lord who is her strength and help: “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always” (Psalm 105:4).