Nothing Has Changed

Several years ago, WMC made our stance on inclusivity and diversity among our organization.  We do not discriminate our service to a particular group of people.  We serve leaders regardless of denomination, ethnicity, and gender.  Yes, we have had men present at our meetings.  We have not only never turned away someone from a different denomination than our leadership, we have actively invited other denominations.  We have tackled the subject of racism head on, and will continue to do so.

As WMC merges with LeadHer, that does not change.

Our official statement:

From Gena McCown, Founder of LeadHer…

“I have spent the last several days watching, listening, and speaking with others. I’ve played out in my mind the best way to convey my heart & the heart of what LeadHer stands for. I’ve ultimately decided that the following is our best response to recent events. We shall not be moved on these matters.

1. LeadHer is has been rooted in the understanding that not everyone has the same resources and tools available. The very nature of what we do, began in the desire to fill the gap of available resources for women in ministry leadership. 

2. LeadHer has always recognized that those who are often not invited to the big table of leadership have value and worth. We always strive to be inclusive and support diversity. Our leadership, speakers, and advisors have come from not only different denominational backgrounds but also women of different ages and ethnicities.

3. The WMC (that oversees LeadHer) has also shared these values, and has never been afraid to tackle the tough subjects. We have spoken about racism in the past, and we will continue to do so as we merge WMC and LeadHer into 1 entity.

4. LeadHer is unapologetically pro-life, from womb to tomb. Therefore anything that threatens the life & liberty of those who are created in the image of God is not something we can be quiet about. Addressing social justice issues, shining a light on systemic racism, sexism, ageism, etc. will be addressed as needed by our organization. The basis of this stance, we take from Christ’s own words in Luke 4:18-19.

As the leader of this ministry, I have chosen … and I hope you choose with me … to take a full stop on my personal growth plans for this summer. This usually is a time where I attend conferences on leadership, read leadership books, listen to leadership teachings. Instead, I have chosen to refocus my personal growth this summer using the following resources. I hope you will join me, and we will all grow together.

In the coming days and weeks, there will be additional resources shared as well.”

Recommended Reading:


Important News… About those Crickets


You’ve probably wondering what has been going on around these parts, because there has been nothing but the sound of crickets.  Truth is, while it has been quiet here on the website… it’s been anything but quiet for our leadership team.

If you have not seen the update on our Facebook page, we have some exciting news to share.

When we began the Women’s Ministry Council, there was a vision.  Two friends sat over coffee lamenting about having a place to meet with other Women’s Ministry Leaders and talk shop.  Ministries really hadn’t adapted to the Facebook/Social Media groups yet, and we wanted to network with other Women’s Ministry leaders, share resources, and grow in our ministries and as leaders.  The first part of the vision was to set up a regular opportunity to meet and get training.

The second part of the vision, was that we were going to create a duplicatable model that others could launch in their own cities.  That part of the ministry never took off.  Several years after our first quarterly meeting, I launched our first LeadHer Conference.  It was very successful, and our ministry began growing online.  Instead of our live meetings being our primary connection, they actually became secondary.

I also watched the ministry grow, expanding to include not just Women’s Ministry leaders… but also women leading in ministries in different roles and capacities.  Social media allowed for a connection across the globe.  When announcing a live meet up event (either quarterly training or conference) there would always arise the same question…

“Will you be recording this?”

Which eventually became …

“Will you live stream this?”

We’ve known, for about the last two years, that we needed to begin exploring these questions and incorporate some sort of recording device into our events.  However, as a non-profit organization that runs on a shoe string budget… it was intimidating.  Did we have the funds to purchase software, equipment, etc.?   Did we have time to learn how to use these materials, would we need more volunteers?  And, so on.  We were stuck in analysis paralysis.

Then came #Covid19 and before we knew it all of our schedules and plans were wiped off the calendar.  We were thrust into entering the online world in order to continue to keep our ministry alive and relevant.  In short order, we planned the most impromptu of events.  In March, with just a week to get it all together, a group of speakers created the #LeadHerOnline mini-conference.  Short messages of encouragement in an uncertain time.

It was such a success, that we decided to do it again.  On May 23rd, from 9am-5pm EST on the LeadHer Facebook page there will be 13 speakers, 1 worship leader, and a full day of encouragement and refreshing for the leaders who have been tirelessly pouring out in this strange new season.  (visit for more information)

So… what is the REAL news?

I’m sure you are wondering when I’ll get to the real point, so here we go.

In this season of crazy, quick transitions… I realized what we CAN do.  I realized how much more effective we were online, and allowed the intimidation to pass as I embraced the new.  But, I also took this to the Lord in prayer.  I wanted to know what HIS plans for the ministry would be, how would we come out on the other side of this Covid19 hold.  The answer was going to be massive changes for the better.

This ministry has grown well beyond “Women’s Ministry Leaders” and local meetings.  After prayer, and discussing with wise counsel, the decision was made to:

Merge Women’s Ministry Council and Lead Her Conference into 1 entity under the LeadHer title which is more inclusive of the different types of leaders that we are connecting with.

What does that mean?

  1.  On June 1st, our WMC Facebook page will merge into the LeadHer page.  Please make sure you are following “LeadHer” so that you don’t miss any important information.  After June 1st, you will not be able to access WMC’s page.
  2.  Our Twitter account is already in the process of transitioning to the LeadHer account name.
  3.  On July 1st, our WMC Instagram account will go away, and all Instagram posts will continue on the LeadHer account.  So please make sure you are also following us there.
  4.  The WMC site will merge into the LeadHer website.  Currently it is designated as our conference site, but you will see a complete overhaul within the next few months.  You will be able to access all of our archived articles from this site through LeadHer, so don’t fret about losing any content! Our goal is that the website transition will be completed on or near August 1st.

Finally, you may also be wondering about #LeadHer2021.  Due to Covid19 throwing all calendars and events into the air, everyone rescheduling for future dates, only having to reschedule them again… at this point we do not know how Covid19 is going to impact our scheduled date for the 2021 conference.

Once that information is confirmed, we will share it with you.

Be blessed, be safe, pray for us during this transition, and join us Saturday 5/23 for #LeadHerOnline

Quarantine Tip #1: Reconnect with Pastor

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Our Pastors are busy guys, and their days are full.  Meetings, visitations, etc.  The same can be said for our ministry leaders, who are often working full time jobs while they are leading a ministry within the church.  I have noticed that the Quarantine hasn’t necessarily stopped our lives, so much as shifted them.  We may still have all of the same responsibilities, but a little extra time on our hands since we are not commuting to work each day.  I have almost 4 hours of extra time on my hands by simply removing the morning and afternoon school routines.  At the same time, what extra we have gained may have been replaced by something else.  For example, I am not responsible for overseeing my children’s education all day.  I have to stop and make lunch for everyone vs. just grabbing a quick nibble for myself.  It’s different, in some ways easier, in some ways harder.

I say this, because I want to make sure that it is clear that I’m not suggesting your Pastor is home during the Quarantine twiddling his thumbs.  He, too, is experiencing different… that is in some ways easier & also harder.  He is probably still holding meetings via zoom or conference calls, working on the Sunday message or midweek connections.  Visitations may be happening, albeit a bit differently than we are used to.  The members are still coming with needs to be met.  He probably is not interrupted by the pop bys at his office to ask quick questions, he may be working from home and thus lessened his commute time.  But, he is also learning new technology as he is livestreaming services.  He may be learning new social media platforms for engaging the members between services.  He may be more in tune with the news and press releases about the virus, so that he can wrap his head around how long this “new normal” will be in play.

What has stopped though, for so many of us, is the events we may have planned for our church.  That take up space, and time… not just in the building but also in our mental capacities.  The spring brunches and women’s retreats are cancelled.  Palm Sunday and Easter are going to be radically different this year.  No one is traveling for conferences.  We don’t know if that annual Mother’s Day Tea is going to happen.  Summer Camps and VBS might be put on hold.  We just don’t know.

Because of this, it is the right time to stop and take stock of the ministry vision.  Message your Pastor and plan a call or zoom meeting to discuss the vision of the church, and how he sees Women’s Ministry fitting into it.  Or, to reconnect on the vision and how it has been impacted by the closure of the building & if there is any way that Women’s Ministry can come alongside to support.

Keep the call short, to the point, and for the purpose of getting feedback from the Pastor.  Then take that information, pray over it, disperse it to the team, and follow up with an email that sets forth your plan of action.  Keep in mind, that right now we are in uncertainty.  So do not hold to an plans as anchored on the calendar, but rather fluid and changing as we take each day on.

Lead Well,


ASK: Why Aren’t Scholarships 100% Covered

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If you have been in ministry leadership long enough you have planned an event or trip that has included scholarship opportunities.  Scholarships give us a chance to help someone attend the event/trip who otherwise would not be able to afford it.

It’s become even more common place that scholarships are no longer 100% covered but instead include some sort of a contribution from the person attending.  In the case of students, we may have workship opportunities where they can contribute volunteer hours to something happening at the church in exchange for monetary credit toward their registration cost.  For adults, however, it is usually a monetary contribution.

In speaking with different churches, there is not hard fast rule on how much.  Some require a percentage of the total cost, others have a flat amount regardless of the event cost, and some even begin the scholarship conversation with the question “what can you afford towards the cost?”.

But why?  Why do we ask someone in need of scholarship to contribute?  If they had the funds, they wouldn’t need the scholarship. Is this unfair?

After speaking with literally hundreds of leaders, in all areas of ministry, there is a very common reason given for seeking contribution in order to get scholarship funds.  Those who are given full scholarships are more likely to cancel at the last minute or not even show up.   This doesn’t seem to be impacted by the type of event, cost of the event, duration of the event, location of the event, or age of the person scholarshipped.

Why is this problematic?

  • The church/ministry has already paid for that person, which means they are not out of money that could have been spent elsewhere or saved.
  •  The last minute cancellation or no show prevent the scholarship funds being passed on to someone else who wanted to attend but couldn’t afford.

Why does contributing solve the problem?

  •  Evidence points to a much more consistent commitment to attend when a person has had to contribute time, energy, or money to attend.

When you spend hours working at the church to earn scholarship credit, you are more likely to attend the event.  When you have contributed even a small portion of the money, you are more likely to attend because you don’t want to just throw your money away.

While we can debate all day long about morals, ethics, responsibility, etc… the facts are the facts.  Evidence supports that a minimal buy in will result in commitment.  This has even been seen in the business world when it comes to direct sales companies, franchises, etc.  The more someone contributes to the start up, the harder they are going to work and more committed they will be to seeing the venture becomes successful.

As we learn more about how people operate, think, and behavior we can tailor our approach, even in ministry, in a manner that works more effectively

ASK: Why should I plan ahead?

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Some women’s ministries will have a meeting and plan out their entire year, others work quarterly, and some choose to move event to event.  Why is it important to plan ahead in Women’s Ministry?

In my twenty something years of Women’s Ministry, I’ve been a part of planning Women’s Ministry events every which way under the sun.  And, yes, I do believe that planning ahead is better than winging from month to month.  Whether you choose to do that in quarters, biannually, or annually… that I leave to personal preference.

But, why?


Proverbs 29:18 reads “A people without vision will perish.”  Vision is incredibly important to ministry leaders.  We need to know where we are going, why we are going there, how we are going to get there, and who is going to be part of that journey.

The first step in ministry vision casting is to meet with your Pastor (or overseeing deacon/elder).  We are not too far into 2020 (especially with the impact of the Covid19 virus) to not take a moment and backtrack to this step if you missed it.  In fact, man of us are throwing our 2020 plans out the window & looking to start over.  Which may even aid to your argument about planning month by month because … “you never know what will happen.”   Just follow with me for a bit. 

First, we meet with the Pastor (or overseeing deacon/elder) to ensure that we as the Women’s Ministry leader understand what the vision for the church is.  This doesn’t not change because of crisis.  The vision, is the vision.  How we may execute that vision may change, but the vision will be consistent.   Then once we understand the vision for the church, the next part of the discussion is how does the Pastor (deacon/elder) see the Women’s Ministry supporting that vision.

Then the Women’s Ministry Leader takes the answers to those questions to their team & this is where we brainstorm.  How are we going to execute that vision?  What does that tangibly look like to meet the vision of the church AND also serve the women in our church/community.  

Planning ahead for a year doesn’t mean that we have ever detail ironed out and accounted for in that initial planning meeting.  It simply means that we are setting a path or establishing direction.  We know what the end goal is for the year and we are ordering our steps, like an outline, on how we plan to get there.  Outlines afford adjustments for crisis and the unexpected.

Then as you regularly meet with your team, you will take each of those events, activities, plans and work out the finite details as needed.  

For example, our WM had a goal of adding in more Women’s Studies in our small group menu for 2020.  Now, our adjustment due to Covid19 is taking those studies online.  We didn’t change the vision, just the execution.

When you plan ahead, not only does it make it easier for you to know where you are going, how you are getting there, and who is responsible for what… but it also gives you a starting point for adjusting to crisis and the unexpected.

Instead of throwing your hands up in the air and saying “now what?”, you have an actionable plan.

Your team can evaluate what you had planned for the immediate future and determine what simply needs to be cancelled, what can be modified for online, and what can be added.  However, those long term plans are a beacon of hope to your women about what is to come once the crisis has passed.

Serving in ministry, in South Florida, for over twenty years has taught me to adjust to emergency.  Hurricanes don’t really care about our ministry plans.  Having to move to online church services, temporarily, is nothing new to us.  We trust and believe that the Lord is not boxed in by church walls but can still actively reach and change the hearts of people through streamed services, pre-recorded messages, facebook lives, etc.  He is able. 

So, for us, making minor and even major adjustments to our plans for the summer is par for the course.  It is so much easier to make those adjustments when you are starting off with a skeleton outline or general direction than from a blank slate.

Have vision.  Execute the vision.  Adjust as needed.

Plan ahead for what you can, and don’t worry about making changes along the way.  Planning ahead creates a foundation to work from.

ASK: Why do I need to RSVP for a FREE event?

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In our new series, ASK, Women’s Ministry Leaders will be answering common questions from not only other leaders… but also the women in which we serve.

Q:  Why do I need to RSVP for a FREE event?

It’s Sunday, as you scan through the church bulletin, or listen to the announcements, you hear the good news… there is an upcoming Women’s Ministry event!  You note the date and time, uncertain at this exact moment if you can attend.  As part of the announcement you are directed to RSVP through a website link or sign up sheet located in the lobby.  The event is free, why do I need to RSVP?  Can’t I just show up?

Some Women’s Ministries are funded by their church, others are funded directly through the women who serve on the ministry team, or costs are covered by taking up an offering or charging a small fee.  Whether the event has a fee or is free, RSVPing is incredibly important.  Why?

  •  Your ministry team needs to know how many people to prepare for.  It is our job as the leadership team to prepare for the attendees.  This means we need to have enough tables and seats set out for our guests, plates & utensils for the meal, enough food, print materials, and take home favors.   When we have no idea how many women are attending, we end up either underprepared or overprepared.  RSVPing gives the team the ability to plan accordingly.
  • We are called to be good stewards.  Whether the funding is from the church or from our own pockets, we are still called to be good stewards with the money.  If we over spend due to too many supplies for an event with a lower than anticipated attendance, we have wasted money.   We may have wasted supplies, wasted food, etc.  By RSVPing, we can budget responsibly.
  •  We may be responsible for providing information to other parties.  Occasionally, we have a Women’s Ministry event off campus at a local golf club.  It’s a really nice event, not very expensive, and a treat for our women.  However, the Golf Club requires us to give them our attendance numbers two weeks ahead of the event.  Sometimes our women visit other locations that are hosting a live simulcast, special conference, etc.  By knowing how many of our women are coming, we can save seating so that our group can sit together.  There are also occasions where we are partnering with another organization or ministry, that will be providing information or gifts to our attendees.  We need to provide them with an approximate number so that they too are prepared for the event.

It is also important that if you have RSVP’d for an event (free, paid, or scholarship) and you are unable to attend that you notify the team AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

  •  Notifying the leadership that you will no longer attend a free event, allows us to adjust our numbers so that we steward budget/planning of the event well.
  •  If the event is sold out or at max capacity, even free events can fill up, we can let people who are interested in attending but missed the initial RSVP an opportunity to attend.
  •  If the event has a cost, by notifying the leadership you will be unable to attend, you may be able to receive a refund.  Or, it gives you the opportunity to scholarship your ticket to someone who wanted to attend but couldn’t afford.
  •  If you accepted a scholarship, and didn’t show… that means the church paid for your materials/meal… and it went to waste.  It also means that someone else who needed scholarship couldn’t attend.  By notifying the team as soon as possible, it allows them to extend the scholarship to another person.

LeadHer 2020

#LeadHer2020 was amazing, and our team is catching up on life since.  The Lord is working out some amazing opportunities for LeadHer 2021 & Women’s Ministry Council.

We will return to our regularly scheduled week Feb 17.  Until then, here is quick highlight of our speakers, more to come!

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Big and Little Sisters

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Many of us are familiar with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.  Basically an “older” person is partnered with a “younger” person to serve as a mentor, positive influence in their life, etc.   They are not related by blood, but the idea is for the person serve in the same role as a big brother or sister would.  Usually the older sibling is close enough to relate, but old enough to bring some levity.

What makes these relationships so wonder is that both sides learn from each other, benefit from one another, and really complement one another.  We can learn from these types of organizations when it comes to our ministries.

Who is the Big Sister, who is the Little Sister?

The Big Sister is a ministry that comes from a church with means, and helps support one that does not.  Maybe, like sisters share clothing, we share our decorating supplies or study packages we have purchased.

The Big Sister has the room, when the Little Sister does not.  Women’s Ministries in churches that have space for women’s events can extend an invitation to the ones who are meeting in spaces that don’t.  Invite the house churches, ones meeting in public schools, and the women’s ministries from churches meeting in shopping centers.

The Big Sister is the ministry that has been thriving for many years, who comes along the side the Little Sister… the ministry that is just starting.  Helping her to find her way, navigate processes, and put together a ministry plan.

Just like the Big Brother Big Sister program, here is the exciting news.  We don’t have to be exactly the same.  We can be a Big Sister to a Little Sister ministry from another denomination, in another city, in a different neighborhood, a different culture or language.

So, are you a Big Sister looking for a Little Sister?

Or, a Little Sister praying for a Big Sister?

How Can You Connect:

  1.  Look for a Women’s Ministry that is the exact opposite of yours.  If you are a big and thriving, look for a new church that has just planted.  If you are a brand new women’s ministry, find a church that’s well known in the community for their women’s event.
  2.  Have a cup of coffee.  Contact their ministry leader and invite her out for coffee, lunch, or something fun like ice cream.  Share with her how you think the two ministries could partner with one another.
  3.  Share with others in your community about your new sisterhood, and encourage them to do the same.  If you are the Big Sister, maybe host a gathering at your church for women’s ministry leaders/teams to get to know one another.  Or, start is as a formal Big Sister Ministry outreach.

The Benefits:

Little Sisters will have an opportunity to partner with a Big Sister ministry that can help them pass on savings when buying group tickets for events.  Little Sisters will learn how to budget, plan events, fundraise, and grow in leadership mentoring.

Big Sisters will have an opportunity to steward how they have been blessed to help others get off the ground.  Forming friendships and relationships that can blossom into a long future.  Big Sisters will be reminded of their own humble beginnings, and will learn ways to stretch a budget or hold an event for little or no cost.

What other benefits can you think of?

Speakers for Women’s Events

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When I (Gena) tweet things on my personal account, it tends to be random thoughts I have at the moment.  Maybe not enough to write out a full blog post, or facebook quip about.  I wasn’t expecting the response I received to a tweet from a few days ago.

This quick comment quickly resulted in hearts, replies, and retweets.  Ultimately the conversation (which has been amazing) expanded into a “how to list”.  I’m going to share that with you in just a bit, but first I want to put a little context around that tweet.

I am a speaker, I’m not trying to tweet myself out of a job.  I’ve just noticed a few things over my two decades of Women’s Ministry.  I have at a monthly women’s brunch to hear the same speaker, every single time.  I’ve heard team members tell us the only the way the women will pay for a ticket to attend (even at $5) is if it’s a speaker from outside the church.  I’ve heard amazing testimonies from women that have been brought in as a conference key note.  I’ve witnessed testimonies first hand with women who I have shared a cup of coffee with.

There are times for speakers.  If you are trying to raise funds for a large project, as a non profit, etc.  Then you may want/need to hire in a professional in order to get the attention, sell the tickets, etc.  You may have a very specific message you are trying to convey to the women in your church, and a professional speaker may be the one who has already done the work.  It just makes your life easier.  I get it.  For me, personally, the bulk of my speaking is on leadership to other (and incoming) leaders.  But, I still will happily speak at a women’s brunch or tea… if I am the person they want/need.

However, there are also times when the very person that has the story that needs to be told has been sitting in the pews with you for years.

To THAT woman, who has been waiting for someone to ask… please don’t wait.  Talk to your Women’s Ministry leader.  Send her an email, text, or even print out a brief outline, and let her know that if she ever needs or would want for you to share your testimony… just to ask.  Don’t assume we know your story, or that we know that you are willing to talk about your story.


Here are some practical ways to help the women in your church share their stories:

  1.  Get to Know Your Women.  If you don’t know your women, you have no idea what their stores are, or how God could use them to move the women in your church.  Divide the women in the church up, amongst your team members, and intentional begin to meet with the women & just listen.
  2.   Pray for the Women.  They may be fearful about speaking in general, or intimidated to share their story.  Pray that the Lord would help them walk through their fear, so that their story can help others.
  3. Help Craft the Message.  Maybe she has a great story, but has trouble articulating it.  Help her write out the message.  Teach her how to edit it, about speaking points, using illustrations, etc.  With guidance, she can do it.
  4. Use It in Other Ways.  Perhaps she isn’t quite ready to speak about it, but doesn’t mind writing about it.  She could write her story out as a devotion or hand out that you include on your Women’s Ministry facebook page, a bulletin insert, or just printing out copies and leaving them at the church info desk might be a start.
  5.   Interview Her.  Instead of setting her on the stage, alone, with a mic in her hand, and a spotlight on her face… go with her.  Sit down across a table, and interview her.  In this way you can guide her through the important parts of the story, pull her back if she gets off track, and help her feel more confident because she can look at you and not everyone else in the room.
  6. Record Her Testimony.  You can record her testimony, giving her as many takes as she needs, edit it, and then play it as part of the event.
  7.  Use a Panel.  There are certain subjects that you may have more than one woman that contribute.  Women do generally feel more comfortable in groups, being on stage or in front of a group together with women who share a similar story can be far less intimidating.
  8.  Stand with Her.  You may not ever say a word, but being present is enough.  Hold her hand if she needs it.  Or, let her know she can invite anyone on stage with her that she likes to make her feel more comfortable.
  9.  Work with Her Comfort.  If she speaks multiple languages, let her share her story in the one that is the easiest for her. Provide translation (live, closed captioning, etc.).  It may help her to convey her thoughts more clearly if she is not having to also translate it in her own head first.
  10.  Reach as Far as You Can.  If she speakers multiple languages comfortably, encourage her to share in message in those other languages.  It could be that she speaks live in one language, but records in the others and those videos are made sharable.  If she is comfortable speaking/translating on the spot, go for it.
  11.   Help Her Start Small.  Start with her telling you her story, then move on to where she shares her story in front of your team.  Then move to a larger small group setting, working your way up to the larger events.

There are many ways to tell a story.  Just make sure that it gets told.