March 22, 2022 by

One ministry opportunity that caught my attention at the Involvement Fair in August of 2019 was “God’s Girls.” I knew something was truly special about this mentorship program for at-risk girls, ages seven to 18, after talking with the former ministry leader.  

Fast-forward to my junior year, I am continuing to joyfully serve with God’s Girls on Friday evenings. I’m so thankful for the transformative work the Lord has done both in and through this ministry to impact the lives of many young women, including myself. Each Friday evening, a group of fellow Cedarville students and I travel to the Dayton Gospel Mission where we enjoy a time of fellowship, worship together, and study Scripture with a small group of these young ladies. 

Throughout my involvement in God’s Girls, five key ministry principles have proven vital for effective ministry. The Lord has led me to apply these concepts in all other areas of service. I pray that you will prayerfully consider and apply these biblical standards in your own life and ministry endeavors for the glory of God and for the good of others.  


Physical Presence Speaks Volumes 

Prior to becoming involved with God’s Girls, I misunderstood the positive impact that my physical presence could have. For young women coming from such broken homes and battling the fear of abandonment it means the world when others make the effort to consistently show up. At God’s Girls, being physically present can involve attentively listening to their many stories without interrupting. Other times being physically present means sitting with one of these ladies as they cry. Only after demonstrating genuine love, respect, and care through consistency are volunteers sometimes granted access into the difficult lives of these young women in Dayton. For these girls, the Gospel seems like a message worth considering when it has been shared by committed volunteers. Our goal in ministering to these young women is not to have them become dependent upon our physical presence to feel loved, seen, safe, and cared for, but rather to rely upon Jesus. Christ is the ultimate Friend because He never disappoints, and never leaves nor forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). 


Investing Versus Influencing 

I used to believe the lie that my job was to reach every single person. In actuality, God calls me to have broad influence upon the lives of others by investing in just a few. There are roughly ten of us in total that meet at the Dayton Gospel Mission each week. At first, I was discouraged by the small gathering, thinking that any potential impact would be limited by the smaller number of attendees. I gravely underestimated the power of God! Since then, I’ve learned that even within this smaller group it’s impossible for me to know the “ins and outs” of each girl and her story in its entirety. I cannot effectively pour into the lives of every girl with equal effort, impact, and attention. I’m just one person. God has shown me that I am more efficient in loving others when I allow Him to direct me to pour into the lives of just a few. In the context of God’s Girls, this has required me to look at Christ’s own example in his life and ministry. He selected just 12 disciples to pour into. He cared for each of them, taught each one, and loved them as individuals to the end (John 13:1). Yet, even within Christ’s closest circle of friends, Peter and John, seemed to encounter Jesus in more personal ways without favoritism (James 2:9).  


Private Abiding and Public Service Must Coexist 

So often, I have found myself caught up in the ‘doing’ of ministry that I forget the importance of abiding in Christ behind-the-scenes. It is through this private time alone with Jesus, He empowers us to serve with a healthy heart as He instills godly motives. Whenever I’ve tried to pour from an empty cup, I’ve been left feeling dry. Through prayer and in the Word, the Lord has lovingly refreshed my soul. He wants to do the same for you, along the way to prevent burnout. He uses our quiet times to strengthen us (Ephesians 6:10) to do all the good works that He planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10). With this, John 15:5 has served as a wonderful encouragement throughout the past few years in ministry. The Holy Spirit has also used this passage to convict me. In this verse, Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (ESV). In seeking to serve, we cannot afford to forget where our strength and abilities come from — Jesus. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. 


Know the Word 

Related to my previous point, individual time in the Word has proven incredibly beneficial in seeking to reach the lost. Not only does God use His inspired Word to transform us as we study it, but He also equips us with truths to then share with others. I’ve heard it said that our quiet times are not meant for only us. Every ounce of truth we study ought to be shared in conversation throughout the day. In ministering to the young women at God’s Girls there have been numerous occasions in which the Scriptures I had been studying were just what the girls asked about and needed to hear. Studying the Word for ourselves enables us to explore God’s answers to potentially difficult questions before they’re asked of us on the spot. We must know what we believe and why (1 Peter 3:15). With this in mind, God has shown me that it’s okay not to know all the answers because I am only human. I have found the process of searching God’s Word alongside the girls at the Dayton Gospel Mission to be incredibly meaningful.  


Ministry Can Be Fun!  

Sure, ministry will be hard at times if we are striving with our all for the glory of God and for the good of others. However, ministry can also be fun! God’s Girls has been a beautiful mix of sweet and hard. Never in my life have I enjoyed more laughter to the point of tears than I have on Friday evenings at the Mission. Know that God is not against fun. He created it. So, laugh, and laugh hard. Don’t neglect to enjoy the little things like playing tag, setting up a tea party, or baking pretzels (just a few of the creative activities we have enjoyed at God’s Girls). Gospel conversations can still be had in the middle of fun activities! With this, each activity should be done with a greater purpose in mind — communicating the Good News of Jesus Christ. It’s important to think how an enjoyable activity can be leveraged for the gospel without seeming cliche.  


I hope these points encourage you to strive in His strength, remembering the importance of intentionality in all areas for effective ministry. Recognize that your physical presence speaks volumes. Know that there is a genuine and helpful difference between investing and influencing. Certainly, our private abiding and public service must coexist. We must know the Word to teach it well. Lastly, ministry should be fun!  


For more information about God’s Girls, visit the following resources:

Crisis Pregnancy/Abstinence Counseling

The Gospel Mission

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