All The Single Ladies

Youth Specialties
December 9th, 2014

Original photo from Eddy Van 3000.

Maybe I just missed it somewhere between all the systematics and hermeneutics classes, but I think the one course I never learned in seminary was how to be a single female leader in the ministry. They should really offer that. I’ve spent the last 35 years on this journey of being a single woman, and within that, the past eight years of being a single woman leader in ministry. My conclusion? It’s hard!

So, are we all supposed to head for hills and call it quits? I sure hope not. Then what’s a single lady leader to do? Whether you get paid for your leadership position or not, here are two things I would encourage you to start embracing.

The best thing you can do is to deal with you!

One of the wisest statements I received in seminary was, “The best thing you can do for the people you minister to is to be a healthy you.” A counseling professor shared this with me, and of course, he was referring to emotional health. I wasn’t sure how true that statement was until I found myself in year two of my first full-time church staff position. Boy, how I wish I would have dealt with some of my baggage back then!

If we, as female leaders, are unwilling to “go there” and deal with our baggage and our secrets, then how in the world do we have the right to look a student, who is cutting themselves or having pre-marital sex, and tell them to deal with theirs? A bit hypocritical, isn’t it? Yet it’s so easy to do, and we do it all the time.

Ladies, do whatever it takes to be healthy and free, emotionally. Get counseling. Get in an accountability group. Whatever you need to be free, for the sake of the next generation following us, get free!

Know your role.

You’re not their best friend. But you’re not their “super woman” either. So what are you? You’re the adult who has an amazing opportunity to step into the life of a student and be a voice of wisdom for Christ and his word!

This is where it gets really tricky for us, especially single leaders. Let’s be honest: Teenagers can be mean! When they are mean, they get nasty and cruel, even to the adults who are trying to serve them. Single leaders, we must guard our insecurities, because it’s so easy to back off of wisdom that students need to hear because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of being made fun of or falling to last place in the “popular leader club” that we sometimes secretly have in our midst.

I heard a youth leader say once, “If you’re always popular and you never have a student mad or frustrated with something you’ve said, then you’re not doing your job!” I chuckle every time I hear that now, because I didn’t realize how true that statement was at the time.

Ladies, let’s know our roles and play them well!

Kelly Sayle is proud to be a born and raised Mississippi Delta girl who loves all things Ole Miss! She currently lives in Chattanooga, TN and is a Middle School Minister at Silverdale Baptist Church where she loves to speak hope and purpose over the next generation!

Youth Specialties

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.