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Five things your single staff women are too scared to tell you


December 6, 2015
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Dear Campus Director,

Do you have a minute? Your single staff women asked me to tell you something. 

Single staff women from eleven campuses told me what they secretly wish their campus directors understood and I’ve compiled the five most frequent responses, sans tears and emojis.

  1. You’re incredible! I really admire and respect you and your family. I trust your leadership and would follow you anywhere. I am so grateful to work for you! You intimidate me, which makes it hard for me to open up and ask questions sometimes. I want your approval. I have learned so much about Christian living by watching you and your family—one of the few Christian families I know.
  2. Affirm me. I need to hear you say “good job”… a lot. I know it might seem silly, but if you don’t affirm me, I automatically assume that I didn’t do a good job and you are disappointed in me. Do I add value to the staff team? Tell me! Are you proud of me? I need to hear it. Do you see specific giftings in me? Point them out. Even when you are intentional about developing me in my weaker areas it communicates value to me! I love when you set clear ministry expectations for me and then acknowledge when I meet or exceed those expectations!
  3. Trust me. When you trust me with a ministry task—even if you probably shouldn’t—it makes me work harder. When you micro-manage, I don’t feel trusted. Challenge me! Believe in me! (Let’s try to forget that time I forgot all the hot-dog buns for the cookout my rookie year!)
  4. Make me get fully funded. I would NEVER admit this to you, (in fact, if you pull me off campus to raise funds, I can guarantee tears), but making me raise 100% of my financial support is one of the most loving, protective things you could do for me. I feel alive, hopeful, and secure when I am fully funded—like a healthy, normal adult who can buy my favorite MAC lipstick before each fall semester if I want to! When I have just enough funds to get through the end of the semester… or month… it’s impossible not to see this job as very temporary. Singleness in ministry is terrifying when I’m at 90% support. And for some reason when I’m at 100% support, singleness in ministry is exhilarating.
  5. Help me. You will never understand how much I appreciate it when you get involved with my life outside of ministry. Remember when you pulled up a chair and asked about my new friends I made at my new church? Or remember when you invited me over for dinner with your family? I felt really valued. I might need help with my taxes and a budget. And my car has been making this weird noise for two months now, but I don’t really have anyone to ask about it. When you genuinely care about my life, I feel really loved.
  • Belkis Lehmann

    Thanks for sharing this. After 24 years in campus ministry I have worked with a LOT of single female staff and I would echo everything you shared. One small, very small, point. The way things are phrased you give the impression that all directors are male, married, and with kids. Thankfully, this is not always the case. There are many great women out there leading ministries and directing staff teams. They too can benefit from the counsel you share.

  • Rahul Agarwal

    Wow this is really good, thanks for helping me think through this.

  • Melody Richeson

    These are helpful words to head directors. I would add under “affirm me” that a woman needs you to be specific. Women aren’t generally very motivated by “Good job!” They need to hear you be specific. (Maybe men aren’t so different?) What exactly did I do well? How did it contribute to our ministry vision? Are you proud of me? That’s great, but if so, please tell why. Women need words. Specifics say to me that you have given thought to this. If all I ever hear is “good job,” it sort of makes me feel like you haven’t really thought about it, but it just occurred to you that you probably ought to affirm me.