I started my ministry, Girlfriends Pray, by accident three years ago and it turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
Girlfriends Pray has allowed me stand before God daily as a servant-leader who encourages women around the world to strengthen their relationship with Christ through prayer. There are over 70,000 women who have been touched by my ministry, and many of them have expressed that they, too, want to start a service-based initiative but they don't know where to start.
The first, and perhaps most important, question that I challenge you to ask yourself before launching your own ministry is: "What is my intention?" In order for you to be successful, the heart of your motive has to be to serve. No other motive will keep you moving forward when the going gets tough. (And it will get tough.) You must want to genuinely see other people's lives improve as a result of the work you're doing. If you go into ministry thinking that it will build up your own name, increase your social media following or gain you some additional prestige, you're in for a very rude awakening. Those things may come later on, but they should not, and cannot, be the reason you want to get started. Your ministry should be built on service and service alone. Once you begin to selflessly uplift, inspire, motivate and empower, you will begin to bear fruit that will energize you to keep going and do more.
I also need to be clear that starting a service-based organization is not the same as starting a business. I was a business owner for over five years prior to Girlfriends Pray, so I can tell you firsthand that my ministry work and my consulting business are run very differently from one another. My ministry has service at its core, but more importantly, my ministry forced me to develop spiritually and become a better woman first before I could help others.
How could I expect to stand before crowds of people and advise them about their spiritual lives if I had not first worked to nurture my own? Unlike a business, where you can hire an accountant to come in and count the money or file the taxes, in my ministry the only person who could work on me was me. Some aspects of a ministry you cannot outsource. I had to do the hard work of getting real with myself about the Christian walk I knew I had been called to take. I had to rearrange my schedule to ensure I made time for some serious one-on-one time with God daily so I could hear His voice as I carried out this mission. It was hard work and like nothing I had experienced in my business— but it has been so worth it.
As you go forward in your quest to become a servant leader, it's vital that you start with these two components by checking your motive and checking yourself. Not a day goes by that I don't pour my heart, mind and soul into Girlfriends Pray, but for every part of me that I give, I have seen God develop my life and my desire to serve tenfold. It is a daily sacrifice but one that is a huge blessing because I'm living in my purpose and executing the mission the God has called me to do.
Dee Marshall (pictured) is a certified Coach and founder of Girlfriends Pray, a ministry that encourages and empowers women through prayer. Marshall also organizes Girlfriends Pray Life Camp, which helps women develop life skills and become servant leaders. Follow her at @DeeCMarshall.