How can leaders help girls develop a missional lifestyle?

I have a confession: I’m not perfect. There, I said it. Even though I was a pastor’s child, a GA, and a pretty good girl, I still didn’t understand what it meant to live on mission with God. I know my leaders meant well, but this is what I walked away with as a teen:

  • I need to read my Bible.
  • My friends are lost, and if I don’t make sure they are saved, it’s my fault if they go you know where.
  • If I have problems, I need to pray.

Not all bad things, but it didn’t compel me to fulfill the Great Commission either. Don’t get me wrong—I loved hearing the stories, I learned about Lottie Moon, and for heaven’s sake, I was the 1995 Associational GA Princess (What, what!). But there was still something missing.

Helping someone develop a missional lifestyle doesn’t start in the mind; it begins in the heart. Below you will find four tips to help you develop a strategy to engage girls in cultivating a missional lifestyle.

Number One: Set Goals.

Begin to think about what you want your girls to walk away with when they leave their time with you. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Think with the end in mind”? Get a good picture of where your girls are spiritually. Identify the kinds of experiences you want to offer them and the skills you wish for them to develop. Also, if your church has a vision or mission statement, include them in your strategy.

Number Two: Be Intentional.

We must remember that living on mission is more of a mentality than it is a behavior. Girls can do a lot of missions activities and never have a heart encounter with the Lord. We want the latter, because otherwise they will go through the motion of missions and never have true transformation. When girls fall in love with Jesus, they will fall in love with His people. As we help girls understand why we love as Jesus did, missions starts to become real in their hearts. Being intentional does take work, but if you go the extra mile, you will enter into true disciple-making.

Number Three: Model It Out.

Girls need to see you live out what you teach. Invite them to join you on various shopping trips or errands. Let them witness how you live out your faith through your actions and conversations. These moments prompt deeper conversations, which allow you to challenge their thoughts and behaviors. This is an over-and-beyond investment that cultivates opportunities to reach a girl’s heart.

Number Four: Empower Them.

We must begin to think in terms of equip and mobilize. Our girls are smart, and if they are trained, they can do anything. With your guidance, allow them to take on leadership roles. This shows girls that you value their abilities and skills. It might not be perfect, but with your help, they will begin to learn how to live on mission every day.

Helping girls develop a missional lifestyle takes investment. This requires you to take off your leader hat and put on your “discipler” hat. I mean, this is what you were really called to do, right?


Liz Encinia is the Missional Lifestyle Strategist for WMU of Texas.


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