In a Barna study, 72% of women felt stressed, 58% felt tired and 48% felt overcommitted. Only 5% selected church activities in their top commitments, though the biggest percentage wanted to improve that.
One factor potentially contributing to the lack of engagement in church community is that they report finding little or no emotional support there. Fewer than ½ indicated receive ANY emotional support from people at church and only 17% said they feel “very supported”. 43% said they don’t feel ANY support.
Let me ask you a question:
What has been your favorite women’s event? Why?
What have others said their favorite event was? Why?
The greatest need of mankind is the love and be loved and feel worth while to self and others. So our women’s ministries should keep that need and reality in mind when we plan events. So how do you use events for more than just entertainment but for the purpose of building authentic community or for outreach and training?
The first step is to choose your own adventure; to pick your purpose. It’s the north star and therefore everything you do, you’ll want to be intentional in line with.
A couple ideas I’m going to talk about for your purpose might be to help your women connect deeply with each other and feel more connected, loved and supported. Another purpose I’m going to talk about is reaching out to non-believers or your community and training your women how to do that in the process.
So lets look at 5 event ideas and then I’ll share 2 ways to contextualize them to your purpose. I’m just going to give you an run down, and not explain all the details of each event to be able to cover more. If you interested in any of the event details, just jot it down and you can find the exact how’s on google.
(If you'd prefer to watch the video explaining these, jump to the video at the bottom of the post.)
1. Paint Party. Paint and sips are really popular and anyone even people who are not painters can do it because they walk you through each step. These generally tend to be well attended even by people outside the church and are easy for women to bring a friend or co-worker to.
You bring some yummy snacks and coffee and tea and have a little paint night together. In your area there might be someone who would be willing to do one of these for you. Normally they would charge $30-40 per person.
You can also follow tutorials online and they tell you all the supplies you need. You only pay the cost of the tutorial. One I recommend is the Social Easel. It’s about $35 total. But you’d need to get the paint and some canvas’ on amazon so you’d charge $12-$15 per person.
And if you’d like, in celebration of my new book, You Are Unshake launching on the 7th, I created a free paint party tutorial for free. You can find it here on my youtube channel. I walk you step by step through making a pretty pot of tulips.
A great devotional that would go with a paint night is talking about how we so often we make mistakes but God is able to take and turn them into something beautiful. And how the goal is not to become enough on our own, but to lean into the sufficiency of Jesus who is enough for us.
2. Open Mic Night. Set this up coffee shop style and have everyone wanting to share draw numbers in the order they share. You can encourage people to read a poem, sing, slam poetry, share a story etc. Chances are you have women that have something to share and just need opportunity. You can even invite most of them beforehand to give them a chance to prepare. And is a great way to help fan the flame of the gifts God has given people.
You can have a devotional about how we are all created uniquely with different gifts to offer each other and the world but sometimes it can be scary to use them.
3. Fiesta. Mexican themed parties are just fun. You can have Mexican hordourves, pinata (how fun is that! Usually only little kids get to hit a piñata), you could have fiesta party games like sombrero dance, hot chili pepper eating contest, or how hot is it (where you arrange the chilies in the correct order of hotness) taco battle, or bean game, mustache selfie contest, . (find instructions on google) colorful decorations, mariachi music. And if you have a crafty bunch you can do Mexican themed crafts like terra cotta pots painting with symbols like cactus and the sun or you can make DIY maracas or giant tissue paper flowers.
You can have a devotional about the chief end of man is the know God and enjoy Him forever.
4. Duct tape night. It’s said that duct tape fixed everything right. There are TONS of crafts you can do with duct tape. You can make adorable flowers, cards, wallets… you name it. There’s also a ton of games you can play like team races of building a house or if you have a younger active group you can get in groups and tape one up with the sticky side out and they have to pick up as many little cotton balls off the floor or wherever as they can in a certain amount of time. There is also duct tape bowling or top model (where you create a dress for one of your teammates and they need to model it.) There's a ton more you can find on google.
A great devotional for this would be to talk about how duct tape might be able to fix a lot but only God can fix our true brokenness and we can turn to Him no matter what.
5. Sip and Swap. This is basically shopping from each other’s closets. Pick a place that has some open room and have a stand-alone clothes rack. Everyone brings clothes, jewelry and perhaps kitchen items or shoes if you want and then hangs them up or sets them out on display. You have some snacks and go free shopping.
A good devotional for this would be to talk about how the Lord clothes the flowers of the field and we don’t need to worry about our life.
So getting back to the purpose of events, you can incorporate one of two elements that will help you turn your event into more than just entertainment.
Say your purpose is to share the Gospel with non-Christians and train your women how to share the Gospel. Almost every event, you can have a ½ time and have someone share their testimony which includes a clear explanation of the Gospel. You would give a testimony worksheet and then set up a time to go over it with her after she has completed it.
1 Peter 3:15 says that we are “always to be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you….” One of the best ways they will be able to explain to others the hope that is in them is through having their personal testimony ready to share.
A testimony is always more effective when it is organized and to the point and you want to help them prepare it. Acts 26:4-23 we see an example of Paul sharing His testimony.
Although people can try and argue about claims of Christianity, no one can argue with what Christ has done in your own life. And people are interested in what God is doing on a personal level. They want to know.
So, what you you want to help them share is:
Before Christ. What their life was like before they received Christ. What were their attitudes, needs, and problems? Examples will go a long way. Around what did your life revolve? What was most important to you? Help them share specific examples. What did they look to for security, purpose, peace of mind, and happiness? And then in what ways did they find their activities not satisfying?
What led to their decision to trust Christ? Why did they give Him complete control of life, and how did you make this decision? When did you first hear the Gospel? How? For example: "That night as they spoke, it was the first time I can ever remember hearing that God loved me and sent His Son to die for my sins which kept me from knowing Him. And all I needed to do was to commit my life to Him by asking Christ to come into my life."
What was their initial reactions to Jesus Christ and His death on their behalf? What was the turning point in their attitude? Was there a sin that was hard to forsake? What mental barriers did you experience?
What Happened after they surrendered their Life to Christ? What changes did they see in their actions, attitudes, and problems using specific examples. How long did it take before you noticed changes? What does Jesus Christ mean to them now?
So before you give it to her, you’d want to cast vision of why it’s important for people to hear her story and how God can use it and why you would like her to do it. Use it as a personal affirmation time. And find out if she is even willing.
Also you’ll want to be clear about your expectations of time frame (which a good time frame is 3-5 min.) to explain how she saw her need for Jesus to forgive her and how she first heard and understood the Gospel and that it’s not necessarily her life story.
And it’s a good idea to have discussion groups to share about what they think of her story and how they can relate. This helps open conversation with the other women and potential non-believers.
Ok, so let’s move on to the other purpose of helping women connect deeply with each other. In order to do this, you need to use questions. Have you ever noticed in Scripture how the people who got Jesus’ wisdom were the ones who asked questions? Mk 13. And in proverbs, “Wisdom in the heart of man is like deep water and a man of understanding must draw it out.” It is rare for someone just to open up vulnerably without someone asking them a question.
So, you want to create an atmosphere where there can have a safe conversation, and provide questions that will enable people to open up. The vast majority of people don’t go around asking deep questions but they are not opposed to and even yearn to have deeper conversations. These conversations enable them to feel know, loved and supported.
A key to authentic connection and vulnerability is to take the lead in sharing hard things and not giving off the vibe that you’re perfect or that you expect perfection from others. Be willing to be vulnerable. When people see that you’re not perfect, they sigh and feel more at ease because they know they are not perfect.
My favorite tool to help accomplish this is something called the Reveal Cards. There are many things similar but after 20 years of doing ministry I didn’t quite see something that was facilitating these deeper connections so I built it. It’s a tool our ministry uses and a ton of others. So, I’m sorry for the plug, but I wouldn’t share if I hadn’t seen it make a huge difference in the depth of their groups.
So let’s put it all together.
Hopefully you’ve already done this but in case you haven’t I’ll briefly go over it.
Your purpose is why you exist. It answers the big why. We as humans exist to glorify God (to know Him and make Him known) so chances are your purpose will have that little tag line in it.
Here are some examples:
Your mission describes what you do. How do accomplish your purpose.
Some examples are:
2. Once you have your purpose and mission in mind, think through how your events are going to help you accomplish them. This likely will happen in a teaching or devotional time or in conversations your intentionally set up with women to have with each other. And ideally both.
And then you will have an event that isn’t just for the purpose of entertainment but also meets the deepest needs of your women and will help them be used by God for eternal purposes.
Today we are living through uncertain and unstable times. But God’s stability and security has never been shaken. When we root ourselves in who He is, we can walk confidently with our head held high into the purpose He has for us. And it's here we discover one of the greatest mysteries of the spiritual life: we find true satisfaction not in knowing who we are but in knowing who God is.
In the pages of You Are Unshaken you will find encouragement and it will bring you to a place of wonder as you read the stories of how God has interacted and interrupted people’s lives.
Each chapter includes a Bible study and teaching video in addition to the chapter.
You are Unshaken will infuse you with courage and hope as you gaze at the Lord and realize what that means about you.