What do I wear? Do I bring my Bible? If I don’t, am I not “Christian” enough? Is my hair okay? What if no one talks to me? Do I then pretend to be invested in what I’m seeing on my phone? Am I even allowed to look at my phone?
These are questions I had going to my first women’s ministry event. Can you relate? The devil loves to whisper in our ears, playing off our insecurities, hoping to keep us from attending. The trickster loves to keep us in isolation, away from fellowship with other believers and growth in our relationship with our loving Father.
But that’s not Biblical. The early church regularly met to learn together and grow relationships. Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Using this verse as our model along with the insight I’ve gained from being a women’s ministry leader for many years, let’s take a look at four fresh ideas you could incorporate into your women's ministry event calendar.
1. Host a Night of Excellence
We’ve held a wide variety of events, from game nights and ugly sweater Christmas parties a full meal with a message. But recently, we stumbled across a gem by combining the best parts of our previous gatherings. I’ll call it a Night of Excellence because truly that’s what it was. Every detail of the evening was performed with excellence in pursuit of honoring our ladies at the highest level. At least that’s what we strived for.
Our women’s team organized a catered dinner, live worship, and a guest speaker. At a minimum cost to cover food, we sold tickets individually and, at a discount, by table (six seats). This not only freed women to invite friends, but also encouraged them to show up because they had a stake in the event themselves.
A team handled décor and awed Pinterest lovers with their designs. Every table had an incredible centerpiece and table settings with fresh garland, flowers, glassware, chargers, and candles. All surfaces were decorated—the walls, welcome table, food table, drink table—in line with our theme. We kept the cost down by visiting thrift stores and borrowing glassware and candlestick holders from others.
We also had a welcome team to greet and show women to their tables. A full band led worship. An engaging presenter gave a pertinent message. Soft lighting provided an elegant feel. All screen images coordinated with our color scheme. We provided child care, and we started and ended on schedule. It was our best-attended women’s event to date.
I believe our intentionality demonstrated love and care. Whatever your church is capable of doing for your next women’s gathering, pursue excellence. Your ladies will notice.
2. Organize a Ladies’ Night Out
In the suburbs of Atlanta, there are at least nine megachurches within a Sunday morning’s driving distance from my house, including those led by Andy Stanley, Jentezen Franklin, Creflo Dollar, and Louie Giglio. This could make our much smaller women’s team fearful that our meager attempts to put on a women’s event are pointless.
Or we could decide to join in with these amazing churches, give them the credit, and piggy-back on their success.
You see, it’s unrealistic to think my church could bring in a topnotch, international speaker and worship leaders who travel the world on tour. But we can organize outings to these well-crafted events. So can you. Orchestrate carpools and meeting places to attend a fabulous ladies’ night out that involves going to another church.
Then, without the strain of planning and execution, you can focus on growing relationships and having a great time together.
Without question, your congregation should plan events in your own facility. But it’s okay to tag along with other churches in your community that share your vision. You’re blessing them through your support as well, so it’s a win-win.
3. Plan a Low-Key Dinner
We planned monthly women’s get-togethers every third Wednesday of the month for a time, which proved inefficient in relation to our school calendar. Sometimes our events clashed with a school break when many families were traveling. As a result, attendance was low. The amount of planning we invested didn’t fit our meager attendance. So we had to think of something new, something fresh to inspire the ladies who weren’t traveling to throw on some casual clothes and join us.
On a whim, we scheduled a dinner at a local restaurant. We called around to find an eatery that would allow us to reserve a room/area free of charge and announced the dinner in our bulletin, on social media, and in our e-Blast, adding a link to RSVP. We also assigned a team member the task of leading a few light-hearted icebreakers to help conversations get started.
We’ve done this many times now, and these gatherings are always well-attended. It’s amazing how much women appreciate an excuse to get away from the busyness of work and home to enjoy a different kind of noise—laughter amongst friends.
My cheeks hurt after these low-key dinners from laughing so much. Give it a try. With food, friends, and laughter, you can’t go wrong.
4. Expand Your Small Groups
My church boasts higher attendance for our weekly small groups than our Sunday morning services. We believe growth happens in circles, not rows. When relationships grow, so does accountability, forgiveness, grace, and Christ-centered knowledge. People are flawed, and actually getting in the muck of life with others changes our faith in a way that can’t happen with surface-level acquaintances like those limited to pews.
Small groups can provide the next step for developing closer relationships. We offer groups that span many topics. Some follow a traditional Bible studies curriculum. Some focus on breaking chains and finding freedom in Christ. Some groups go hiking, join for prayer, or encourage one another in a foster care group. Some offer purposeful mentoring, and one delivers food donated by a local grocery store to an impoverished area.
What does your church need? Ask your women what their passions are and see what groups could stem from them. Offering different small groups provides the perfect opportunity to fellowship with believers and grow closer to God.
Women need each other. Relationships are essential for Christ-followers to fulfill our Great Commission of going out and making“disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I [Jesus] have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
If you want to facilitate relationship-building opportunities in your church but don’t know where to start, use Acts 2:42 as your model. Pray and ask God which of these ideas would benefit your women’s ministry group the most. He will always answer.
Kristen Terrette holds a master's in theological studies and served as a children's ministry director for five years. She cherishes her Southern roots and currently lives 45 minutes outside of Atlanta, GA. With the support of her husband and two children, she stays at home writing Christian fiction, allowing God to take the story where He needs it to go. She also serves on the women's leadership and teaching team at her church and writes for Wholly Loved ministries at WhollyLoved.com. You can read her personal blog and check out her novels at kristenterrette.com.
Photo Credit: GettyImages/Antonio_Diaz