4 Church Women's Events for True Growth and Encouragement
Most women today are overly busy, disconnected, lonely, and overwhelmed. They need to develop deep relationships with one another and Christ but often feel as if they have little time to do so. It’s important we, as ministry leaders, remain cognizant of and work within their present realities. We honor and serve our women well when we plan events with maximum impact. Here are four nontraditional women’s events that facilitate true growth and encouragement.
Most women today are overly busy, disconnected, lonely, and overwhelmed. They need to develop deep relationships with one another and Christ but often feel as if they have little time to do so. It’s important we, as ministry leaders, remain cognizant of and work within their present realities. We honor and serve our women well when we plan events with maximum impact.
Here are four nontraditional women’s events that facilitate true growth and encouragement.
1. Help Women Cast Vision
If you’re a ministry leader, you’ve likely learned a great deal about vision casting. A clearly defined and pursued vision can keep your ministry on track and moving forward. It acts as a filter that enables you to decipher the good from the best and the distracting from the helpful. It also helps you formulate concrete action steps.
The same is true when we encourage women to vision cast for their life. This activity can create hope and direction, which in turn initiates growth.
How can you do this?
Give the women paper and something to write with. Explain your purpose and the process: Tell women you are going to give them five to ten minutes to prayerfully consider one area of their lives. Invite them to dream. Where would they like to be, in that area, in five years? What would they like to see that area look like? Assure them that their life visions will remain private, between them and God.
To help set the tone, play inspirational music softly and provide participants time to write out their vision. Some may enjoy adding illustrations or art to accompany their text. Once they finish, read Galatians 5:22-23. Encourage your ladies to consider which fruit of the Spirit, when displayed, will most help them reach their listed dream and to ask God to increase that fruit in their lives. Next, invite them to write down one step they can take in the coming week to move toward their vision.
2. Write a Letter to Childhood Self
We live in a broken world filled with hurt. Scripture also tells us we have a spiritual enemy who’s determined to defeat, discourage, and destroy us. Many of us internalize painful circumstances, attaching lies to them like, “I’m stupid” or “I’m worthless.” This is especially true for difficulties we experience as children. Kids simply don’t have the maturity to process life accurately and logically. As a result, by adulthood, most of us have accumulated a large amount of emotional baggage. We might not even be aware of our heaviest loads and how they’ve been affecting our reactions, interactions, and perceptions. But God knows, and He’s focused on healing and restoring us, on molding us into His masterpieces, as Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) tells us. We can help facilitate that process by giving women space to prayerfully unpack their suitcases and speak truth, through a letter, to their childhood selves.
How can you do this?
Give each woman a stationary page and mailing envelope. Explain the activity’s purpose and how to proceed, assuring participants that their letters will remain private. (When finished, they’ll seal their letters in their envelopes, will address them, and will return them to you.) Ask them what they wish their childhood selves had known. Then give your ladies time to seek God’s heart.
Some questions they can pray through:
- God, how did You view me when I was a child?
- What lie or lies would You like to replace with truth, and what is that truth?
- In what ways did You reach out to me?
Give them time to write their letters. Once done, collect the sealed notes and mail them six months after the activity.
3. Set Up Prayer Stations
We all enjoy entertainment, find stress relief through laughter and fun activities, and long for the community social gatherings can bring. But what we need more is to connect with, to experience, God. Though many of us know this, in the day-to-day chaos of managing our homes and careers, we often struggle to carve out time to really draw near to our Savior. If we’re not careful and intentional, church activities can exacerbate this problem by adding yet more busyness into our days. As leaders we can help combat this trend, feed our women’s souls, and awaken a spiritual hunger within them by creating space for them to simply sit in God’s presence.
How can you do this?
Decide how many and what type of prayer stations you’d like to create. For example, if you want to help women break free from areas of bondage or enslaving emotions and behaviors, you can lay breakable chains, a hammer, and a verse that points to freedom on a table. If you want to help women rest in their Christ-centered identity, you can have them read a verse describing God’s love for them as they look at their reflection in a mirror. You may also want to create a “quiet space” where women practice being still and a journaling station. Not only will this help them connect with and hear from God, but it can also improve flow as women transition through other activities.
Decorate your areas to set the mood and determine how you’ll guide women from one station to the next. Will they stay at each activity for the length of one song? Will you pause music or verbally indicate when it’s time to transition? Will they decide for themselves when they’re ready to move on? (Consider dividing women between stations to avoid overcrowding.)
4. Teach Women How to Engage in a Manuscript Study
My senior pastor’s wife, along with a couple other Bible study leaders, recently launched this type of inductive study at my church, and women are growing in their Bible study application skills and in Scripture reading confidence. Plus, these types of activities can help ladies replace their reliance on that next gifted speaker or teacher with a firm dependence on Christ. This in turn decreases their risk for deception while deepening their love and respect for Scripture. These types of studies also help women discern between facts and assumption and what the text states compared to human inference.
How can you do this?
(Find basic instructions HERE.)
Paste a section of Scripture, without paragraph or chapter indents, double-spaced, into a Word document, and number each line and page. Print these out and divide your selected Scripture into manageable chunks for daily assignments. Find instructions, along with a simple “key” online and print these out as well. Give copies of the instructions and the Scripture document to each lady. Also give them colored pens or pencils and gather them into groups and assign them a group leader.
Each week, give your ladies time to discuss their observations and potential truth principles drawn from them. Prioritize observations pulled directly from the text over assumptions.
We can add countless events to our ministry calendars, but not all will have equal impact. As our culture becomes increasingly rushed, busy, and disconnected, our women will find themselves pulled, more than ever, in numerous directions. All this pushing, pulling, and rushing can leave them feeling overwhelmed, depleted, and defeated. We can counter this by facilitating events designed to reach into their deepest, most wounded places, expel their lies with truth, and help them connect on a heart-to-heart level with their Savior. This, in turn, will encourage true and lasting growth.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’saddressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Restoring Her Faith and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team love to help women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE to learn of her future appearances, projects, and releases.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Jennifer Slattery is an author, speaker, and ministry leader passionate about helping God's children reach their full potential and live fully surrendered to Christ. Find her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.
In her new podcast Faith Over Fear, Jennifer helps us see different areas of life where fear has a foothold, and how our identity as children of God can help us move from fear to faithful, bold living. You can listen by clicking on the link below or by visiting LifeAudio.com.