I am currently trying something new as part of my women’s ministry strategy this year. I am using a book to create an atmosphere for interactive discussions among our women. You are probably well aware of Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God” and it’s impact in Christendom, but are you familiar with his wife’s book, “Experiencing God Around the Kitchen Table” by Marilyn Blackaby?
On a whim I picked this book up off of a clearance table if for no other reason than out of my deep respect for Dr. Blackaby’s brilliant book. One evening while thumbing through it, I realized that I could take the themes from each chapter of her book and create some interactive sessions with my Wednesday night women’s group. Ms. Blackaby has provided some wonderful stories for marriage, parenting, missions, ministry, and trusting God, to name a few. My use of this approach is two-fold. One, I will hopefully draw in some of our church women who currently do not attend on Wednesday nights by offering unique experiences, and two, involve some of our talented women by asking them to help in the demonstrations, which is one way of developing and vetting potentional women’s ministry leaders. I love sharing ministry; I cannot and should not try to do it all myself. Women who would never agree to help me “lead” a Wednesday night service, will say Yes to sharing their favorite recipes, home decorating tips, and more.
In Amy Simpson’s article Ideas for Women’s Ministry, (GiftedforLeadership.com), she encourages women’s ministry leaders to “Ask women to share their stories, or to teach each other about something they’re passionate about”.
The use of this book helps provide the spiritual element. Ms. Blackaby’s book is so saturated in her unashamed devotion to serving God and family, that it has proven a perfect choice for such a get-together on Wednesday nights. As you know, Wednesday is the “hump day” of the work week, but to me it is the day for refueling, refreshing and refocusing our attention back to God; we get so easily distracted by life in the day-to-day running, doing and playing that consumes our lives through the week.
Here is the plan I developed and am following in case you decide to try something like this for your women’s ministry:
Topic from Marilyn Blackaby: The Purpose of Life
Experience: Healthy Eating Tips and Tastings – Group Sharing of recipes for Kale, Sweet Potato, Healthy Shakes, etc.
Topic from Marilyn Blackaby: The Key to Success
Experience: Thrifty Living! Group Sharing of Couponing, Consignment and other Tips/Tricks of the trade for saving money and good stewardship
Topic from Marilyn Blackaby: Walking One Day at a Time
Experience: Favorite Exercises and Programs: Group Sharing
Topic from Marilyn Blackaby: Homemaker or Missionary?
Experience: Home Decorating and Organizing Ideas: Group Sharing Tips
Topic from Marilyn Blackaby: Survival Training for Marriage
Experience: Marriage Advice (General), Scripture and Resources: Come Hear Some Experts! (hearing from our senior women whom have wonderful stories about how God worked in their marriage)
Topic from Marilyn Blackaby: The Necessity of Prayer
Experience: Creating Quiet Times and Exploring Resources: Group Sharing Recommendations
Topic from Marilyn Blackaby: Entrusted with a Child
Experience: Parenting Tips, Practices, Scripture and More! Testimonials from other moms
Topic from Marilyn Blackaby: Seeing the Light
Experience: Canning our Summertime Foods
As you can see, this plan lasts 8 months, but you could probably stretch it out with an opening session and in other ways, too. Here is a sample agenda for my session:
I. Welome & Prayer
II. Tell one of Ms. Blackaby’s stories from the corresponding chapter
III. Do one demonstration that goes along with her point in that shared story
IV. Ask for input
V. Share another story or quote as a conversational starter
VI. Do a second demonstration
VII. Introduce the Scripture with a personal testimony
IX. Do the last demonstration
X. End with group sharing of other ideas and testimonies.
Of course, this format can be and has been modified from session to session depending on the material and the elements of the experience. The main thing is to keep it simple and as organic as possible. I currently host our “Around the Kitchen Table” session the third Wednesday of the month. (I have other things planned for the other Wednesday nights).
It has been a lot of fun, very informative, and has brought a couple of new women to our group each month. Some of my interactive experiences are based upon ideas women have given me throughout the years. Just about every summer, someone will say they wished we would have a canning class, and we will now (in August). I have had young moms say they wish we would have a study on parenting, but I have not been able to find one, so we will try out our short session to see if it provides something we can build from long-term in July.
Thus far I have only had two sessions to date, and I have focused on one to two scriptures per session where I share one of my own personal stories. For instance, when we discussed healthy eating, I shared how God had been convicting me of my unhealthy eating habits with John 10:10, which says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus came that I may have a full life, not a full stomach!!! The second month, I shared a couple of scriptures about tithing, plus a conversation I once overheard my husband telling someone about God blessing him after he began tithing. Some good reasons to be financially healthy are so that we can give more to furthering God’s kingdom and ministering to the poor. Through these powerful stories, testimonies and unique experiences we are able to really focus on what God’s Word is saying to us.
Another neat feature of this interactive experience is the creation of a Pinterest Board to host all of our good “Around the Kitchen Table” ideas learned in each session. I will take our experience, write a post about it and then pin it here. Feel free to follow it, so you can see what we are doing! (You may also follow me on Pinterest to stay up-to-date with my other boards on women’s ministry by going here.) This way the ladies come to it again and again, and better yet, share it with others.
Is there by chance a book or study that has caught your attention? Maybe you can break it down into some interactive experiences for your women. This idea offers an excellent opportunity to engage your senior adult women, interest your younger women whom value lessons from other generations, identify potential leaders and create more community among all your ladies. It is also a helpful structure that empowers your regular attenders to invite others. Everyone loves an experience that is inspirational, informative and interesting!
Do you have a book or idea that could be used to pull together an interactive Scripture study series for your women’s ministry?
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Women’s Ministry Information Center
Gina Duke is the Director of Women’s Ministry at her church where she has implemented a Women’s Involvement Ministry, called “Joppa”. This project came from one of the many “Idea Starter” suggestions. Gina is an organizational leader imparting biblical and practical solutions for authentic Christian Living. She is the founder and president of Churchtown Ministries, and author of “Organizing Your Prayer Closet” (Abingdon Press). For more posts like these, go to GinaDuke.com or follow her board, “Joppa” on Pinterest – Gina Duke/ChurchtownMinistries. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter @TheGinaDuke