One of the main reasons I never desired to lead women’s ministry was because I had a misconception about what Women’s Ministry is. I thought Women’s Ministry was strictly about planning a main event, whether it be a conference or a retreat, every year. Since I felt called to be the one to minister to women, I did not see how I would enjoy planning women’s events for other speakers. Obviously, women’s ministry is so much more than that, but for this post I am going to focus on how to develop a women’s ministry Main Event Strategy.
In 2011, we held our first ever women’s conference, and it went off without a hitch (for you non-southerners, I mean we had 0 problems). Lysa Terkeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries was our guest speaker. It started on Friday night and ended around 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Since it went so well, we immediately signed ourselves up for another women’s conference the next year with Kelly Minter, Christian singing artist and Bible study author (Lifeway). It was another successful event!
The one thing that I learned from doing two women’s conferences back to back is that I do NOT want to host a women’s conference every year. I told my pastor that it was just too time-consuming. My leadership team was meeting a couple of times a month for 2-3 hours at a time, and all we were talking about was the conference details. We had no time to talk about reaching women or discipling women or mobilizing women, which is what a healthy and robust women’s ministry values.
The thing about hosting a women’s conference is that there is little return on investment for reaching and discipling women for all the work you do. Since it took the majority of the women in my church to cover all the details, it is really more of an event for women who attend other churches in our surrounding area. Don’t get me wrong, it is an honor to host a nice event for the women of our small town, but it is exhausting to do it every year.
So, here is what my team does – we use a Main Event strategy on a 3 year rotation of hosting a women’s conference, a retreat, then a get-away. I’ve already explained the women’s conference idea and who benefits most from that event, so I will touch on the purpose of the retreat and get-away. We use the retreat which is for those who attend our church, plus the women we are trying to personally reach to build close relationships. It is a great time to get to know one another better and build lasting relationships. It is a casual, relaxing event where we plan to do a lot of laughing.
We typically stay at a state park or at a retreat center and bring in an uplifting speaker and story-teller. Last year, we booked Christian humorist, Kay Dekalb Smith, and she was a hoot!
We are currently planning a Ladies’ Get Away. We will be riding our church buses to a town a couple of hours away to stay in a hotel. We will go to a nearby church who is hosting their own women’s conference. We get to enjoy the whole event and speaker, free of the responsibilities that we have when we are hosting. Get-aways are typically a little bit of a rush, packed with activity. We may ride a distance, but once we are there we are on a tight schedule to check-in, go eat and get to the event. Then we do it again the next morning, pack up and head home. Get-aways are fun and a great time of fellowship.
This rotation keeps our women’s ministry’s main events fresh and exciting. The various offerings appeals to the different preferences of our women. While some do not care to attend a retreat, they love the get-away. Some will attend all three, while some will only come to the conference that we host in our home church. This strategy gives my team a bit of a break so we are refreshed and ready for the conference planning when that times rolls around again. It works for me because I am process-driven. That is how God has wired me, and that is usually how I feel that He gives me plans for leading women’s ministry at my church. Maybe you feel led to do something different. I would love to hear your ideas.
Do you have a Main Event Strategy? Please share what large events work well for your women’s ministry offerings.
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Gina Duke is the Director of Women’s Ministry at her church where she has implemented a Women’s Involvement Ministry, called “Joppa”. Gina holds a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, and is currently completing her Associates in Ministry. Imparting biblical and practical solutions for authentic Christian Living, Gina is the founder and president of Churchtown Ministries, and author of “Organizing Your Prayer Closet” (Abingdon Press). She would love for you to subscribe to her blog at www.GinaDuke.com. You can find her on Pinterest at Gina Duke / Churchtown Ministries. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter @TheGinaDuke