By Karen Hodge
On a weekly basis, I receive phone calls from women across our denomination looking for help. Some have been tasked with pulling off the annual Spring luncheon. They have someone covering table decorations but now they need a speaker ASAP. I hear the anxiety in their voice and I am not sure if they always appreciate me slowing down the conversation to ask questions I think are far more important than meeting what they perceive as their most pressing need.
Here are at least three questions I always ask that get to the heart of why Women’s Ministry is more important than just events:
1. What is your purpose?
Why in the world are you planning this event? Is it because you have always done it and now there is an expectation that it will always continue? How does the purpose of this event align with your women’s ministry purpose? Have you even developed a purpose statement? More importantly, how does this event help you accomplish your church’s overarching mission and purpose? For instance, here at Naperville Presbyterian, our purpose is that “Our lives, communities, and world be made new by Jesus Christ for the glory of God”. So the question must be answered, how do I see evidence that women’s lives, Naperville, and the world are being made new through our annual Women’s Holiday dinner?
2. Where are the equipping gaps?
As You consider the women God has called you to minister to, where have you observed equipping gaps? Often times women just want a speaker and ask for the topics they generally speak on. I always ask, are there areas where you believe there could be spiritual growth? What are your women currently studying in women’s bible study? What are they hearing taught from the pulpit? Instead of a “one and done” event or retreat, how about considering how investing in content with a speaker will move your women towards real and lasting spiritual growth. How can you structure women’s bible studies after the event to complement and unpack the content from your event?
3. What are you willing to invest?
There is only so much time, energy and funds that can be invested in an event. Where are your time, energies, and money currently being employed not only in Women’s Ministry but also across your church? Will investing these resources hinder or help your church? Do you have a realistic budget to pull this off? Are you seeking to accomplish this event alone or is there a way to spread out the investment of energies by building a team? How could building a team have a lasting impact in Women’s Ministry? Is it an opportunity to create an environment that is ripe for gospel friendship between older and younger women?
You see, Women’s Ministry events should always serve your overall purpose, long-term spiritual growth goals, and the realistic amount of resources you want to invest, not the other way around. Too many times I have seen women weary because they are serving the expectations of the event instead. So take a moment in the planning process, step back, ask the bigger questions, and pray about what God might do with an event that starts by referencing His purposes, His plan to transform us, and the faithful investment of His resources first.