Recently, I was reading a post (of the same title) by Sheila Wray Gregoire at Becoming A Christian Women’s Speaker, and she nailed it. Perfectly. She says:
Anyone who is involved in women’s ministry in a church today has on her heart the goal to reach people for God, and help move them into a deeper relationship with Him. I have no doubt about that absolutely.
The problem is that the way we go about women’s ministry often works in direct opposition to that goal. For instance, I think that in order for people to journey closer to God, they have to have two things:
1. Deeper friendships with other Christians
2. A chance to respond to God.
Most women’s events work directly against both of those aims, even if they don’t mean to.
Many people involved in organizing women’s events are so focussed on getting a “Bible teacher” for their event, that they forget that luncheons, retreats, and other women’s events are social events. They are places that women go to seek relationships…relationship with God being primary, but relationships with one another. They are looking for connection with others of like mind. These opportunities can get lost in the hustle and bustle to set up a really “professional” presentation. Sheila goes on to discuss what is wrong with the way we are working women’s events these days:
1. They focus on talking AT you.
Too many events leave no time for any relationship building. They have special music and special features where people are supposed to listen, and then they have to listen to a speaker. Getting an evening away is tough for most women. We want it to be relaxing and rejuvenating. If we’re sitting there, just listening to others, we’re unlikely to feel rejuvenated, because what we most want is to connect with other women. That won’t happen if the whole evening is geared towards talking at us.
Ways around it: Have “hands-on” features where women do something together, like a spa night, a make-your-own wreath event, a craft night, or something. When we do things together, we forge friendships because we can laugh together.
Plan times for people to talk. Leave some free time for mingling or just playing games.
2. Ice breakers don’t focus on actually getting to know people.
Often the point of ice breakers is to have everyone talk to everyone. Not going to work. No one will remember everyone’s name! Instead, focus ice breakers on encouraging 4-6 women to talk about something, so you feel as if you have connected. Ask people to share stories, or do something funny. The most hilarious ice breaker I ever experienced was when 6 women were asked to perform a “synchronized swimming” event–without the water! We were given points for artistry and synchronization. I was at a table with women in their 50s and 60s, and it was still hilarious as we danced around in a circle, waving our arms. We laughed and laughed, and we needed that!
3. Little time is given for personal reflection
Too often, right after the speaker, they bring up a musician, sing one song, and then it’s done. It doesn’t matter how good the speaker was; if that’s the way the event ends, people will not carry the message home.
For a message to make an impact on a person’s life, that person has to OWN the message. They have to think about it. Chew it over. Even talk about it. From a speaker’s standpoint, I have great teaching on how to craft a message so that it invites people to journey towards God. But from an event planner’s standpoint, you can’t leave it entirely up to the speaker. You have to help her out! You have to give her time to direct the audience towards an encounter with God.
Strings Attached Presentations use all of this wisdom to work for women’s groups. Cari’s work as a corporate team-building coach offers her a unique perspective into experiential relationship building, and her passion to help women develop an intimate and deeply personal relationship with God pushes her to build personal reflection time into her presentations. They are always fun and interactive. Imagine an evening of laughter, sharing, and learning biblical principles of covenant friendships- all in one presentation!