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Why Not?

As retreat season ramps up into high gear, I have some thoughts for your planning committee:

Posted in: Book Table, Inspirations, Little Things Make a Big Difference!, News & Information, Retreat and Event Planning, Retreat Remembrances, Skits

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Where Everyone Knows Your Name

I am reprinting a popular blog from a couple years ago.  I thought it apropos as we all gear up for our fall women’s events!

I heard this song (from a 1980’s sitcom) again this week, and I think the lyrics hit the nail on the head as far as “step one” in caring for our women. You may recognize these familiar lyrics:

                                 Sometimes you want to go Where everybody knows your name…

                                And they’re always glad you came…

                                You wanna be where you can see your troubles are all the same…

                                You wanna be where everybody knows your name.”

I think that song writer was onto something!  Maybe the very first way that we can show our women that we care is by learning their name….and letting them know that we are glad they came…and being open and honest so they know that they are not alone in their struggles.

How can we create that caring atmosphere in our women’s ministries?  I know we all want it–we want everyone to feel welcomed and comfortable in a safe environment that encourages open sharing. I think it has to start in our leadership and trickle down from there. We as leaders need to do what it takes to learn names and go out of our way to welcome people.  We need to be open and honest about our daily walk and daily struggles and temptations so that we can all come to the foot of the cross together in weakness and humility.

Posted in: Inspirations, Little Things Make a Big Difference!, News & Information

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The “WOW” Factor

wow_factorSomething I love:  I love walking into a women’s event and, at my first glimpse of the room and its decorations, my first reaction is “WOW.”  I love being surprised and excited about what is to come based on the look of the room.  The world calls that “The WOW Factor.”  I’m here to tell you that “The WOW Factor” does not require a huge decorating budget, which most smaller churches do not have.

What the “WOW Factor” does require is someone with vision who is willing to develop it within your working budget.  We are a small church.  Sometimes we may have a little left in our account from previous retreats or events which is available to use.  We are trying to keep the price of the retreat down as much as possible, so we try to add as little as possible to the individual retreat price.

Here are a few ideas for creating a budgetary margin for decorations:

  • Offer table decoration for sale after the event
  • Add a small amount to the individual’s cost for the event designated to decorations
  • Use multi-purpose decorations that can double as give-aways
  • Use the crafting talents of your ladies to create what would be too expensive to purchase
  • Do focal point decorating

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Decorations, Little Things Make a Big Difference!, Money-Saving Tips, News & Information, Retreat and Event Planning

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The Top 6 Items to Have on your Retreat Hospitality Table

The-top-six-300x296Every retreat should have a hospitality table where women can find items needed to make their retreat experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Women forget to pack essential items and things that they didn’t realize they would need, and we try to anticipate those items to have them available. We have our table of supplies in the back of the meeting space and during announcements, we point it out so women will know it is there.

After every retreat, we store unused supplies until the next year, when we replenish and expand our offerings, according to need.

We have miscellaneous items available, including umbrellas, pens, toothbrushes, Kleenex, etc. But from my observation, here are the six most popular items to have available at your hospitality table:

#6 -Earplugs – you can purchase these very cheaply, and they may help some ladies have a good night’s sleep in an unfamiliar setting with roommates.

#5 -Toiletries (of course) in sample sizes in case your women left home without them.  If you retreat at a hotel, the hotel provides some of these things (shampoo, soap, etc.), but if you are in a camp-style venue, you need to have supplies such as shampoo/conditioner, soaps, toothpaste, lotions, etc.

#4-Feminine care products – this goes without saying. Women come unprepared!

#3- Throws – Venues are normally kept cool (even in the warmer months), which is acceptable for the majority of your women, but others will be uncomfortable and distracted because they are cold.  If we could offer something for the middle-aged ladies who run hot, we would!

#2-Basic medical supplies – Tylenol and Ibuprophen, antibiotic creams, bandaids and throat lozenges are a must.  If you are in a more rural setting, bug spray, Benedryl and calamine lotion may be indicated.  We have even had pain relief patches available in our more recent retreats.

#1. Can you guess what #1 is?  CHOCOLATE!  Are you surprised?  We always provide mints, hard candies, and small chocolates.  Chocolates disappear first!

Posted in: Ingredients for a Great Retreat, Little Things Make a Big Difference!, Ministry at the Retreat, News & Information, Retreat and Event Planning

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Decisions and Deadlines

dont miss deadlineDoes having a deadline change the way you make women’s ministry decisions?

As I write this, we are still weeks away from our annual women’s retreat. By now, all the “big” decisions have been made.  To the best of our ability and by God’s grace, we have tried to hear and follow the Lord’s direction.  We have a location, a date, a theme, a guest speaker and a preliminary schedule. Many, but not all responsibilities have been assigned.  Our retreat remembrance is already purchased, as are some of the decorations.  The big decisions have been made. Sounds like it should be downhill from here, doesn’t it?

But in ministry as in life, sometimes it is the minor decisions where it is the hardest to discern God’s will.  And we have a lot of decisions on the line…and a deadline that is looming. So, what are our options?

  • Take the decision to the women’s ministry team and take a vote?
  • Assume that what we did in past years is best for this year?
  • Use our logic and common sense and just go for it?
  • Wait on God?

When you look at the options spelled out like that, the obvious answer is “wait on God.”  Not so easy when you see the deadline approaching and other tasks can’t be completed until those decision are made.  Here’s one example:  We want to offer workshops at this retreat.  How many do we offer? Should there be three? Should they be repeated? Who will teach the workshops? Those decisions need to be made soon, as they affect the timetable of other tasks.  We cannot finish the booklet and send it to the printer until those decision are made.

Remember, God is always on time, and He promises wisdom to those who ask.  I have no doubt that things will fall into place. It’s tempting to run ahead to get it done! But our job is to pray about the decision, pray for wisdom and direction, ask God to close or open doors and then….wait for His direction.

 

Posted in: Lessons Learned, Little Things Make a Big Difference!, News & Information, Retreat and Event Planning

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