Yes, we’re halfway through January, and I’m just now wishing you a Happy New Year! And I would like to welcome everybody who is new to this women’s ministry website.
There is always a flurry of interest at the beginning of the year, reminding me that we are all looking for new ideas and inspiration for the new year. It is going to be a great year We are one year closer to the Lord’s return, and the harvest is great.
To kick off the new year, we looked at the word “consider” in the Bible. While there are several Hebrew/Greek words translated “consider,” they all give the idea of looking at something attentively, to ponder or study, to give serious thought with attention to details. What are we to consider?
Consider the Lord (Deuteronomy 4:39-40);
Consider the great things He has done for you (I Samuel 12:24);
Consider your ways (Haggai 1:5,7);
Consider one another (Hebrews 10:24-25
Don’t you think that sums up women’s ministry? We gather together to consider the Lord, to learn who He is, to discover His grace and glory, His character and love. Together we consider the great things He has done, His wonderful works and His faithfulness in the past. As we search His Word, we are to “consider our ways” — to examine our hearts and the path we walk. And finally, we are to consider one another to encourage one another to love and good works.
Ahh! That’s the challenge, isn’t it?! This is part of the reason we started writing our own skits years ago–so that the skit would contribute to the overall theme of the retreat. From that ensued the creation of the Retreat-in-a-Bag website where these resources could be shared. This led to the writing our Retreat-in-a-Bag book series and, subsequently, to the Retreat Guides, all of which give you direction in creating a themed retreat or event with supporting elements centered on the particular themes.
But is it truly necessary that you have a skit that follows your retreat theme? No, I don’t think so. What I have observed over the years is that women look forward to a break from intense concentration. A skit can provide a time of entertainment and laughter in the midst of more serious teaching, prayer, etc. Simply put, inserting a skit in your schedule just provides a nice change of pace.
I know there are ministries that simply add a frivolous skit for entertainment value. And I can see that would be fun. But…why not have a skit about the importance of a quiet time (a free downloadable one-act skit called “Good Intentions”)? It is meaningful, and applicable, even if it doesn’t specifically relate to your theme. Take a look at some of our free, downloadable one-act skits, or some of the series skits (where each skit stands alone) if you just want to add a fun, yet meaningful, ingredient to your retreat or event schedule.
This is a common theme on this website, I know. But the issue constantly comes up in my life, so I feel that it is appropriate to discuss. Every ministry leader I know is very busy and wears many hats. Often women’s ministry is not the only place you serve in the church, not to mention outside areas of responsibility. We are to do “everything as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23) and “for His glory” (I Corinthians 10:31)….but sometimes ministry can just feel like more items to put on a never-ending to-do list.
When we get to that place, we need to step back and regain our focus. Ministry is a blessing and a privilege — not a burden. Yes, flyers need to be made, we need to prepare for studies, we need to plan events, and there are a multitude of other things that need our attention. BUT God has put souls in our care, and those souls are of great value to Him. Ministry is people, and not just a list of tasks to be accomplished. People can not be checked off our list so easily. People want to talk; people have needs; people have problems that don’t have an easy or convenient solution; people need prayer; people need our time and attention.
How can we regain our focus? The first thing is to go to God and confess our preoccupation with “tasks,” and ask for His help in determining our priorities. We need to pray for the people in our care, and pray that God would give us His heart for them. We need to ask God to be the Lord of our to-do lists!
I want to say “WELCOME” to so many of you who have visited Retreat-in-a-Bag and become a subscriber in the past few months. There is always a flurry of activity as the year begins as women scour the web for ideas for their women’s ministry and events for the year ahead. I imagine you have discovered that there are not a whole lot of websites dedicated to resources for women’s events, and Pinterest can be hit-or-miss.
Retreat-in-a-Bag was originally created to encourage small women’s ministries to use skits as another means of illustrating truths that were being taught in a retreat or event setting. Your women have different learning styles, and often the visual representation can enhance what is being heard. As an added bonus, they have entertainment value that break up the long periods of concentration. We were writing skits with a message, and wanted to make them available to others. A website seemed like the most accessible way to do that. I can hardly believe that was eight years ago!
Our website, and our vision has evolved over the years. The result has been an expansion from skits to all areas of women’s ministry. Besides the “free” resources available for download such as skits, graphics, forms, and quiet-time studies, we now have “premium” resources which give multiple theme-related resources in one convenient resource for a small price. We started with our “Retreat-in-a-Bag” Book Series and now have less expensive Retreat Guides available for purchase, all of which include theme-related Bible studies, skits, graphics and ideas for putting on an event using a particular theme.
Even with those resources in hand, there is plenty of room for you to customize your event as the Lord leads you! I can’t tell you how many times that I have read about someone else’s idea or theme, and the Lord has taken that “germ” of an idea to create something entirely new for our women.
Again, WELCOME! and God bless you as you plan for you women this year. Please let us know how we can be of assistance.
As you plan an event, it is important that lines of communication be kept open between leaders, between leaders and servants, between leader(s) and the church office, between leaders and the guest speaker/worship leader, and between leaders and the contact for the venue where the event will be held.
In this day and age, we need to find the method of communication that works best in each of those scenarios. Do you need to communicate by email with your church office and the venue? Do your leaders respond best to text, phone or email? When is a face-to-face meeting best? Do you need a paper trail? Do you need to communicate the same message to a number of people?
I guess I’m old-school because I still like email–I like the written letter or message, where I can print it out if necessary, and look back at what was actually said easily. But I have young women I contact who look at their email very infrequently, and if I need to get a quick response from them, I need to text them.
Make sure there is a meeting of the minds when it comes to communication. Retreats (and other events!) require reliable communication.
Ladies! Stay tuned to the latest creative ideas and budget-saving tips on planning retreats and other events by joining the Retreat-in-a-Bag newsletter. Best of all, when you join you will immediately receive a free skit that you can use or customize for your own ministry!