By Alison Zeller
Women love studying God’s Word, but they want more - they want to serve! Consider taking time during your spring retreat to show the light of Jesus Christ to your church and community.
If you’re short on time or service ideas, here’s a list of six ready-to-go projects that have something for everybody.
Serving your church
Request a list of homebound members from your church office and assign each woman (or pair of women) to a member. Make a quick call to the homebound members letting them know you’re starting a new visitation program. Respectfully ask permission for your women to visit.
Encourage women to stop in at least once each week. Recommend things for them to take to the shut-ins - home-cooked food (watch out for dietary restrictions), church bulletins or recordings of services, meaningful spiritual items, or a book of crossword puzzles.
During the retreat: Women can make introduction calls to their assigned members or make handcrafted Christian mementos (a list of ideas from Pinterest) to leave with their homebound member during the first visit.
2. Host group meals
This is a great idea for using your women’s ministry group to build community in your church. Once each month, have your women’s group cook dinner for a few church members. Design the event so people have a little push to get outside of their social comfort zone. Pick people who aren’t from the same circles. Keep the dinner casual, but encourage everyone to get to know each other (conversation starters might be helpful). When it’s time for dessert, offer a brief devotion and open up time for prayer requests.
During the retreat: Gather a list of church members and break the list into dinner groups. Brainstorm the ideal time for hosting these dinners. Plan menus and grocery lists. For noncookers, design invitations, icebreakers, or a budget for the project.
You’ve seen the “take a penny, leave a penny” box in the checkout line, right? Challenge your women’s group to create a “Needs Closet” for your church members using a similar premise. Stock the closet with food, toiletries, cleaning products, baby items, or whatever your church members need most. Encourage individuals to take items from the closet if they cannot afford to buy them and to come back to donate items once they are in a better situation. Of course, your women’s ministry may need to restock the closet to keep the program going. Be sure to budget appropriately.
During the retreat: Set a budget and then brainstorm which items should go in the closet. Plan logistics: Where will the closet go? Who will hold the key? Who will keep it stocked? If you’re ready, go shopping and organize the closet.
Serving the community
How many unchurched mothers are living in your community? Present them with the love of Jesus in a nonintimidating social group. A MOPS group, or something similar, can give women the opportunity to build friendships and learn from other moms. Plus, as part of hosting, you can lead informal Bible studies and distribute information about other programs at your church.
During the retreat: Set up program logistics like time, location, and Bible study or discussion topics. Think about how you can publicize your program.
All of the women in your group, no matter their age, have knowledge and experiences to share. Put that into action by mentoring girls in your local school system. Your group may be able to lead a Girl Scout troop (check with your local Girl Scout council for requirements), tutor girls after school, or volunteer during classes.
During the retreat: Decide which grade level the group wants to work with and reach out to local schools. Or, think about joining a nonprofit group in your area that is already serving these girls.
Just like churches, nonprofits have extremely tight budgets. Purchasing some of their most-needed items can help stretch the budget and allow them to spend more money on client programs.
During the retreat: Take a list of a few local nonprofits to the retreat. Break into small groups and assign each group one organization to research for 30 minutes. Then, have each group present their findings to the entire group. Vote and choose as many “winners” as your budget allows.
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