By Kristin Schultz
Planning is essential for effective ministry. We’ve all experienced the stress and frustration that comes with having to plan or with rushing to put an event in place. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Planning an exciting women’s ministry year helps you not only to stay organized but also to anticipate the resources you’ll need ahead of time so you can be prepared.
Even though much can change between the time you plan for an event and the event itself, it’s still valuable to look at the year ahead. Thinking about the big picture allows you to have a more powerful ministry. Planning ahead also allows you to reserve meeting rooms and coordinate with other church ministries and avoid scheduling conflicts.
Remember the Purpose
Women’s ministry is a unique way that the women of God can come together, grow in their faith, and support one another. When planning an exciting women’s ministry year, make sure to incorporate the following:
- Faith building (Bible studies, retreats, devotional resources, etc.)
- Fellowship opportunities (group outings, activities, social events)
- Service events (food or clothing drives, community service, fundraising)
Getting Started: Think Big
When looking at your women’s ministry yearly calendar, think about scheduling a couple of events first. Larger, more complex events take more time to organize. If you put them on the calendar first, you give yourself more runway to plan. For example, if you know you want to have a Christmas event in December, put it on the calendar! Then count backward at least six weeks and schedule planning meetings. When you schedule planning meetings first, you’re less likely to schedule smaller, conflicting events or meetings.
Examples of large women’s ministry events could include these:
- Women’s retreat
- A trip (on a charter bus) to see a musical act or art exhibit in another area
- Domestic mission or volunteer experience
- National or regional women’s conference (many church bodies and Christian organizations put on conferences throughout the year)
- Christmas event
Adding at least two large-scale events to your calendar helps create an exciting women’s ministry year and gives participants something to look forward to and to plan for.
Quarterly or Seasonal Planning
After you’ve scheduled a couple of larger, more complex events and noted the dates on which you need to start planning for those events, chunk out your calendar into three-month quarters. Quarterly planning lets you stay organized and execute quality events but also allows for flexibility. A lot can change between now and six months from now so focusing on the short-term ensures you won’t have to radically change plans if your situation changes.
Seasonal planning is an alternative to quarterly planning. Churches often operate in a seasonal rhythm, and it may make more sense for your women’s ministry to align with your church’s “seasons.” Examples of an annual seasonal calendar could include these:
- Fall or Kickoff Season (Early September through Thanksgiving)
- Christmas Preparation or Advent or Christmas (Thanksgiving through December 31)
- Winter or pre-Easter Preparation (January 1 through Ash Wednesday)
- Easter Preparation or Lent (Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday)
- End of the Year (Easter Sunday through Memorial Day, usually includes Mother’s Day)
- Summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
When you sit down to plan your women’s ministry year, don’t sit alone! Creativity seldom happens in a bubble so invite others into your planning process. For example, if your pastor is planning a special thematic message before Easter, perhaps your women’s Bible study could explore the same themes. Or, if your women’s group plans to do a food drive in November, your youth pastor could get the youth group to participate as well!
Collaborative planning keeps you and the other ministries in your church on the same page and prevents scheduling conflicts.
When it’s time to plan, make it an exciting women’s ministry year! Break up the year into logical seasons, give yourself plenty of time to plan large-scale events, and work with other ministry areas to expand your impact!
Women’s ministry is a beautiful vehicle for sharing God’s grace and love with those inside and outside your church. We pray that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide you as you plan to serve the women in your midst.
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