Gatherings...Transformed by hope

Invitations
Click here for a computer-generated sample of an invitation you can use for Transformed by Hope. Think of ways to distribute the invitations in your community since the topic is of interest to all women. Give it to the women in your church. A calling campaign will maximize participation in the event. If you choose to use the suggestion about having a ministry project as one of your breakout sessions, include the information on your invitations.

Decorations
Decorate registration and food tables to match the season during which your event is held.

Format
An introductory general session should include music, information about breakouts, a skit and a welcome for special guests and visitors. A closing fellowship time should feature the “If I were … ” activity, praying for missionaries with birthdays on the event’s date (this list can be found in Missions Mosaic Magazine to which you can subscribe at www.wmustore.com). Conclude the event with refreshments or a light meal.

Special Details

  • Enlist musicians (soloists or an ensemble).
  • Choose a friendly woman to “MC” the event. Choose someone who is able to move things along.
  • Determine time allotments for each part of the schedule.
  • Breakout sessions follow this section.
  • Prepare the “If I Were ... ” activity for the closing fellowship time (see below).
  • Enlist women to present the skit (at end of this article).
  • Enlist someone to lead in the prayer time for missionaries with birthdays.
  • Use this event to focus on North American mission work which will be featured with a hands-on project in one of the breakouts.

Breakout Suggestions
Offer five breakouts that will provide women with practical suggestions for learning to cope with everyday stress and frustrations. Each breakout should focus on the premise that God’s power and God’s Word can transform women’s lives. Each should build off the theme and have a focal Scripture passage. Enlist session leaders who will prepare thoroughly and make this time profitable in creative ways. Each breakout should be 30 minutes long. Here are some ideas you might use:

  1. Lend a Hand – Leader gives ideas for ministry and support groups that could be formed, showing that each woman can make a difference. This is “ready made” for a hands-on project to give women the experience of engaging in missions.
  2. The Ultimate Relationship – Since women are relational and interested in successful relationships, this breakout focuses on Christ as the ultimate Mentor. The leader needs to present the Gospel very clearly to non-Christian women who might be attending.
  3. Write It Down! – This will be a practical session giving instruction in the how-tos and purposes of journaling for personal transformation. The breakout leader can provide journals to give to the women. If women express doubt at being able to keep a journal, provide them with Journal in a Jar (click here). Printed slips of paper are folded and placed in a decorative or jelly jar. Women choose a slip and pray about what the slip asks them to write and then make an entry in the journal. The jars can be given as gifts after attaching a label (click here). Add a circle of fabric and a ribbon on the top of the jar under the lid for a decorative touch.
  4. Bridge Building – This session will offer ideas for how intergenerational mentoring relationships can help someone grow and get through crises when they occur. The breakout leader will find valuable information by reading A Garden Path to Mentoring by Esther Burroughs (New Hope Publishers. Order online at www.wmustore.com).
  5. Connections – This session is designed to connect women to missionaries who serve in the United States. Choose a project that supports a missionary’s ministry in your state, contact them for information and needs, and ahead of time arrange for materials or notify women to bring items to complete the project.

Skit
There are several ways to develop this theme interpretation. To illustrate the types of stresses women live with in today’s society, set five scenes with women of various ages and life situations. Write possible scenarios to tell their stories. Enlist women to role-play. Ask them to dress in black and stand with their backs to the audience. As a narrator describes their situation, each turns around. Or … have women pose holding items that give clues about their career or situation in life. A young woman in her 20s could have an armful of toys. A woman over 65 could represent a widow by holding a framed picture. A career woman about 45 could have a cell phone and a briefcase. Another woman in her 50s could have a bewildered look on her face as she copes with an empty nest. Lastly, a woman around 30 could struggle to balance several items representing a job and marriage. Explain that women of every age have to learn to cope. Encourage women to use this celebration experience to get help in coping with life’s everyday stresses and frustrations.

If I were ...
Cut apart the following statements and hand them out to six women at the celebration experience. Give # 1 and #3 to older women and #2 to a younger woman. The others can go to women of any age. Ask the volunteers ahead of time to give brief answers.

  1. If I were 25 years old again, I would …
  2. In 20 years, I would like to have been/done .
  3. If I were a young woman again, I would do this differently ...
  4. The most difficult thing for me in life (or the last 10 years) has been ...
  5. My biggest struggle in life (or the last 10 years) has been ...
  6. I wish I knew how to ...

Hands-on Project Ideas
Consider the size of the groups that will be attending the breakout. Choose a project that does not require costly supplies, can be done in a short time and is easily delivered locally.

  • collect hygiene health items and put in gallon size bags
  • make tray cards for a retirement home (include Bible verse and name of your church)
  • make coloring books/activity books for a children’s ward at the local hospital
  • using wide fleece fabric, cut scarves from the length (60” and 6” wide) for homeless persons. Cut a fringe at both ends (this requires no sewing, only cutting!).
  • cut quilt squares for someone to later quilt into lap robes for a convalescent hospital
  • collect canned goods and pack in boxes that are the same size for easy storage and distribution during cold weather 
Last Published: October 11, 2008 12:28 AM