When we plant things, we expect them to grow, don’t we? No one wants beautiful tomato vines that don’t produce tomatoes! Beautiful leaves aren’t enough to keep a petunia in the ground. We want flowers!
Women need to grow also. Involvement in missions helps women become better Christian witnesses and strengthens their daily walk with God. If planned creatively and enthusiastically, the women in your church will want to attend an event which affirms and challenges them to grow in godliness.
Plan the event as an evening meal with a guest speaker. Put the date on the church calendar early to avoid any conflicts. The meal doesn’t have to been a catered one – a potluck will do! Good publicity is the key to the success of this event. Use plants, gardening tools and seeds to decorate the sign-up table. If tickets are issued, use seed packets or seed catalog cutouts. Publicize the event through as many avenues as possible – church newsletter, church’s Website, word of mouth, bulletin inserts, etc.
Make the event location a virtual garden. Borrow wheelbarrows and fill them with potted plants and gardening tools. Create a patio or garden scene on the stage if there is one. Borrow every indoor plant you can to add to the garden atmosphere. Many times a local nursery will loan plants and shrubs for a deposit. Baskets are a great source for creating a growth environment. Decorate the tables with seed packets, gardening gloves, etc. Shop your local dollar store! If possible place a small gardening memento at each place for a mini gift for each woman.
Set up a special display of mission materials (these can be obtained from the state convention women’s office. Call 559-229-9533, ext. 255 for a list of free items). Have several gift drawings and include a subscription to the women’s monthly mission/ministry magazine, Missions Mosaic (call 800-968-7301 to subscribe). Gift baskets containing gardening books, a trowel, seeds and gloves covered in cellophane will be popular with your women.
Another interesting display would be to highlight the new SHADES OF REaD book club that can be started by any group of women who enjoy reading. The club offers a variety of books of interest to women – ministry, missionary stories, life issues, mission opportunities. For more information go to www.wmu.com or check the current issue of Missions Mosaic for fresh ideas on how to start your own SHADES OF REaD.
After the meal, proceed quickly to the speaker. Women will appreciate your wise use of time, especially if they work outside the home and their time is limited. Enlist one or two women ahead of time to give their spiritual growth testimonies. Let them know they only have five minutes. Here is a general outline for the speaker’s thoughts: 1. Growth in prayer; 2. Growth in service; 3. Growth in giving. The woman you enlist as speaker needs to be one who is known for her faithful service, involvement in mission causes, and effective prayer life. She needs to be a clear communicator who can inspire and motivate listeners to focus on their growth toward godliness.
Close the event with a challenge to the women to commit themselves to grow in godliness in the year ahead. Before concluding the event, call attention to the displays again. Give out the gifts at this time.