Last week we hosted our first-ever Bible Journaling event at our church.
In all honesty, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it. I’m okay with making notes in my Bible margins, but I wasn’t sure I could handle using craft supplies…
Putting together Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is one of my very favorite Christmas activities.
I spend all year shopping for items for our boxes.
I pray for the children and families who will receive our boxes.
I lovingly pack the boxes, squeezing in as many items as I possibly can.
Several years ago our MOPS group decided to work together to fill several OCC boxes. To familiarize the group with OCC, I opted to share the video (that you can order) that shows how to pack a box, how they are delivered, and some footage of children receiving their boxes. I cry every time I watch these videos. It breaks my heart to think that this may be the only Christmas gift a child receives.
One of our MOPS moms asked to speak after the video was shown. She shared that she had been on a summer mission trip to an Eastern European country and that during their door-to-door visitations she met a young boy who showed her his OCC box. He treated it like rare treasure and was so proud of all of the items in contained. She was in tears sharing her story, as were most of us in the room.
From that moment I knew EVERY year we would participate in OCC. These boxes make a REAL difference in the lives of children all over the world.
If this is not a program your church participates in, please, please go check out the OCC website.
Consider hosting a packing party for the women in your church. Give them a list of needed donations. The website has a long list of ideas but we always try to include: a bar of soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, crayons/colored pencils, coloring/puzzle books, small games, hat/t-shirt, small toys, small sports balls, hard candy (double bagged). No liquids, no war toys, no chocolate, nothing breakable.
Items will need to be divided by gender and appropriate age: 2-4 years, 5-9 years , or 10-14 years.
The current suggested donation for each box is $7 which covers shipping. You will want to budget for this and/or collect monetary donations to cover the cost.
You can order ALL of the necessary promo materials from Samaritan’s Purse, of which OCC is a ministry. They have posters, stickers, videos, prayer guides, bulletin inserts, web resources, and even boxes. It couldn’t be easier!
Consider making an OCC Packing Party part of your Women’s Ministries activities this fall. Give your women the opportunity to impact the lives of children and their families around the world.
Please note: You will need to plan early! Boxes are collected in mid-November. Donations made online allow you track the box’s destination.
You may also want to read:
My Message in a Box
Serving in the OCC Processing Center – Part 1
Serving in the OCC Processing Center – Part 2
How to Pack a Better Shoebox
What It’s Like to Give a Child a Shoebox
How to Host an Operation Christmas Child Packing Party
How Your Women’s Ministry Can Get Involved with Operation Christmas Child
*Please note: This post contains affiliate links. Should you chose to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission which helps to cover the cost of this site. Your support is greatly appreciated!
Earlier this year, our Women’s Ministry Team hosted a fellowship for our women to come together to make Blessing Bags.
So many women could use a small blessing: a single mom, widow, cancer patient, caregiver, empty nester, divorcee, young mom, etc…
They were to fill the bag with $5-$10 of items that would bless another. Tags attached encourage the recipient to fill and pass the bag to another if they are able. The tags also noted that they were from our church’s Women’s Ministry.
We gave our women several ideas for filling their bags (most of which can be found at the Dollar Store). Stress the importance of staying within the $5-$10 so every woman who receives a bag is able to pass it on and bless another.
Bag filler ideas:
We used the fabric markers to write a scripture verses and encouraging words (hope, love, joy) on our bags.
Directions to attendees:
1. Decide on a woman you want to bless (in the church or community).
2. Decorate a bag for her.
3. Attach a tag.
4. Include a personal note (optional).
5. Take home your bag, fill it, and pass on the blessings.
Sample Tag Text:
Be a Blessing & Pass It On! Bless and encourage another by filling this bag (with items no more than $5-$10 in value) and passing it on. We are praying each recipient will be blessed & encouraged, (Insert Name) Women’s Ministry
We challenged them to give them out within a 2 week period and to share their experience on our Facebook page.
Your non-crafty women may be turned off by a “crafty fellowship” – encourage them to help each other with the bag decorations, give them some simple sample ideas, and stress the blessing part of the project.
Looking for a fun, easy, and successful Women’s Ministry fellowship idea?
Our Coffee, Cake, and Comedy Night was a BIG hit with the women at my previous church – so much so that it became an annual event.
We usually hosted this fellowship event in January. Laughter can bring healing to those post-holiday blues. It’s also a great month for a fellowship because you have few other activities/events to compete with.
Here are a few tips on hosting your own Coffee, Cake, and Comedy Night.
1. Serve fancy liquid creamers and/or fancy coffee. Make iced coffees if it’s hot outside. Insulated cups with lids are a nice touch too. Don’t forget water and maybe even some milk for those non-coffee drinkers.
2. Serve some delicious cakes. Consider ordering them from Sam’s Club (they have some fabulous cakes that will serve 16-20 people easily) or opt for the local bakery. You could also recruit women in your church to bake/bring the cakes – guaranteeing they’ll be in attendance.
3. If numbers allow, have dessert and the DVD in the same room. We sat at round tables allowing for sipping and snacking during the show.
4. Preview the comedy DVD and edit if necessary. I would make all efforts to keep the DVD no longer than 1 1/2 hours. An hour is actually ideal. Fill the rest of your time with food and fellowship. Leave them wanting more, not wishing it would end!
5. Be sensitive to the comfort levels of others as you choose your DVD – some suggestions include Chonda Pierce, Anita Renfroe, Tim Hawkins, Ken Davis, and Dennis Swanberg. Steer clear from intimate topics. It’s better to be cautious than offend! And make sure it’s funny!!
6. Keep your décor minimal and low (especially if you’ll sit and watch at the same tables). Let the cakes take center stage – remember you’re going to be in the dark at least half of the event.
7. Expect the laughter to grow. Christian comedy may be a new experience for many of your women. Give the time to warm up to it! Keep some Kleenex handy for those that will laugh so hard they’ll cry.
If you’re looking for more Women’s Ministry fellowship ideas, be sure to check out my list of 105 Christian Ladies Night Out Ideas.
Let us know if you try it and how it goes!
Project: No-Sew Fleece Blankets (lap and child-size)
Purpose: To provide homebound church members and homebound friends with lap blankets. Children’s blankets were delivered to a local shelter. We were told it would be the only new thing most of those children would have… tears…
Cost: Varies. Our team used coupons/sales to minimize the cost of the project. We spent approximately $900 and made about 48 blankets.
Needed supplies: 2 cuts of 1 1/2 yards (for throws) of fleece fabric per throw (coordinating prints and solids look especially nice); sharp fabric scissors (one for pair of women), 4 inch cardboard squares, one table per pair/team.
1. Lay the fabric out and cut off the rough edges.
2. Place both pieces together with the wrong sides facing each other and smooth them out and line them up. Cut, as needed, so that both pieces are the same size.
3. Keeping the fabrics together cut a 4 inch-square piece out of each corner. (Use premade 4 inch cardboard squares.)
4. Working through both layers together, go down each side and make cuts for your fringe 1 ½ to 2 inches wide. Try hard not to cut in more than the 4 inches. A ruler, or the cardboard square, is very helpful as a guide! Make your cuts on all four sides before you start tying the fringe.
5. Time to Tie – “Looping” the strands instead of tying them, makes for a prettier and nicer border. To loop (rather than tie), keep the two strands together, raise them up, wrap around your finger, and pull back thru to the front. You want a nice firm, but not tight, knot. Once all of your fringe is knotted you are finished. Tie all of the knots the same way on each side of the blanket.
Distribution: Many of the women at the event signed up to take a blanket and deliver it. We had a sign-up sheet so they could list the recipient and prevent any duplicate deliveries. Extras were given to our Senior Adult Pastor along with a copy of the distribution list. Blankets for the children were taken to the shelter.
Personal touches: A team of our “scrapbook ladies” made beautiful tags for each blanket that let them know they were from our church and women’s ministry. We folded each blanket, tied with ribbon, and attached a tag.
Consider: Prepping the materials in advance. Our team of about 8 women spent over 3 hours sorting, matching, and sizing the fleece (matching patterns and solids) prior to the actual fellowship.
Results: We received an overwhelming number of thank you notes from this project and the participants just loved it! Our team would love to do this again sometime!