Below you’ll find the show notes for episode 69, How to Host a Ministry Kick-off, from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
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How to Host a Women’s Ministry Kick-Off
What is a women’s ministry kick-off? It’s an event teams hold to introduce or kick off a new ministry year. Many take place in the fall right before the re-start of Bible studies and other teams host theirs in January to coincide with the church’s focus for the new year.
I’ve personally experienced both. We attended a church for several years that had a fall kick-off and the current team I serve on hosts our kick-offs in January.
Why should you host a kick-off?
- Kick-offs can generate a buzz and excitement about your ministry plans for the upcoming months or year.
- Kick-offs provide an opportunity to share the theme your ministry will be focusing on for the next year. (Be sure to check out the post How to Select Your Women’s Ministry Theme or Scripture Focus for help with selecting a theme for your year.)
- Kick-offs allow you to introduce your team to the women in your church. Many of them have no idea who serves on the team.
- Kick-offs create momentum as women gather together again after a slower ministry summer or the Christmas break.
Kick-offs don’t need to be expensive or elaborate. After seeing each other sporadically throughout the summer (if your ministry didn’t pause), your women will be thrilled to see each other again in person. If your kick-off is in January, kick-offs are a way to spark joy during a dark winter. Think of your kick-off as a family reunion and not as a formal banquet—you want it to be casual, warm, and fun!
At our former church, the fall kick-offs were one of the best-attended events of the year! The team chose to host the event for free and provided a delicious catered meal. We easily had 120 women register. Women would typically come in and get a name tag that had a table number on them. (Yes, we were assigned tables. Check out this post, on how and why we were divided into groups.) At our table, the table leader typically had an icebreaker game or questions for us to answer.
We’d have a meal together. One year that I helped was served family style. We had chicken, potatoes, a vegetable, rolls, and desserts from Firebirds. In the kitchen, we placed the servings for each table in serving dishes and on serving plates that our women loaned to the team. While we could have gone through a buffet line, this was much more special and intimate. Plus we didn’t have to get up from our tables. Every table had its own server and it really worked quite well.
After the meal the women’s ministry team would present the theme for the next year and we received gifts related to that theme. One year we were all given a copy of Adorned with the invitation to read it and participate in one of two book club meetings later in the year.
The scripture verse for the year was always given to us in a creative way. One year we received memorization flashcards, another time there was a beautiful custom-made print with the verse on it that we could frame or display.
Often there was a song they selected that tied into the theme for the year and we learned the song at the kick-off and then sang it at events the rest of the year.
We were also introduced to the women’s ministry team members. One year they had a short Q & A session with the team helping us to get to know them better. Seems like another year there may have been a skit (though that could have been at our on-site retreat).
What I love and remember most was the joy of having so many women in our church gathered together at once.
There was excitement about finding out what our focus would be for the next year. The team always did a great job of weaving it through our activities and events for the rest of the year.
7 Things to Include at Your Women’s Ministry Kick-off
Here are seven ideas for what to include at your ministry kickoff:
- Food—You could host a potluck meal, have it catered, or keep it simple with a dessert bar or bagel bar.
- Icebreaker—Encourage your women to mingle and connect over shared experiences (see my master list of icebreaker games here).
- Introduce your women’s ministry team—Be sure to share specific roles. It can be super helpful for your women to see the faces of the people in charge of Bible studies, event planning, etc.
- Share volunteer needs—Do you need women to bring food, decorate, assist with childcare, or greet? Provide an opportunity for women to sign up for volunteering with sheets or cards. Leadership roles should be vetted and prayed over. (See more information on filling leadership roles here.)
- Cast a vision for your ministry year—Share the Scripture verse or theme for the year. If possible, share a short story of how God pointed you or the team to that verse.
- Share a list of upcoming events and activities—Create save-the-date cards for women to take home. Generate excitement about what is to come. Consider giving women a quick preview of upcoming Bible studies.
- Personal testimonies and short teaching—Is there a woman on your team or in your church that was impacted by the women’s ministry in a mighty way last year? If so, invite her to share her story for 5 minutes. After introducing your theme for the year, have someone do a short teaching on the verse or theme, giving a hint of what’s to come when your women dig deeper over the next year.
A kickoff provides the opportunity to unite your women toward a common goal or focus as you meet together over the next year.
Today’s Toolbox Tasks:
- Decide if a ministry kick-off would serve your team and women well.
- If the answer is yes, begin making plans for your ministry kick-off. Brainstorm a list of things you want to be sure to include.
Ministry kick-offs are a great time to remind your women that believers are supposed to regularly gather together. Acts 2:42 NLT says, “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.”
Our ministry kick-offs should mirror what we see from the early church in Acts 2:42.
If you’re looking for more ideas to help you host great women’s ministry kick-offs, events, and fellowships, be sure to check out my latest book, Rethinking Fellowship.
You may also want to read:
Save-the Date Cards
How to Select a Theme or Verse for Your Ministry Year
How to Build a Women’s Ministry Team
Icebreakers and Games
The Power of Personal Testimonies
How to Divide Women into Groups