Below you’ll find the transcript for Episode 5: How to Select Your Women’s Ministry Theme or Scripture Focus from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
Episode 5: How to Select Your Women’s Ministry Theme or Scripture Focus
Welcome to the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast. I’m Cyndee Ownbey, your host and women’s ministry mentor. I’m the founder of Women’s Ministry Toolbox and the author of Rethinking Women’s Ministry. The Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast is a podcast for women’s ministry leaders and team members of all stages (from new to seasoned) serving in their local church community. If you’re looking for hope and inspiration, you’ve come to the right place! In addition to discussing the nuts and bolts of women’s ministry, I’ll be asking seasoned women’s ministry leaders to share their best tips and the lessons they’ve learned. Together we’ll learn to build a flourishing, Christ-focused women’s ministry.
Welcome to episode 5, How to Select your Women’s Ministry Theme or Scripture Focus.
Today, we’re going to continue to build a strong foundation for our women’s ministry. If you remember, back in episode one, we started by looking at the Scriptural Support for Women’s Ministry. In episode two, we talked about our Target Audience, and in episode four, we Crafted a Solid Women’s Ministry Mission Statement.
Today, we’re moving on and talking about How to Select Your Women’s Ministry Theme or Scripture Focus.
I frequently receive requests for women’s ministry themes, but if you’ve tried to search the Women’s Ministry Toolbox site for a list, you’ve found there isn’t one.
I don’t share a list of women’s ministry themes, because God has something specific in mind for your specific women in your specific church.
I don’t know what your women need at your next event. I don’t know what message they need to hear or what verse God wants to impress upon their hearts. And I don’t want you to miss what the Lord has planned for your women.
I’ve explained why I don’t share a list of theme ideas, but let’s talk for a moment and about why your team should even select a theme or scripture focus for your year.
There are many reasons, but today we’re going to focus on two – those are order and connection.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat at a women’s ministry meeting to brainstorm ideas for upcoming women’s ministry events and activities. Most of the time we each pulled out our list of ideas that we’d gathered from Pinterest, the internet, and maybe even from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Facebook group. We’d randomly plugin ideas with the most interest on our women’s ministry calendar. More often than not, if you were willing to lead it, you got to pick a spot on the calendar. Honestly, sometimes it was a matter of who spoke up first or who spoke the loudest. Now we probably started the meeting with prayer and asked for God’s guidance and our leader may have even asked, “what do you think our women want? Or what do you think our women need?” Without a theme or a scripture focus for the year, our resulting calendar lacked harmony and order.
What if instead, we took our list of ideas and only selected those which supported our theme or scripture focus for the year? Much like we talked about using your mission statement to guide your women’s ministry, the theme or scripture focus connects all of your events and activities throughout the year. It’s a thread of connection that links your events and activities to one greater purpose.
You can also think of it this way, each event and activity is a single puzzle piece. If our planning is focused on a theme or scripture passage at the end of the year, if we put all those pieces together, they would connect and form a beautiful picture.
Selecting a theme or scripture focus for your year gives order to your team’s plans and points your women to God’s purpose and desire for your year.
When we use God’s word as the cornerstone for our events, we show our women the value of God’s word.
Let me give you an example. One year, our scripture focus was John 15:5, “I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit apart from me. You can do nothing.”
As we planned we wanted our activities and our events to encourage our women to abide in God, to abide in His Word. The verse, not our personal preferences or Pinterest list, guided our plans. Our fall retreat reflected this theme, as did most of our events and activities that we planned for the year.
Does this mean you can’t add in a service project or other event that doesn’t align with your theme? Of course not, but that should be the exception and not the rule.
Before we move into the how of selecting a theme or a verse, I do want to caution you to keep it simple.
We’re not going for cheesy or over-the-top or Vacation-Bible-school-type themes. We want a subtle thread that connects each event and activity and points women to God and His word.
I’ll never forget the Bible study session that left me feeling like we’d spent more time in our Bible study book than in God’s Word. I knew there had to be a better way to do Bible study. Many months of research and study led me to create the READ Bible study method. As you and your women learn how to read, record, explore, apply, and do, your confidence to study God’s Word with the Holy Spirit as your guide will grow. You’ll discover how scripture supports scripture by examining similar and connecting Bible passages. You’ll learn how to dig deep to uncover historical and cultural context that will shed new light and understanding on the verses you’ve read. More than just a worksheet, READ will lead you step-by-step through your study of any book of the Bible in less than 20 minutes a day. The READ Bible study method is available in three formats, a kit for groups, a printable workbook, and a paperback book. Join with the thousands of others who’ve transformed their quiet time by learning how to READ – record, explore, apply, and do. You’ll find more information at www.readbiblestudy.com.
So, how do you select or find the theme or scripture focus for your year or event?
Well, when I’m seeking the Lord’s will for our next theme of scripture focus, I pray early and I pray often so our planning doesn’t have to be last minute.
I do my best to keep my eyes and ears open, looking for God to repeatedly bring the verse or word to my attention. I might see and hear it in several places over a couple of week’s time. It might be in the sermon on Sunday. I might come across it in my daily Bible reading. He’s even given me the verse in repetition via the radio when I’ve gotten in the car. God has always been faithful to reveal our yearly theme when I have been prayerful and open to His leading.
However, there was one year that I really struggled with what our theme would be. I knew a great speaker that our women would absolutely love! She speaks about faith and fashion, and she is fabulous! Her name is Shari Braendel. She’s become a dear friend over the years. We had used her for an event in North Carolina and I knew my ladies and Kentucky were going to love her too.
I kept my eyes and my ears open for verses on beauty because I was just certain that was the direction God was going to lead us. But God wasn’t sending many my way. None really at all. So I just started looking up a few verses rather than waiting on God.
I really wanted this to happen. I spoke with Shari and her schedule wasn’t quite lining up with the weekend that our big event had to be. God was gently trying to show me this wasn’t it. She might’ve been able to fly back early from another event, but I knew in my gut that wasn’t right either. I was forcing it.
It took a bit of wrestling with God, but eventually, I admitted to the team that I didn’t know where God would be taking us yet. So I continued to pray, continue to read his Word, and God began as sending verses my direction that all connected. Love one another. Pray for one another. Encourage one another. Tell one another. Serve one another, teach one another.
The thread probably seems pretty obvious to you, but it came together over several weeks. I would hear a song on the radio. I would get a verse during a sermon, come across another verse in my Bible study time. It was like the drip, drip, drip of a faucet. When God gives me a specific verse or connected verses with a common theme multiple times. I know I’m onto something.
As you may have guessed, our focus that year became “one another.” I had been looking for the one verse, but God wanted to broaden our vision and had us examine 12 verses!
God knew that we would soon be partnering to reach women in a local abuse shelter. And He also knew how beautifully those verses would tie into the launch of our new mentoring ministry. And our big event featured not just one speaker, but three precious women from our church that have mentoring relationships with one another. We would soon be loving, serving, teaching, and praying for one another on a whole new level. And I almost messed it up big time.
More than anything, I want you to know the perfect theme for your ministry can always be found in God’s Word.
James 1:5 says, “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
All we have to do is ask and sit back and listen. Every time He has been faithful to give us the direction that our team needed. After you’ve got your theme or your scripture verse, and only if God leads you, then pick up and choose a few pieces from a kit, a website, or a book to go along with your theme. But don’t take your eyes off. God. You don’t want to miss out on what he has planned.
Father God, I ask you to reveal the theme and the direction you want each one of our women’s ministries to take. Show us clearly where you would have us focus. Give us a verse to claim and to direct our path. We know that your plan for our women is far greater than our own. We humbly submit our will to yours in. Jesus’ name, Amen.
In today’s toolbox task, I’ve got just one challenge for you.
- If you don’t have a theme or a scripture verse for your ministry for this year, I want to challenge you to pray and ask God to reveal it to you.
I would love to know where He leads you. Feel free to connect with me online or via email and let me know.
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Women’s Ministry Toolbox podcast. Leading in women’s ministry can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be! You’ll find support and ideas you can use in the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Community Facebook Group. We’d love for you to join us! Search for us on Facebook or visit womensministrytoolbox.com/groups to access the link. May the grace of God carry you through difficult ministry seasons, may He direct your steps as you seek to make Him known, and may your love for the LORD be apparent to every woman you serve.
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