Below you’ll find the transcript for episode 10: Do we really need an agenda for every women’s ministry gathering? from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
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EP10: Do we really need an agenda for every women’s ministry gathering?
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 number 10 – Do we really need an agenda for every women’s ministry gathering? If you’re not certain, I am here to convince you. And even if you are, I hope you’ll hear me out. You may need the biblical support I offer to convince your team that agendas matter.
In episode 8 of the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast, we talked about the six pieces of content you’ll want to include in every women’s ministry meeting (or whatever you call that thing that’s not a Bible study meeting). If you’re a list-maker or if you have type-a tendencies as I do, it might go without saying that you should have a written plan for your women’s ministry meetings.
I am a natural list-maker, and I have to reset my expectations for other people in this area. I truly can’t imagine having any type of indoor women’s ministry gathering without at least a rough outline of our schedule.
I want to make sure that we get to everything that our team has prepared in advance.
I also know it’s so very easy to go long in one area, and then we have to take time away from something else. I can’t be the only one who’s been at a women’s ministry event where the speaker has gone along, and then we’ve been late to a meal, or maybe you’ve had to dramatically cut into your discussion group time.
I surveyed over 2000 women about women’s ministry events and activities a couple of years ago. I was surprised by the number of women who mentioned their women’s ministry events were unorganized; it was as if there was little or no preparation. While the women in your church are no doubt loving, gracious, understanding, and kind, repeatedly hosting unorganized events is going to impact your attendance.
Women want to know that you care enough to prepare.
I know that some of you are concerned that being prepared leaves no room for the Holy Spirit to move. I hear you, but I don’t agree with you.
I’m assuming that when your team makes plans for an event, you pray during that planning process, and you ask the Lord to direct your steps and give you discernment.
The Holy Spirit is active during your planning process.
Just this morning, I was reading through Leviticus 24:5-8, which discusses the preparation of the bread. “You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves from it; two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. And you shall set them in two piles, six in a pile, on the table of pure gold before the Lord. And you shall put pure frankincense on each pile, that it may go with the bread as a memorial portion as a food offering to the Lord. Every Sabbath day Aaron shall arrange it before the Lord regularly; it is from the people of Israel as a covenant forever.”
The Old Testament (I’ve been reading through it chronologically this year) is filled with directions and plans for festivals, cleansing, constructing the temple, and Passover.
God is a God of order, of organization, and purpose. From the very beginning of Genesis and the Earth’s creation to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to His return, God has a plan.
We honor God’s character when we make plans to point our women to him.
Let’s be intentional about how our women will learn about Him, worship Him and praise Him. If we want our women to grow deep roots, we will need to do some work to make that happen.
Agendas give your team space to organize their thoughts.
What do we need to do first? What needs to come second and third.
Creating an agenda helps your team focus on the task at hand and provides order to your time together. Even your women who aren’t super organized will appreciate it.
Are you launching or revamping your women’s ministry? Do you struggle to get your women’s ministry team on the same page? My book, Rethinking Women’s Ministry: Biblical, Practical Tools for Cultivating a Flourishing Community, is designed to help women’s ministry leaders and team members prayerfully examine what’s working and what isn’t. As God highlights the areas that need rethinking, you’ll be able to form an action plan that will enable your team to reach more women more effectively and create a community that flourishes. You’ll find Rethinking Women’s Ministry on Amazon, your favorite online retailer, and at womensministrytoolboxshop.com.
Three Agenda Tips
1.List out everything you want to happen during your time together.
I get so excited about gathering that I often forget to pray before we start, so I always write it down in great big letters at the very top of the agenda. Other leaders have mentioned to me that they usually forget to give out the door prizes.
2. Consider your timeframe and map it out.
How long will each piece take to complete? What’s the priority? If you want to ensure that your women get 20 minutes to discuss the topic, then work the rest of your schedule around that. If you’ve only got an hour, things are going to be tight.
3.Note who is going to do what.
While I appreciate your heart and your desire to include every woman on the team and give them a chance to speak upfront, it can really make your events seem choppy, and it can waste precious minutes.
I will never forget the breakfast event that I attended at another church where a friend was delivering the message. During the announcements before my friend got on stage, the emcee called three different women to share their announcements.
They were scattered about the room. As we sat and waited, we listened to the clop, clop, clop, clop of their shoes across the room. Clop, clop, clop, up the stairs of the stage, clop, clop, clop to the microphone. And that happened three times. It felt like an eternity before those announcements were finished. One person so could have easily given all three announcements in half the time.
I want to urge you to be careful about passing the microphone back and forth and back and forth. It really can disrupt the flow. If you want them to see who’s in charge of an event or follow up with them after, have them stand up and wave to the audience or something. “That’s Christy; she’s your contact for that event.” They don’t have to come to the very front of the room and up to the microphone.
I hope I’ve already convinced you that if you don’t do an agenda, you really need to start using one, but if not, I’m not done trying to convince you!
Think for a moment about how you feel when someone prepares for your visit.
How do you feel when they’ve taken the time to prepare a light snack, straightened their living room, wiped down the bathroom for you, and hung a clean, dry towel? You feel special, even if it’s just small things that they’ve done.
Make your women feel special by taking the time to prepare for them.
Jesus is doing it for you.
John 14: 2-4 says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
Today’s Toolbox Task
- I want you to create an agenda for your next women’s ministry gathering
- Use it.
I think you’ll find it makes a huge difference.
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast. Please make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss any future episodes. 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.