How can we creatively offer women’s ministry fellowships that honor social-distancing guidelines?
Today I’ve gathered together a big list of outdoor social distancing fellowship ideas for you and your team to use as we wait for the return of safe large-group gatherings.
While some of your women are not ready to gather in person together yet, others are waiting with great anticipation for the first in-person women’s ministry event or activity.
Even in your church has not yet resumed in-person worship services, you may be allowed to gather with your women in smaller groups.
During this time of transition, your women may prefer outdoor events over indoor events.
Outdoor events and activities provide an opportunity to serve and gather together while following the recommended social distancing guidelines. Some would even say outdoor events feel safer too.
Even still, women’s ministry teams will need to take great care to think through the details of events and activities so women can feel comfortable attending.
Suggestions for outdoor social distancing fellowships:
- Ask women to bring their own chairs.
- Require women to sit 6 feet apart.
- Provide sanitization stations.
- Ask women to BYOF (bring your own food).
- Supply only foods that are pre-wrapped or boxed.
- Require sign-ups with limited spots so group sizes can be honored.
- Offer events multiple times so all who are interested may attend.
- Plan activities for cooler times of the day, such as in the early morning or the evening.
Is this going to feel like a lot more work? Yes, it probably is. However, it’s absolutely worth the extra work to gather together again. Remember, it’s only for a season.
The list below includes some ideas from the leaders of the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Facebook Community. We’d love for you to join our closed Facebook group for additional support and ideas.
Creative Outdoor Social Distancing Fellowships
1. Outdoor Movie Nights
If your church doesn’t have the equipment to show a movie outdoors, ask for help. Chances are someone in your congregation has a projector that can be connected to a sound system. A side of a building can serve as a screen. Set up a concession stand with popcorn and wrapped candy or invite women to bring their own snacks. Don’t forget to make sure your church has a license to show the movie you’ve selected.
2. Lawn Bingo
Invite women to bring their lawn chairs to the church grounds or parking lot for a few rousing games of bingo. For larger groups, make sure you’re using a microphone and speaker so all can hear. Consider purchasing bingo cards and bingo markers for everyone in attendance. Several smartphone apps can be used to play bingo too. Offer wrapped snacks and ice-cold drinks to beat the heat.
3. Chalk and Talk
Distribute individual boxes of chalk and invite women to decorate some of the parking spaces in your church parking lot. You may wish to provide a list of encouraging verses for women to write in the parking spots. Encourage women to sit in small groups, six feet apart, for a time of fellowship after.
4. Outdoor Picnics
Your church grounds or a community park can be a great place to gather for lunch or dinner. Ask women to bring their own food. Offer a boxed meal option if you prefer. Invite one of the women in your church or on your team to share a short testimony about how they’ve witnessed God’s faithfulness in this season.
5. Prayer Stations
Interactive prayer stations set up outdoors around your campus could be a powerful activity. Try to select activities that eliminate opportunities for cross-contamination. You may need to pre-package materials. You can find some prayer station ideas in this post here.
6. Walking and Hiking Groups
Encourage your women to gather at a nearby park, greenway, or walking trail to fellowship and exercise. Check out state parks in your area for a more adventurous walk or hike.
7. Backyard Bible Study or Book Club
Women may not be ready to meet inside homes or even inside smaller church classrooms (survey them to find out). Meeting outside on someone’s deck, screened-in porch, or patio may be the perfect solution! Be sure to send directions for accessing the location without having to enter the house. See ideas on how to host a Summer Book Club here.
8. Lunch or Dinner Alfresco
As restaurants are allowed to re-open in your area, plan small group outings to restaurants that offer outdoor dining.
9. Firepits and Fellowship
Are the evenings still cool in your area? Pre-package the ingredients for smores and host a fire pit and fellowship event. You can purchase packages of marshmallow roasting sticks to minimize sharing here (affiliate link).
10. Worship Night
Invite women to bring their own instruments and lead others in a sing-along or ask your worship team to lead the group in worship. Be sure to pass out paper copies of the lyrics so everyone can sing along (don’t assume they know the words).
11. Arts & Crafts Night
From painting furniture to hydro-dipping, there are so many ways you can invite your women to create something outdoors.
Plant a community garden, beautiful your church grounds, or bless others with the gift of flowers. Consider collecting donations in advance to help cover costs and to allow someone with horticulture knowledge to purchase the correct plants for your purpose.
13. Reader’s Theater Production
Position chairs 6-feet apart and entertain the crowd with a rousing story. Check out Fools for Christ, Ellen McHenry’s Reader’s Theater Bible Skits, and Church of God. For some fun stories that aren’t Christian, check out Reader’s Theater Editions and these Reader Theater Scripts.
Fools for Christ also has some choral readings, allowing the entire group to participate. Be mindful of copyright laws – please don’t print and distribute scripts without permission.
Is there a woman in your church that could lead the group in some outdoor exercise classes? Between closed gyms and unwanted weight gain from staying home, many of your women may be interested in outdoor exercise groups.
15. Pool Party
A refreshing dip in someone’s pool may be a welcome relief in the heat of summer. Keep crowds small and look for multiple hosts.
16. Progressive Picnic
Unlike a traditional progressive dinner, attendees will eat picnic-style outdoors at various locations. Ask women to bring their own lawn chair or blanket and request that hosts serve the food with gloves to attendees.
17. Have a Garden Party
Are there women in your church that have a beautiful garden? Keep things simple with lemonade and dessert or ask women to bring their own food. Enjoy the beauty of God’s creation together.
18. Ice Cream Social
Nothing beats the heat like ice cream! Servers are going to be essential at this event to ensure everyone is comfortable. Ask a few women to bring homemade or store-bought ice cream and make a few toppings available.
19. Farmers Market
Invite women to meet up and shop together at a local farmer’s market. Invite women to share recipes online using the items they purchased afterward.
20. Favorite Things Party
Invite women to bring one (or more) of their favorite things. A favorite accessory, cooking tool, photo, book, song, piece of clothing, souvenir, or food. You could also use the Night at the Museum icebreaker game with your group to highlight treasures women own.
What other ideas do you have for outdoor fellowship events? Please share them in the comments below.
One year ago: Why We Need to Offer Different Types of Women’s Ministry Meetings
Two years ago: 10 Tips for Resolving Conflicts
Three years ago: Summer Reads
Four years ago: How to Host an Operation Christmas Child Packing Party
Five years ago: The Next Big Thing in Women’s Ministry
Six years ago: 10 Reasons to Host a Summer Women’s Ministry Event