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Women’s leaders: Think ‘out of the box’

TALLADEGA, Ala. (BP)–Women’s events aren’t about “getting more warm bodies in the room” but about “the glory of God,” author and speaker Judy Woodward Bates said.

Bates, whose latest book is “Blessedly Budgeted Women’s Events,” was among the featured speakers at Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union’s leadership conference this summer at Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega.

Think “out of the box” and “off the wall” to find new ways to reach out to women, Bates told a standing-room-only crown.

Encouraging women’s ministry leaders to embrace change, she noted that it can “absolutely be a good thing. The only ones who didn’t like change were the Pharisees.”

Touching on topics in her new book, Bates said an event’s title can “make or break” it.

“Boring titles lead to poor attendance. Why not host a workshop on table manners, place settings, etc., and call it ‘Etta Kitt and Other Southern Ladies’? Now that will create interest,” said Bates, a member of the Birmingham-area First Baptist Church of Gardendale.

“If we stimulate enough curiosity about our events, they’ll come,” she added.

Bates noted that the primary purpose for any women’s ministry event should be for God’s glory and suggested that ministry leaders identify seven key categories before planning events for women:

— women’s occupations

— their current and past life experiences

— their hobbies and pastimes

— the event’s primary purpose

— the event’s intended results

— the event’s target group

The occupations represented in women’s group or among other church members could be utilized for future women’s events, she said. For instance, if a member of the church is a law enforcement officer, have him or her host a self-defense class and then speak about putting on the whole armor of God.

Other ideas include a DIY (do-it-yourself) session for floral arranging, sculpting, quilting or decorating or a body, mind and soul conference with a personal trainer and/or nutritionist to focus on the body, a counselor or medical professional to talk about the mind and someone to talk about having a healthy soul checkup.

Bates also advocated hosting fun events, saying, “There’s no reason you can’t just get together and have a ‘chick’ night.”

With the words of Psalm 139:14, Bates reminded conference participants how each individual in a women’s ministry is unique and challenged the leaders to develop programs to meet the needs of each unique woman.

“Jesus ordained your women’s ministry, so go reach women for Him,” Bates said.
Alicia M. Atcheson is a correspondent for The Alabama Baptist, online at www.thealabamabaptist.org. For more information on Judy Bates’ new book and other ideas for women’s ministry, visit her website at www.bargainomics.com.

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  • Alicia M. Atcheson