Summer is in high gear. Vacations. Camps. Vacation Bible School. All of those things may be on your list of activities right now, but I’m already considering my favorite season of the year…fall. I look forward to Saturdays filled with college football, fall-scented candles, and decorating my front porch with mums and pumpkins.
And, although you might be taking a break from some of your normal activities and enjoying some rest and a yummy snowcone, now is the time to start considering your fall schedule for Bible studies, small groups, and gathering women together around God’s word, and living on mission.
The book of Proverbs is wisdom literature and its contents give us insight into how we can make our plans, but we are reminded that the Lord orchestrates the outcome. The first nine verses of Proverbs 16 isn’t about us making our own plans as much as it’s about God’s activity in our everyday lives. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be established” and verse 9 reminds us, “A person’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” I love that the Hebrew word translated “commit” in verse 3 can also be translated as “roll”. This doesn’t mean we “roll” with whatever comes our way, but it does mean we can roll our anxiety about the future on the Lord and into His hands because His ways are higher and better than our own.
So, how do you plan for the fall and trust the Lord for His guidance and sovereignty? Here are some simple suggestions that can help your ministry to women be purposeful.
- Schedule a day in the summer with your ministry team and collaborate all of your ideas for the fall. Whether you take a few hours, a full day, or even go on a retreat, an extended time for planning can reap big rewards and pull the team together for a cohesive plan. Ask hard questions, such as “What do we start? What do we stop? What do we do more of and what do we do less of?” These will help you begin the process of making a cohesive and comprehensive plan. In addition, consider purchasing a book for members of your team to read together or purchase a few new Bible studies for them to peruse as you consider choices for the fall months. Because their time is valuable, provide a small thank you gift or offer a meal in exchange for their time.
- Start researching new Bible studies, consider ones that need to be repeated, or find one that seems to parallel your entire church’s fall strategy. Lifeway has a full digital catalog of all the studies we offer, including sample videos and lessons you can download and preview. Ask your church to subscribe to Bible Study Insider and get a box two times a year that includes all the new studies offered from Lifeway Women. It’s a great way to do some research and purchase additional copies with a $50 coupon.
- Make sure you have secured a full church calendar and avoid overlapping important church events. Know the process for securing a room, supplies, and equipment if you are planning a small group Bible study or planning an event. Like many women’s ministry leaders, if you’re not on your church staff, you’ll need to know the right person who has the information and work together with them to finalize dates and make a plan for communication through normal church channels.
- Consider attending a training event, such as You Lead or the Lifeway Women’s Leadership Forum. These events are intentionally designed to equip you to minister to women and get the knowledge you need to be successful in your ministry. If there isn’t an event close to you, consider purchasing a You Lead Virtual pass for only $20 and use the training when you meet with your team. You have access to the content until March 2022, so it’s a great way to get training from wherever you are.
- Develop a prayer strategy for the fall and distribute it to women in your ministry. Post prayer prompts on your social media or wherever women can focus together as you pray for the fall.
- Have a strategy for communicating your fall plans. Women need to see something several times before they really “see it”, so the more you communicate, the better participation you are likely to have. Use social media, church worship guides, images, bathroom stall signage, and mailings as ways to get the word out about your fall plans.
- Have you considered a missions project or ministry project that will help someone in your community? Find ways to connect with projects that may already be planned and encourage women to join and lead in these ministry opportunities.
- Plan a kick-off event in late August and give women all the information they need to participate in your fall activities. Whether this is just for your women’s events or a church-wide kick-off, it’s a great way for women to find the information they need so they can plan their schedules.
Kelly D. King is the Manager of Magazines/Devotional Publishing and Women’s Ministry Training for Lifeway Christian Resources. She is the author of Ministry to Women: The Essential Guide for Leading Women in the Local Church. You can hear Kelly at Lifeway’s You Lead events that are held in several cities around the country or listen to her co-host the Marked Podcast with Elizabeth Hyndman.