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Simply Wonderful programs…

For years I have mourned the assumption by many that Women’s Ministries is a silly social group layered in “bubble gum” themes, and am concerned that are not our best advocates.

Women desire both community connection and life-giving content infused with the Gospel. Because we live in a broken world, we fully experience all that it is to be human. Love. Loss. Pain. Joy. Elation. Brokeness. Concern. Longing. Loneliness.  Our roles and relationships leave us exhausted. The Women’s Ministries group is a safe, loving place where Christ is welcomed as central to everything we do.

And so – we can choose better!  Infuse meaning into every act.  Every time we gather we have the opportunity to make this holy time.  Use symbols, projects, tutorials, and even….(gasp) celebrations to make the main thing *the main thing. Infuse JOY!   Allow the Spirit to transform your women.

IDEAS!  Simply Wonderful Programs.  This is an IDEAs platform where you can browse and identify programs that can be adapted to your location. Find free downloads and materials that can be used without hours and hours of preparation.  Use these resources for other groups as well- you are limited only by your own imagination!   I have determined to present only cost-conscious ideas as prices do not determine effectiveness.  Currently serving in Moldova, Eastern Europe, I am keenly aware that inspiration and connection are achieved as women spin “hay into gold”.

Find some of our favorite ideas for your group on this blog site, and if you like them, leave a positive comment!    Seeking creative inspiration? Yes!  Always! Fight to create the group you’ve always dreamed of.

Major Ronda Gilger               grace4ashes

 

Ronda and Lamb
“feed my lambs”

 

Celebrations

“The Lord gives the word of power; the women who bear and publish the news are a great host.” – Psalms 68:11

Celebrations are “program-rich gifts”, sweet opportunities for those in your group to gather to strengthen relationships with one another and to awaken new spiritual growth.  Plan events for women of all ages to journey through the seasons of their lives in ways that are authentic and honest.  Create a bridge from celebration to faith that develops your women.  We have opportunities to integrate the gifts God has given to each woman, channeling them towards steps forward in their relationships, service, and faith.  Unwrap the gift!

The Celebration is sometimes an incredible launching pad for leaders, which is why we program in such a way that we see transformation.

Look through our program ideas and make them your own.  I have taken time to pray for all those who are creating the ministries you’ve always dreamed of.  May God guide you as you plan.  And the best way to plan? Add the “spiritual giftings” of others!

 

Conversations around the Manger

I believe that often some of the best programs capture the voice of our women as they share with one another.  Personal experiences are……. personal.  When our women share their own lives and loves- connection happens that might not otherwise.  For the leader, this is also an opportunity to “manage” a program rather than being solely responsible for all of the details.  This is one such program.

Many of your women will have Nativity Sets. (Some may not, while others have several). Invite women to bring and display their Creches, or collections that have “meaning” to them for various reasons.  “Meaning”: This is open to interpretation, isn’t it?  Your planning may be as simple or elaborate as you choose….do the Creches become centerpieces, or are they displayed on tables? Will this be a quiet time of storytelling, or will it be part of a larger program?

Sometimes the women’s stories will be about what the “Advent: Coming of the Savior” means to them personally. Their story may be focused on the person that gave them the treasure.  The story may bring back memories, or remind them of humorous family moments.

Individuals can share in small groups around tables, or representative stories can be told for the whole group.  Create Community.  Before you leave- form a circle-hold hand and pray for one another – and for others.

Devotion: A Shared Nativity Story from the Gilger Family:

“If you ever want to see Jesus again, you’ll pay the ransom!”

Nativity view of 2 sets

My children are all forces of nature. Strong, independent world changers.  I must admit that they also possess a quick wit that has always led to memorable stories at family gatherings. Like every year we decorated our tree, hung the garland and the lights, added stockings and snowmen, and laid out the Nativities.  Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the wisemen all took their places. Hot chocolate was made, Christmas music played and our 4 children acted like….. well,…. children.   I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m afraid midst the perfect moments there were dirty dishes. a few broken bulbs, and tinsel everywhere.  Hallmark Cards never quite catch the delightful humaness of family!  My husband and I chose to relax into the beauty of it all as the children asked to bring their blankets down to sleep in this place of magic.  Dishes and deep cleaning would wait until the kids were asleep.  *IF they would actually fall asleep!

As a Salvation Army officer there is a pace of Christmas busy-ness that can rob you of energy and inspiration.  The years taught us some lessons about time and memories for family and how to creatively integrate them.  There were days we could have won awards for best parents ever and others where we barely crawled into bed at night.  It is never easy, but we press on – for we are the visual representation of Christ- and this we cannot forget.  See the best- Love well.  Forgive one another often, and hold onto Jesus.

This same year our children- (we still do not know exactly WHO to this day) decided to give us a Christmas illustration that we would retell over and over.  That first day after the decorations went up- our “Baby Jesus” went missing.  In the days to follow strange things were in store for us.  One day there was a little green Star Wars Yoda lying in the manger.  Another, a ransom note that we were to leave $25  behind wisemen #2 for the safe return of the Savior of the World. There were days when there were keys in the manger… cupcakes, the lambs, and the angels took their turns.  I suppose it was their own version of “Elf on the Shelf”…   Finally, on Christmas Day – Baby Jesus appeared!  We were all waiting for it, though there was a small part of me that wondered if maybe he had been LOST forever.

Jesus is here!  Jesus is here!  So often we replace him with things, and “stuff” and activities.  So often we are sidetracked by life, and circumstances and we are captives of our exhaustion and emotions.   Jesus is central to Salvation.  He is our strength. Our Protector.  Our lifesong.  Hold onto that.

Remember Jesus in practical ways every day.  Live your life and love others in a way that is compassionate.  We are responsible for our own attitudes and our words. Others actions are not a reason for us to compromise ours.

Read Luke 2:1-20 and close in prayer.

Thankful Project DIY BLESSINGS

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.  1 Chronicles 16:34.

  • Colossians 3:15-17. …
  • Philippians 4:6. …
  • Psalm 30:12.
  • Isaiah 12:4-5. …
  • Hebrews 12:28-29. …
  • Jonah 2:9. …
  • 1 Timothy 4:4-5.

First, gather materials:

  • You will need a Woodblock or small canvas or clipboard.
  • Add Craft paper, glue, sandpaper, and an office clip
  • tack with a smooth flat “head”.

You are creating a ministry tool for yourself-family-others. As you change scripture cards you will renew your spirit. I pray that you will find this a blessing and a way to integrate scripture into your everyday life of faith.  Remember that you are not merely organizing an art activity. but teaching prayer and gratitude.

How will each woman decorate her wood block? Craft paper glued with edges sanded.  Paint?  Something else? Decisions. Decisions.  This will form the base of your Blessings Clipboard.  Use the tack to secure your clip.

Take a picture and share your finished projects with us. .

Download Thankful Card files (1-8, 9-16 & Thankful Verses) BELOW.

Thankful Project

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO DOWNLOADSCRIPTURE CARDS OF HOPE

 

CLICK THIS LINK TO DOWNLOAD THANKSGIVING CARDS 9-16

Thankful Cards 9-16

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO DOWNLOAD THANKFUL CARDS

Scripture Cards of Hope-Thankful Project

IDEA: Children’s Advent Calendar

Advent gives us the opportunity to focus on Christ’s Coming.  Simply download, print and share with your little ones!

CHILDREN’S ADVENT “Names of Jesus” ACTIVITIES Calendar
(A resource for Sunday Children’s sermons, use in any of your Children’s Ministries programs, Afterschool Club, etc.) Women’s Ministries engaging youth and adults is important ministry indeed!

Every day during the month of December one name of Jesus is given. Day 1: Youth make papercraft Advent Candles. Days 2-25 much learning is done- simple illustrations that help us to understand who Jesus is as we celebrate the season of Christ’s coming.

DOWNLOAD: Childrens Advent Book-Knowing Him by Name.pub

PREVIEW ADVENT CALENDAR

Women’s Ministries Cafe Program

Create a “Coffee Tasting event” by simply brewing some good quality “regular” and “decaf” coffee… But…. the fun will be in the “topping bar”: whipped cream, caramel, flavored syrups, sprinkles, etc. Yum. Your imagination is the limit! Tea is always a great addition too! 

Option for a Ladies’ Night Out: Meet at a local Coffee shop having printed off “sealed order devotions.

DEVOTION: Sometimes we need a “get-away” to refresh and restore our well-being. Welcome to the Women’s Ministries “Get-Away Cafe”.  This time together is time-set aside to spend time in a safe loving environment. Life is filled with moments of elation and times of great loss. Every time we gather together we acknowledge that there are friends among us who are experiencing the spectrum of what it means to be human. (*prayers for your women-for one another).

And still, Christ is faithful. Tonight we choose to renew.  We choose to refocus on Him. We consider taking a moment to “have coffee” with the Lord.  He is: 
1. Our Counselor–John 14:26
2. Our Comforter– 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
3. Our Friend–John 15:15
4. Our Peace–John 14:27
5. Our Joy–Romans 15:13

Think about giving this gift to yourself- “Coffee with Christ” every day.
Not your daily routine, but a special time planned just for you and the Lord, similar to the way you’d plan a leisurely meeting with a close friend.
cafe