Top 10 list of Ministry Ideas in Tough Economy

In these tough economic times many churches and ministries are tempted to scale back on planning events so that it won’t put any added burden on women who are struggling to make ends meet. The problem is that this is exactly the time when we need to gather for fellowship and encouragement. Here is a “Top 10” list that can help women’s leaders plan more effective events that are perfect for this tough economy.
1. Use your own members: Organize an event that uses your own members as the leaders. You can find different women who have specialities and have them lead small groups or you may have someone who would be able to teach a large group time. Look around and see who has a story to tell that others can relate to and go from there. You may want to gather several women and hold a panel discussion on a specific topic. be creative and allow God to direct you to the right women.
2. Reinvent the covered dish: Most often the cost of an event is largely tied up in the food. Keep costs down by either asking everyone to bring a dish to share or enlist a team of women to organize the different dishes you want to offer and let them designate who brings what. You could decide on a theme and plan the food around that.
3. Network with Other Churches: Find some other churches in your area and share or trade Bible Study materials with them. Your church could buy one study and theirs a different one then after you finish, trade studies.
4. Plan 1 night events: Schedule your next event on an evening so that your costs can stay low. You even start a little later so that everyone has dinner before arriving then offer a dessert fellowship after the program.
5. Serve Others: Remember that if the economic crisis has hit you hard then it has devastated many others. Organize your women to focus on helping others. Service projects are a great way to build strong bonds and show people the love of Jesus in a practical way. The bonus is that your struggles tend to diminish in the face of what others may be dealing with.
6. Start a Support Group: Offer the opportunity for women who have lost their jobs or who’s husbands have lost their jobs to gather for support and encouragement. Let your community know it is available and you may be surprised at the outreach it can become.
7. Get Out of the Church: Take your Bible Studies out of the church and hold them in different homes in the community so that people don’t have to spend much time or money on gas to be involved.
8. Decorate for Less: Womens’ events always have the issue of decorating. Go old school and use things you already have at the church or enlist different women to hostess each table and make decorating her table part of her duties.
9. Simplicity and Relevance: Don’t ignore the issues that people are dealing with but rather plan a event to specifically address them. Make it a brown bag night or just very simple in all details. Offer topics such as how to dress, dine, decorate on a budget. Consider inviting a financial specialist to speak on practical advice in troubling times.
10. See the big Picture: Plan your events to coincide with other large gatherings like just after church or when the youth or children are already doing something. Take the stress off of women who are worried about being all things to all people and who feel guilty for taking time out for themselves.
These are just a few ideas. Whatever you decide to do, don’t give up on ministry. Women need encouragement and support more now than ever before.
Rachel Lovingood is an author and speaker who also serves as a Women’s Ministry Trainer for Lifeway Christian Resources. She is married to a minister, has three kids and wrote “In Our Shoes”, a Bible Study for ministers’ wives which just released in February 2009. You can find out more details about Rachel’s ministry and speaking schedule at http://www.rachellovingood.com or her blog at http://inourshoesthestudy.wordpress.com/

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