A Note from Mary Margaret West: I love the conversation between Rebecca and Rachel that you’ll find in today’s post. Their partnership together to help girls better understand who Jesus is through events is awesome! Whether you’re a volunteer or paid leader, what you bring to the table is incredibly valuable, and we should all surround ourselves with other women who can help us dream.
Rachel is a volunteer in her church’s student ministry. She is in her 20’s and remembers all too well the struggles of high school. Rachel is passionate about walking alongside girls as they navigate the Bible and real life. She recently asked me to meet with her and discuss planning a girls’ event.
Rachel’s church is multi-site. The planning of big events like camp and DNOW runs through the central campus. Satellite campuses plan their mid-week events and anything specifically geared to their students. Volunteer leaders are encouraged to plan ministry events that impact the students they influence. Rachel got the go-ahead from her Student Pastor to plan a girls’ event!
Rachel: I’m so excited to plan an event for my high school girls! I work with them during our mid-week and on Sunday nights at home groups. We have about 25 girls that come regularly. I would love for this event to feed into an overnight retreat we might do next fall.
Me: Rachel, this is awesome! I love that you want to put the time and energy into planning something for your girls. What activities do you think would be fun?
Rachel: Painting! I’m not super good at it but I think it would be really fun. I did a team building thing at my last job where we painted as group and it actually turned out great.
Me: What about the purpose of the night? Is there anything God is pressing on your heart to teach the girls?
Rachel: Definitely community. There’s so much drama and emotion in relationships. I’m always amazed at the hurtful things they say and do to each other without thinking. I wish I could show them what it means to live in biblical community with each other.
Over the next hour Rachel and I discussed how to incorporate community and painting. Rachel already had great ideas. I came alongside sharing knowledge from past experiences and some details for planning. God was leading her passion and using me to help outline the execution of it. One of my big pieces of advice was the practical nature of presenting biblical truth. Sometimes we get grandiose with our message and forget that our teenagers are still maturing in their ability to process it. They need relatable, practical ideas to connect truth. Community can be reshaped into smaller lessons including grace-filled friendships, honest accountability, how to love difficult personalities and the greater good of serving in a body of believers. This allows a big idea to teach over several events and even feed into an overnight retreat. We’re reinforcing solid truth in bite-sized pieces that give room for lots of discussion and practice.
All of our churches need great volunteer leaders like Rachel to take on the joy of ministry in the sphere of influence God has given them. One of our main goals should be leading leaders, not just students. You can’t reach every girl in your ministry, but you can grow high capacity volunteers to join the work of the church by using their passion and talents. That looks like an example of a beautiful community to me!
More event planning details to consider:
- Pick a date and check it with the church and school calendar. We can’t rearrange everything for sporting games and prom, but we can plan strategically.
- Ask for a budget so you can spend accordingly. Buy in bulk, use coupons, order online and reach out for donations.
- Research materials and what it would cost per girl to attend. You need details on how much the registration fee will cover and how much budget you need to break even.
- Discuss a registration fee with the Student Pastor. Charging for an event makes it valuable both to you and the girls coming. Free can be great but sometimes it makes it easier for someone to back out at the last minute. Even a small registration fee helps attendees to make it a priority on their calendar.
- Recruit more volunteers that work around your target group and invite them to join the fun! You need them and the girls need them!
- Pray for God to reveal Bible truth that guides the theme of the event. God is a master of weaving songs on the radio, blog posts in your inbox and random conversations with friends to reinforce his beautiful message. I am always pleasantly amazed at his ‘anything but coincidence’ moments that fill in the gaps for what I’m teaching. God has a message and he’s using you to convey it. He is intimately involved in making sure you understand it yourself before you teach it.
Rebecca Bradford is a mom of three who happily just sent her youngest off to kindergarten and skipped all the way home. She served for over 20 years in SAGE Ministries and as the Director of Girls Ministry at Lake Pointe Church for 15 years. Currently, Rebecca is called Queen of her own home, and teaches and volunteers in Girlz 4 God, Gather Moms, and discipling 4th grade girls. She loves encouraging girls and moms with transparent truth that helps them understand God’s grace and feel connected with others experiencing similar struggles. Her easy going spirit makes her a joy to be around and she is never short of laughs. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for 18 years and loves doing ministry together in their hometown of Rockwall, Texas.