Bonding, learning and growing closer to God may be some of the goals for a women's church conference. While articulating the goals of the conference are important, having great ideas and executing them well will make it a success. From choosing the type of conference to have, to the location, and everything in between, a lot of decisions have to be made. This means you need a lot of ideas to throw around.
Catering To Different Women
A women's conference can be presented in many types. You may choose to have a conference for the older women in the church, the younger women in the church or for all women. There may be a great opportunity to have a conference for single women in the church, or even for women who recently married. Or what about cancer survivors and the women still fighting the disease? How about the women in the church who have overcome something, whether it be domestic violence or drugs or alcohol? What about single mothers? You can hold a conference of any type, for any type of woman. Just be sure that the type of conference you choose is something that could hold interest among the women in your church. Make sure it is something they would be excited about attending. Womensministry.net, a website for women seeking resources for any type of ministry and outreach topics, shares descriptions of various ideas for functions for women, such as "Outreach: Single Moms," and "Event: Mirror, Mirror On the Wall." The different ideas listed on the site are engaging, and give women the chance to open up to each other in a deeper way than they may have thought they could have.
Where To Stay
While you're bouncing around ideas for the type of women's conference to have, think about the location where you may want to have it. If it is during a typical cold month, you may want to consider some type of resort---one away from a body of water. If it is during one of the warmer months, come up with ideas where you could incorporate the nice weather into the conference itinerary. Choose a place that allows for outdoorsy activities while on downtime during the conference stay. For example, choosing to stay at a place in walking distance to a shopping mall or a beach gives the conference attendees something fun or relaxing to do in their free time. Also, think about distance. How far, or near, would you want to travel? Sometimes making the trip can be just as exciting as after you have arrived at the actual destination spot.
How Long To Stay
How long the conference will be is as equally important to consider. Most conferences are a weekend event. Some are two days; others last for only one day. The one-day conference is usually an all-day event, with maybe one big break during the middle of the day. The two-day and weekend conferences designate the early mornings and late evenings to conference activities, and allow much free time during the day. Some weekend conferences even allot most of the second day to free time and sightseeing. How you plan out your conference activities will heavily depend on where you are staying and how long you will be staying there. So plan accordingly.
Making Attendees Feel Welcomed
Everyone wants to feel welcomed wherever they go. A women's church conference is no exception. Make the conference attendees feel like they belong; make them see that you are glad they came and happy to see each and every one of them. Have small tokens of appreciation for them as they arrive, such as a gift bag that includes a conference-themed T-shirt that you may ask them to wear at a specific time during the conference. You could also include an itinerary, a conference-themed mug and ink pens. The token of appreciation can be anything you want. If you make the attendees feel special, they will feel good about being there and will give their all to make the conference a successful event.
The "meat" of a conference is the various workshops and sessions that are provided, to inform, entertain or enhance the attendees in some way. From something as fun and simple as "Double-Dutch Jump Roping Your Way To Health," to something more profound like "Getting To Know God On a More Intimate Level," the topics for a women's church conference are endless. Center your workshop/session topics around the theme of your conference. For example, if the conference theme is "Golden Women: Continuing the Work of God," which would be a catered toward older women in the church, then you could hold a workshop on the topic of staying in good physical and spiritual health, and hold a session about the women of the Bible. While compiling ideas for workshops and sessions, keep in mind your target women, who will be attending the conference. Make sure the topics you come up with are ones they could relate to. Also, be mindful of the people you choose to facilitate the workshops and present the sessions. The target women must be able to relate to them as well.
When deciding who you want to facilitate the workshops and present the sessions at the conference, ask yourself: 1. Is he or she personable? Can people easily relate to him or her? 2. Is he or she knowledgeable on the topic? 3. Does he or she have enough experience with facilitating workshops and/or presenting sessions? If the answer is "yes" to all of these questions, then he or she may be right for your conference. With a strong foundation based off good ideas, enthusiastic attendees, the right location and engaging workshops/sessions, your women's church conference has the potential to be a very successful one--one the women in the church will still be talking about for months after it has passed.
- women in hats image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com