Plan Your Own Program

Plan Your Own Program
Matilda Nordtvedt & Pearl Steinkuehler

Special Speaker

It is permissible and sometimes quite desirable to postpone a planned program so that you can have the privilege of hearing a guest speaker. A steady diet of speakers will hamper your women’s creativity and learning experiences, but an excellent speaker from time to time blesses the hearers.

If a missionary or authority in some subject pertinent to the women is coming to town, by all means utilize her. Plan with her as far in advance as possible to develop a good program. Advertise her coming. Encourage her to use slides, curios, maps, and any other visual aids that would enhance learning. Gear any decorations and refreshments to her field, if possible. Pray purposefully for her and her work. Take an offering for her if that is in keeping with your church policies. By all means, pay her enough to cover any expenses incurred plus an honorarium.

Create A Program

Do your have a church ladies meeting with no ideas for a program? You can fret, stew, pull your hair, race around the library or bookstores hoping to stumble upon some usable idea; or you can try the following plan.

1. Pray, asking God to guide your thoughts. The Creator is the author of creativity, and He will plant wise ideas when asked (James 1:5).

2. Surround yourself with a Bible that has a good concordance, a dictionary, and your favorite hymnbook.

3. Begin calmly and prayerfully to read the Scriptures. You may begin in the Psalms or some other book that you particularly love. Does a verse suggest a topic the women would profit from studying? Jot down thoughts that come to your mind as you think of the verse and topic.

4. Now thumb through your hymnal. Does a song suggest an idea to you? Look in the topical index for related songs. You may want to build your entire program around hymns. Often a hymn will suggest topics verse by verse.

Does your songbook identify Scripture verses related to particular songs? Does it have a section of related readings from Scripture?

5. With a topic fairly in mind, look up the key word in a dictionary. Does the detailed definition mention other facets you should investigate? Check those in an encyclopedia.

6. At the end of this creative session, you probably have a verse, a topic, and a song that correlate.

7. Now go to the library and check the topic in the card catalogue. Browse through some books on the subject. If your interest is a current topic, look in the Guide to Periodical Literature to see what is in recent magazines. That resource is particularly helpful if your topic deals with events in countries in which you have a missions interest.

If you have a program planning committee, ask them to try steps 1 through 5 separately. Then meet together to discuss individual ideas. Each person’s creativity will spur the others, and ideas will soon develop. If too many ideas surface, write them down for future programs. (Possible topics: women in the Bible, trust, tears, rearing children, trials, praise.)

A hymn or verse may suggest a simple visual idea that you could develop into a poster or a center of interest. Use visuals in your programming as much as possible. They stimulate interest and deepen learning experiences.

Other sources that spark program ideas are:

Christian biographies
Devotional books
Poetry books
Greeting cards
Napkins with printed messages
Holidays and seasonal events
General and church calendars (special days and emphases)
Paintings
Newspaper and magazine articles and advertisements (Ads are especially good for slogans.)
Observing people

For a well-rounded program package, serve refreshments and use decorations related to the season or the program topic. Sometimes you can correlate with both the season and the topic.

The Wright Studio Accessories is an excellent resource for decorative, colorful, and educational aids for meetings with a missions flair. Order a free catalogue from: The Wright Studio, 5638 East Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46219. They offer napkins, puzzle mats, favors, program folders, centerpieces, and a wealth of creative ideas to help decorate and educate on most countries of the world. They also feature these topics among others: race; people of special need; urban missions; church; Bible; Christian flags; biblical understanding of missions; peace and reconciliation; justice and human rights; ecology and technology; affluence and poverty; and communicating the gospel.

Let friends know what your subject is, and invite them to supplement the learning experience with curios, mementos, and experiences they may have had. The more people involved in the program preparation and presentation, the greater the number who will attend and be edified by your women’s meeting.

Now check out your program plan. Does it:

Inspire?
Inform?
Invite action that will minister to someone, solve a problem or result in spiritual growth or a change in attitude?

If it meets all those criteria, begin enthusiastically to praise God for the plan He has given you, and begin to “put feet” to your prayers and plans.

Prayer and program power to you!

Excepted from ‘Women’s Programs for Every Season’ By Matilda Nordtvedt & Pearl Steinkuehler

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

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