How often are you able to sneak away to a women's retreat and spend a few days along side sisters in Christ learning, worshiping, and encouraging?
My guess is not very often.
I try to go once a year but these crazy things called pregnancy and new babies frequently got in the way. My worship time was limited to church and my own home and my time with other women for learning and encouraging was once or twice a month with my Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group.
I've been on the leadership team for my MOPS group for the last seven years. As leadership we get to plan the speakers for the meetings, decide on decor, and choose mom-only social outings. We try to get in a good mix of topics ranging from women's issues and Christ centered parenting to home management and budgeting. Our social outings are usually fun and fluffy like shopping at a resale shop, movies, ice cream, or an around the town scavenger hunt. All designed to give us moms tools for being the best moms and women we can be plus have some fun as friends.
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Last summer, as we sat down to look at the calendar and choose outings, someone brought up the idea of a worship night. A night at the church for just us. No kids, no husbands. Just women coming together to praise and worship God. We all agreed it was a great idea and we put it on the calendar for spring. A night later in the year would give our group a chance to get to know one another and feel a little more comfortable in what can be an incredibly intimate setting.
In April we hosted this night of worship. Nearly two hours of singing and praying together as a group. I was blown away at how many women attended. You may look at this picture and think it looks fairly stark but let me assure you, the amount of women that showed up was beyond what I was expecting. At our regular April meeting we had twenty people in attendance. A normal mom's night out event has about eight to ten women. The worship night brought fifteen women together. Fifteen! That's 75% of the women that were at our regular meeting.
There were tears, there were shouts of praise. There was hugging, praying, and encouraging. And it was so, so, so good. Nearly everyone agreed that it was an incredible night. Requests to do another next year have already started to come in. Clearly there is something to coming together as women in the presence of God.
So how do you plan your own Women's Worship Night?
Pray for plans to go smoothly. Pray for the women you invite. Pray for the families they represent. Pray for this idea and event to honor God and bring people closer to him. Pray for direction and wisdom for all the details before you do any actual planning.
2. Choose a venue & date
We booked our church months in advance for this night. The administrative pastor for our church happens to be a part of our MOPS group so it's easy for us to get on the calendar. Check with your church and see if there is a night that you can use the building. If the sanctuary isn't available perhaps a conference room or classroom would work for your group.
3. Figure out the technical aspects well in advance
I know how to run the computer set up at our church. I have access to the a/v booth and can get the projector up and running. Many of you might not be able to do this. If you need someone to run video and sound for you I'd suggest checking with your church for a volunteer to help for the night you have planned. It would do no good to do all this planning and then realize you have no way to play the music! Not that music is a necessity for worship but for many it is a huge help in getting into the right frame of mind.
4. Invite people
While a solo worship night could be incredibly powerful the whole point of this is to plan a night with other women. Or a morning. Or an afternoon. You get the point. Who are you inviting to this event? Is it the women's ministry at your church? Young moms? Perhaps you want to open it up to any woman in the area you live in. This is another great thing to pray about. You may be thinking of a small, intimate group but maybe God wants you to use this as an outreach opportunity. Invite the people God moves you to invite.
5. Create a playlist
I'm so thankful we live in an age of technology with millions of resources at our fingertips. For our worship night I went to YouTube and created a playlist. Did you know you can find ready-made videos to worship songs with the lyrics? In fact, many artists have them on their official channels!
In order to create our playlist I first chose a few songs that really speak to me, but this worship night is not only for me! It's for all the women coming together. I put a call to action in our group's Facebook page for the women to list their favorite praise and worship songs. The response was fantastic! Many songs were repeated so those got a spot but others listed artists so I pick and chose songs I thought would work well. This is the playlist we used for our night of worship. My aim was for the night to last 1.5-2 hours and I think we clocked in just over 1.5 hours of music followed by some great conversation.
6. Arrive in advance
Show up with enough time to make sure things are in place. You will also want your tech person/people (if there are any) to arrive in advance and get the a/v equipment set up. It's a great idea to set up boxes of tissues around the room and perhaps bottles of water.
Arriving in advance of the guests also ensures you can greet them as they arrive. Let them know how glad you are to see them. A genuine greeting can make a huge difference in a first impression or even a hundredth impression.
Before the night begins and the music starts to play, lead the group in prayer. If you don't feel comfortable praying aloud you can ask a mentor or other member of the group to pray. Thank God for the group of women he has brought together. Ask for open hearts. Ask for Him to meet every women right where they are. Ask for blessings for each family that is represented by the women attending. Pray however you feel led.
8. Enjoy your night
Focus on why you are doing this and enjoy your night in the presence of God, surrounded by sisters in Christ.
Have you ever gone to a women's worship night? How often do you get to worship with other women? Are you going to try and plan a worship night?