Girl, the world has changed, hasn’t it? Indeed it has! As a result, so has women’s ministry -or at least our approach to it. In my own church, my role in women’s ministry is not very pronounced these days, but I know one thing hasn’t changed – people long to connect with one another. Nothing changes that – ever. Here you’ll find some cool, easy-to-implement tips for women’s ministry virtual events and even family Zoom sessions!
Women’s ministry virtual events are when women participate in a fellowship, networking activity from the comfort of their own homes. Plan a fun, engaging experience to ensure all women learn and have a great time together.
Why should we be intentional about these online women fellowships?
My reason for writing this is simple.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced some real “duds” as it relates to online interactions. Yeah, some of these events have been “stinkers” and better than Sominex! In fact, I sometimes black my screen so I don’t have to look at their boring PowerPoints and expressionless faces.
Whether it’s boring meetings at work or boring meetings at church, we all could use a bit of advice when it comes to “connecting” better virtually.
Also, we want to do a good job reaching women and encouraging them in the Lord. You can’t do that if you don’t keep their interest.
NOTE: Even if you’re not doing an online women’s event, you can use these tips for your work meetings, and again, family Zoom sessions or any online event!
Let me tell you about it. Literally. Click below to hear a thought.
As an online trainer, I’ll share some useful tips to help make your virtual session successful for both you and the women in your ministry group. Granted, I’m not a “sage” or some online-session Yoda. It’s just that I’ve done quite a few of them and have learned what works and what doesn’t.
How do I measure my acumen or my expertise? There is only one way to gauge it: through evaluations and mine are VERY good and I’m paid well to do them.
So, prepare some method for the folks to give you feedback about the online experience.
Christian Woman Ministry Leader, this feedback can hurt your feelings, but it’s a good “hurt” because it will help you improve for those yet to come!
First, know your online platform.
You better know how to work the technology LONG BEFORE your online women’s ministry virtual event.
Few things are more frustrating than being on a GoToWebinar or Zoom call and the facilitator doesn’t know how to use it properly. You know that confused look folks have as they are clicking and looking for something on their side of the screen.
Granted, we should be patient and have grace with them, but if we are leading a discussion or an online Sunday School class, we should be prepared too. Don’t you agree?
This means rehearse, practice, and rehearse again, Christian Woman!
See, I’ve done a few online get-together, women’s events and other stuff for women I know.
Let me tell you, before each one, my poor 14-year-old has to test the platform with me a hundred times. I do it before every single one because my internet may need to be reset on that particular day or perhaps I’ve had a brain “burp” and forgotten something I need to know about the technology.
Do you want to know something else? I’ve been known to put my cell phone in a room logged into my Zoom session. Then, I host a “practice” Zoom meeting in a closet or on another floor around the house. It sounds hokey, but it helps me with audio, wifi connection, and all that stuff!
Here is how I did it: lay the phone next to a television or in front of the TV with the camera fixed on the screen.
Then, I’d take my laptop or iPad into another room or on the lowest level of the house and test it all out. Once I even took it outside!
I know this is being “extra”, but I’d rather know how things look and sound before my online session so I don’t look like a Goober.
Yeah, know your platform – if not for yourself and your own image, do it for the women participating in it. You want them to have the best experience possible, right? Do what old people used to call “due diligence” to make sure it is a MAGNIFICENT experience!
Prepare them…for anything!
Send them anything they will need prior to the session.
The way adults learn comes into play here. When people entered a new environment, even an online one, they can be in a sense of “fight” or “flight” which means their primal brain is in a survival mode.
If your goal is to “teach” or have them share, you need to transition them into a calmer state of being.
You can do this with icebreakers, calming conversations (that don’t put them on the spot), or even a simple breathing -in and out – sort of activity. Your goal: to connect with them, relax, and mentally transition them to your learning space.
Always let the participants know what to expect during your women’s ministry virtual events.
Will they talk? Tell them prior.
Will they only answer questions? Let them know they can kick back and just take it all in.
What will they need to bring? Will they need markers, paper? Anything to fully participate in the women’s ministry virtual events?
Even if you recommend they bring something to eat or drink, let them know ahead of time (can you say Christian happy hour?) Tell them about any and everything they will need before the online women’s ministry session.
Click below to hear more about what I think about this topic. Hey, it’s a blog. It’s all about what I think, right?
Relaxed Christian women are better than stressed Christian women.
An icebreaker prepares women to learn. It also helps them build a sense of “sisterhood” with the other women. Granted, it won’t be a sisterhood built overnight, but it’s a start.
Regardless of how virtual the world becomes, good old-fashioned relationships will always have a place! Believe it!
Icebreaker ideas for fun, engaging, interactive women’s ministry virtual events or classes:
1. My Name Icebreaker
Say: “You have 20 seconds to come up with as many words as you can …using only the letters in your first name. Go!”
2. Name 3 characters in the Bible who inspired you.
3. What is your favorite Bible translation and why?
4. Go gather 3 things near you that really make you smile.
5. Who’s your favorite Bible Character…of all time?
6. Name a song (Christian or secular) that is the soundtrack to your life.
7. What’s the funniest thing that happened to you as a kid?
2. Would you rather?
Say: I’m going to ask a question with two options. Indicate your preference/response to my question by holding up 1 finger for the first option or 2 fingers for the second option.
Here are some examples:
Ask: “Would you rather…”
- Jog or walk?
- Eat cake or ice cream?
- Read your Bible or hear it read to you?
- Be inside or outside?
- Watch a sermon or hear a sermon?
- Dance or sit?
- Laugh or think?
- Be able to sing really well or play an instrument really well?
- A nice dinner or a good book?
- Drive or be driven?
- Be the life of the party or the quiet observer?
- If you have superpowers, would you want to read minds or fly?
- Have a neighbor who’s talkative and outgoing or quiet and reserved?
- Be a Mary or a Martha? (From Luke 10:38-42)
- What Bible miracles would you rather have witnessed? Jesus healing or Samson tearing down the pillars?
- Have been married to Moses or Peter? (Think about their lives and what they did and where they were.)
- Have coffee or tea?
- On a flight, rather have a cookie as the snack or nuts?
- If you had to lose one, would you prefer to lose cake or pie?
- Have a hot dog or a burger?
Remember: tell them to hold up one finger for each response. Example: 1 finger for coffee and 2 fingers for tea.
Keep it fun and keep it light.
3. Do interactive activities.
Remember how fun Sunday School songs were when you were a kid? Guess what: they’re STILL fun! It sounds hokey, but kids’ songs are a fun way to relax adults online and get everyone on the same page.
Plus, since folks are online, they will be more likely to take risks and act silly than when they are all face to face. Don’t believe me? Think Twitter! Everyone is bold behind a screen, right?
Do a round of Father Abraham!
Substitute the movements for some that work while being seated. Need a refresher? See below:
You can do this with ANY SONG!
For instance, for Jesus loves me. Make it active!
Ok. I’m being a dork for you and “demo-ing” for you. Click play.
Want more song ideas? Click here. You can also Google “Sunday School Songs – Active.”
How about a question game?
Who doesn’t love games that help you get to know people and share a bit about yourself at the same time!
If you have a large group, you ask “yes” or “no” questions and have people raise their hands to indicate their answers.
Ask any of these questions:
- “What is the strangest gift you have ever received?”
- “Of all the people in the Bible, who do you relate to the most? Why?”
- “If you could appear in a reality show, which would you choose? Why?” See the pattern? The “why” questions allow people to share a bit of themselves during the time together.
- “Are you more of a listener or a talker.” Example: “Raise your hand if you are more of a talker.”
- “Aside from the usual stuff (i.e. home, health, strength, food, etc.), how has God shown up in your life in the last 24 hours?”
- “What is your dream job?”
- “When you were a child, what was your biggest dream?”
- “What talent would you most like to cultivate and develop?”
- “If you could pick or choose any spiritual gift, what would it be? Why?”
- “What is your prayer style? Are you more of a lion or a turtle?” Let them explain.
- Do you pray sitting up, walking, or lying down?
After each person shares, go absolutely bananas thanking them for sharing their thoughts. It will demonstrate you value them and are thankful for their participation.
When someone shares their ideas, knowledge, or thoughts, it’s really a sort of gift. They didn’t have to share it. Let them know you appreciate them. It may also inspire others to interact too!
It happened to me… a trainer!
Have you ever been in a large group and answered a question only to have the facilitator give you a cold response. I know I have and I was like “Dang, did I answer it “right” or “wrong”? Did I cut you off in traffic on the way here or something? Was I mean to you on the playground in the 70s?
Don’t leave your participants unsure about their contribution, praise each one! Remember, it’s a gift.
Instead, calm folks down so they can enjoy themselves and be fully present knowing you value them.
Did you know adults tend to enter environments with the perception
they know something about what they are being taught?
Yep, and they are right too!
If you’re training Christian women…
If your environment is learning-focused or a class, don’t act as though you know absolutely everything about the topic. This is a big “turn off” for adult learners – especially online.
Be sure to ask loads of questions and leverage what they already know as you lead the conversation and deliver information.
For example, if your topic is about patience, ask something like “someone shares a time when you had to be patient.” Take a few responses and move on.
Maybe then ask something like “Someone please share a time when you weren’t as patient as you could have been? We all have those moments and this is a judgment-free zone.”
After they share and you really praise their response, use it FAVORABLY in an example or link it to the content or subject in some way.
This is easier to do than to explain.
If you want a strong example, let me know in the comments. In the end, the biggest faux pas you can make is acting as though you know “everything”. Want some tips or to learn about how adults learn? Check out this document from Michigan State University by Dr. Lela Vandenberg.
If your online women’s ministry event is fellowship-centered, the same goes. The women should be as much a part of the process as possible. Don’t let your event be something done TO them. Make it an experience done WITH them.
Thirdly, get those ladies talking and sharing!
OMG! If I attend one more boring online event that makes me feel “unnecessary”, I’ll scream! Some women’s ministry virtual events seem they need no participants at all. If you don’t need any interaction, just do a YouTube video as Priscilla Shire did! It’s ok to have a one-sided experience sometimes.
Otherwise, include the women in every step of the experience.
Make it interactive. Create the visuals (i.e. PowerPoint or Prezi) so they are fun, colorful, and reinforce important points as you go along. The biggest key is getting them involved!
Yeah, encourage interaction. Ask questions. Here are a few ideas to make your women’s ministry virtual events more interactive and open:
- “What do you hope to experience during our time together? “
The answer can help you ensure people get what they came for. It’s also important so you will know if their expectation is unrealistic. Knowing what they want can help you shape future online women’s ministry events! It’s good information to have.
- “How could this women’s ministry online session be a total failure or waste your time?”
Knowing what they do NOT want to happen helps you too. You are “getting into their head” a bit with this question. With this insight, you will know what sorts of things annoy the women during your women’s ministry virtual event. Trust me, it’s a good idea. Remember, each group may be different. Just adjust, re-direct, and be “ready on your feet”!
- You don’t have to ask questions! You could also ask the ladies to take a moment to grab something special to them and share why it is cherished. If you took my advice, they already know this could happen. You could also make this zany and ask them to grab one thing that is to the left of them. Give them maybe 5 seconds and have them come back to the camera and explain what it is and what it means to them. Note: most people will get a picture of their kids or their dogs. You’ve been warned.
Position your laptop in a way that flatters you and doesn’t give you three chins!
Instead of looking down, maybe, you can put the laptop on a shoebox or something so you will look more natural.
Check me out below. You’ve got to admit the picture of me on the left looks like a dork and even a little creepy. *hahaha*
These pics were taken only seconds apart and even the lighting seems different. It’s all about angles and height.
See the difference an angle makes?
How you look in Zoom or online sessions matters.
Try to have good lighting and remember, natural light is best. God does all things well, doesn’t He? He even makes me look younger when I sit in front of a window!
When I don’t have a sunny day to help me look “cheery” and bright, I’ll take a lamp – remove the lampshade- and put it behind the laptop to illuminate my face.
Smokes and mirrors, Girl! Ask any celebrity and they will tell ya they don’t look like that magazine cover!
Remember, the light needs to be in front of your face – not to the side, nor behind you either. It works best in front of you.
Finally, think of your background.
Background matters. Some people opt for the virtual backgrounds, but I don’t use them. It’s a matter of preference.
At the same time, backgrounds are part of the mood of the online call or women’s ministry event. No wonder YouTubers do tons of videos on staging the background of videos!
The background in my images above is from my bedroom. I purchased the stencil from Amazon for less than $20! Plus, it was super easy to apply. Click to view them here.
The best part: I get to showcase a scripture whenever I do a call.
These are like a flexible material but very sturdy. I’m an Amazon Affiliate.
Don’t these make the PERFECT Zoom background?
Finally, I said it once and I’ll say it again. Whether online or offline, people need the same things online as they do in-person.
People need to feel welcomed. They need to feel valued and they need to get something from the process.
Join me online! Free!
For the first time ever, I’m planning an online session to continue the learning! It’s completely free and I’ll answer any questions I can.
Afterward, you can join my Facebook Group to keep the conversation going. Don’t worry, I’m not selling you anything. It’s just as I said. I’ve been to so many boring, bad online workshops and events and I think I can help.
Would you like to join me?
The information is below:
Topic: Online Women’s Ministry Best Practices
Time: Sep 3, 2020 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
This event has already passed. So sorry.
It will be a fun Zoom meeting and we’ll try all this out!
The only rules are:
- You must show your video or your face during the entire session. I need to see you and also know you’re a woman and not some dude looking for a date. I ain’t got time for that.
- If you want to attend, you need to contact me below and I’ll send all the registration information to you. Again, for the reasons stated above.
- Please come ready to try out a few of these icebreakers live! Come ready to share as well as learn. This is not a training session although I will have a some PowerPoint pieces for the visual learners. I’ll share my tips, but I want to learn as well. We all do, right?
Online sessions can be so much fun! Let’s talk about how we can make them just that…together!
If you belong to my church, please do not disclose the name of the church or any of my personal information. Thank you.