That’s a wrap! Highlights from the Women in Small Churches Conference 2020
(Hi! I’m Laurie. If we haven’t met, I’m a Brethren pastor’s wife out in Tucson. For a year and half now, I’ve been developing a ministry to women in small churches everywhere. The Women in Small Churches Conference was our most recent endeavor!)
The first-ever Women in Small Churches Conference on October 16-17 was a raving success. With over 1300 registrations and hundreds of ongoing connections, it clearly met a need for women in small churches everywhere.
While the 25 speakers hailed from the U.S. and Canada, conference attendees ranged all the way to New Zealand & Australia, South America, and Europe. With the availability of extended-access passes, even those in other time zones could benefit from the encouragement & training. Diverse and interdenominational, our unity in Christ was beautiful and rare.
“I’ve been sharing with everyone and anyone that will listen about the phenomenal conference you and your team put on. I can’t wait for next year!!!”
Women in small churches are tired…
Most women in small churches are frustrated with the lack of volunteers, tired of doing too much themselves, or spread so thin they are on the verge of burnout. This conference was all about meeting their needs. From inspiration & encouragement, to practical ministry tools & strategies, this conference delivered what it promised. Speakers included not only small church ministry leaders, but also professional counselors addressing compassion fatigue and healing from church hurt.
“Such a well done event and truly a blessing to me. I didn't know how much I needed this. Martha Lawley’s keynote is a must to re-watch... thank you for helping us to see ourselves in our little churches from God’s perspective!”
How was the conference set up?
The conference took place in an online platform called Hopin. Very different from zoom or google hangouts, Hopin offers a virtual conference center, including a reception area, main stage, session breakout rooms, an expo, and even a networking room (which worked a little like speed-dating for friends!). With active chat-boxes and options for video meet-ups, the conversations, encouragement, and questions were abundant.
“I will admit that I was skeptical about an online conference but this one was wonderful! ... It was spirit-led, organized and thoughtful, and very informational. You all really worked so hard to put this on for God’s glory and I so appreciate it. Thank you!!!”
What made this conference different from any other?
The focus on small churches. We need to stop the comparison game, recognize the gift, and start embracing small church ministry the way that Jesus did. If you understand the truth about small church ministry, how God works in small churches, and start aligning with Him, everything changes.
The focus on women. While pastors in small churches sometimes have denominations looking out for them, local pastor’s groups, or church ministry boards, the women serving in small churches as volunteers or staff often feel very alone, ill-equipped, and crave more support.
“My head is so full of what I learned over the weekend, I am practically dizzy. Thank you so much for the professional and well-planned conference. It is undoubtedly the best conference I have ever attended. Thanks again.”
Was the conference really free?
The conference was absolutely no-cost to attend live. This fits our mission of getting amazing encouragement and quality ministry training to women small churches. However “free to attend” doesn’t mean it was free to produce! The optional upgrades for extended-access passes, which included everything from replays to super-valuable speaker bonuses for a crazy-low price, helped pay for production costs.
“I thank God for the conference and I’m looking to log-on this weekend with my VIP pass to watch more of what I missed.”
With reviews like this, clearly we’ll be coming back with more! In response to the feedback we’ve received, we are planning several Saturday-only conferences specific to ministry areas. Our first will be a one-day conference in January 2021 entirely focused on Women’s Ministries in Small Churches. We’ll be taking a deep dive into women’s ministry programming, leading studies, staying connected in quarantine times, zoom tips, social media promotion, event ideas, outreach, and more. As one of our reviews said, “I loved the encouragement! But what I need now is less preaching and more teaching! Tell me what to do next!” So … you asked for it, you got it!