When you plan a ladies’ craft night outreach, a retreat, a mother-daughter event, or other special ladies’ meeting, where do you begin? I begin with a theme. Sure, you could just choose a fun activity, add any devotional, bring a plate of cookies, and call it good enough. Most activities, however, become much stronger when you plan them around a theme. You might find ideas off the internet, but this let’s say you’d like to create your own theme. Where do you begin?
As a writer I’m used to developing ideas and I’ve been developing my own ministry ideas for about forty years. I start with an idea and keep working until I’ve developed these components: visual theme, theme tagline, Bible verse or Scripture that goes with the theme, related activities.
I’m going to show you how I developed one visual theme into a full program that related to that theme.
I was planning a ladies’ craft night and had some craft ideas that involved gingerbread men, so that’s where I started. The visual theme of gingerbread men could be used in many ways to make crafts and decorate. I could use a picture of a gingerbread man on invitations, posters, and promotional materials. I also knew it had great potential for a Bible devotional.
Once I had chosen the visual theme, I needed a tagline to go with it. A tagline is a catchphrase or slogan that communicates your theme in a few words. It ties the visual theme (gingerbread men) to the spiritual application of your devotional.
I thought about various processes of making gingerbread men: making the dough, rolling it out, cutting it into shapes, baking it. How could that have a spiritual application? How could I express that in a few words? I tried different phrases, used a thesaurus for some of the words. Finally I settled on this theme: Shaped by His Love.
Theme Verse or Scripture
When I planned the Gingerbread Man Craft Night, I used a lot of verses in my devotional to show how God shapes us, but it’s often good to choose one theme verse that pulls everything together. The craft night was a one-time event with a short devotional. Since the main purpose of this event was outreach, I didn’t print a theme verse on the invitations, but I could have used Philippians 1:6 for a theme verse.
But let’s say I was planning a ladies’ retreat with four or five different speakers. I would want to choose a theme visual and theme verse that were broad enough to allow many related topics to be discussed. A theme like “Guard Your Heart,” for example, could be used to teach moral purity, salvation, relationships with God and people, priorities, marriage, and other issues.
Once I’d settled on a visual theme with a spiritual application, I searched the internet for several simple craft ideas to use for our main activity. I made gingerbread cookies for refreshments. While making the cookies, I took pictures of the various stages that related to my spiritual application, and used those photos as a PowerPoint presentation. From there I went on to make a bulletin board promotion, invitations, and evangelistic folders to give to visitors. I already owned decorations related to gingerbread men that made for easy decorating.
You can plan themes in a similar way. You might start with a scripture verse instead, or a tagline. Wherever you start, keep working until you find a theme that work well for your activity.
Here are some themes I’ve developed for Mother-Daughter Evenings and Ladies’ Craft Nights:
International (All Are Precious in His Sight)
Shaped by His Love—Gingerbread Man Craft Night
Hang in There—Clothes Pin Craft Night
Follow the Star—Christmas Star Craft Night