Speaking Engagements, Special Events

You’re Invited to a Webinar!

Tonight’s the night! Be sure you’re registered!

 

Are you a discerning woman? Whether you’re just starting to learn to discern or you’ve had your “powers of discernment trained by constant practice,” we think you’ll find this Zoom webinar edifying and informative. Join Amy Spreeman and Michelle Lesley as we examine the Scriptures that pertain to discernment, contemporary false teachings to watch out for, addressing false teaching with loved ones and leaders, and more!

Date: Thursday, May 14

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. Central

To register, click here.

And be sure to share this around with the ladies of your church
and your friends and loved ones!

Speaking Engagements, Special Events

You’re Invited to a Webinar!

 

Are you a discerning woman? Whether you’re just starting to learn to discern or you’ve had your “powers of discernment trained by constant practice,” we think you’ll find this Zoom webinar edifying and informative. Join Amy Spreeman and Michelle Lesley as we examine the Scriptures that pertain to discernment, contemporary false teachings to watch out for, addressing false teaching with loved ones and leaders, and more!

Date: Thursday, May 14

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. Central

To register, click here.

And be sure to share this around with the ladies of your church
and your friends and loved ones!

Special Events

Cruciform Conference Special Discount!

 

Ladies, Cruciform is almost upon us, and in order to encourage more women to attend, the conference organizers have graciously extended a 50% discount on tickets to you!

Grab your tickets fast, gather up your husband or your friends, and join me in Indianapolis the weekend of October 18-19. You won’t want to miss this wonderful time of cross-centered preaching and teaching and some awesome fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

And as a special treat for the ladies, I will be teaching two breakout sessions just for women:

Faithfully Fighting Feminism:
Fighting the Good Fight by Walking Out Biblical Womanhood
and
Hooked on a Feeling: Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Emotions

I hope to see you there!

Speaking Engagements, Special Events

Women’s Events on a Shoestring Budget

 

Have you ever wanted to host a women’s conference (or any event, really) at your church, but it just wasn’t in the budget?

My husband and I have served a lot of small churches, so those tight-knit fellowships and their pastors hold a special place in my heart – especially the ones who want to give their ladies a doctrinally sound alternative to the mega-conferences whose doctrine can be questionable at best.

I’ve spoken at some absolutely wonderful conferences hosted by small churches, so I know it can be done with excellence if you’re not afraid to think creatively and work efficiently.

Here are a few suggestions to prayerfully consider if you’re putting together an event on a shoestring budget. And readers, I want to hear from you too – what has your church done to support and finance special events that has worked well? Add your comment in the comments section at the end of the article.

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I’m going to start with a principle that applies to anyone doing professional work for your church, from conference speakers, to the band playing a concert at your youth event, to the plumber fixing the pipes in the bathroom, to the accountant who does your church’s bookkeeping:

You must pay workers, and you must pay them a fair wage or fee in addition to their expenses (travel, lodging, etc.).

I’ve been blessed that every host church I’ve ever spoken at has understood this and has been very generous with me, but I’ve heard that there are Christians out there who expect anyone doing anything for their church to do it for free because it’s “ministry”. Some even begrudge paying their pastor a salary! This is not biblical. In fact, the Bible says just the opposite.

It often takes many hours of hard work to properly prepare for a speaking engagement, concert, etc. (And don’t get me started on how much time pastors put into their jobs compared to the salaries most of them earn.) This pre-event work as well as the event itself may take the worker away from her family or cause her to have to cancel other activities. She may even have to take time off from her regular job to work at your event. What she’s doing for you is work and she deserves to be fairly compensated for it. This is one aspect of your event that you can’t cut corners on.

Sometimes it is hard to know what a fair wage is for the worker you’re hiring. And, indeed, it will vary from worker to worker. Ask her for a number. Figure out whether or not that amount is feasible on your end. Then, be honest with her and let her know whether or not you can guarantee (not try to raise, not “take up a love offering at the conference and hope for the best” – guarantee) that amount. If you can’t, it is then up to her to decide whether or not she can afford to work at your event. Being honest and transparent from the get go helps remove a lot of the awkwardness that comes with talking about money. I know I always appreciate it.

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Now that you know one of the expenses for the event, it will be easier to estimate a  budget to cover it and the rest of the expenditures. Sit down with your planning committee and prayerfully discuss the purchases you’ll need to make for food, decorations, and any other materials, and come up with a reasonable budget for your particular venue. Use godly wisdom and exercise good stewardship.

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Don’t try to compete with the expensive glitz, glam, and giveaways of mega-conferences. You do you, your church or host organization. I’ve seen many churches go with a “simple elegance” or “homestyle” or “local charm” level of theme and decor that has turned out perfectly lovely and welcoming (Check out some of the church events I’ve spoken at.). And remember, it’s the caring and hospitality of the hosts that will make the greatest impact on your attendees, not the swanky food, decorations and swag bags.

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Plan your event as far in advance as possible. Not only will this give you plenty of time to raise funds, but some expenses – plane tickets for your speaker, for example – go up as time goes by.

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While some speakers need to stay in a hotel for various reasons, others are perfectly willing to be fed and housed by church members, which can cut your expenses considerably. Ask your speaker which she prefers and be ready to graciously provide either type of accommodation.

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Go local. If you can find an appropriate speaker who lives in or near your town, it will cut down on your travel and accommodation expenses for her.

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Ask your pastor or elders if there is any money set aside in your church’s budget for the women’s ministry or special events. Find out whether or not you can use it and if there are any requirements for how it must or must not be spent.

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Put the word out to your whole church and ask for help. Make a list of the things you’ll need that people can donate or lend: fresh flowers from members’ gardens for centerpieces, table cloths, paper plates, small gift bag items like pens and notepads, snack items, etc.

You could even have some fun with it and throw a women’s conference “shower,” registering for the items you need (even WalMart and Target have registries these days) and inviting the whole congregation to bring their gifts and come fellowship together. And don’t forget the “money tree” (or some other receptacle) for people who would rather give cash or a check.

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Take up a love offering from your congregation for conference expenses. If your conference is far enough ahead in the future, you might be able to take up two or three over time.

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Consider a crowdfunding campaign for event expenses such as Go Fund Me or Kickstarter (there are even Christian crowdfunding sites), or set up a PayPal account specifically for donations for the event. (Some Christians feel it is biblically inappropriate to ask non-Christians to donate to a Christian cause. You will need to find out where your church stands on this issue when deciding who to share the crowdfunding information with.)

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Have a good, old fashioned fundraiser at church, such as a church-wide “garage sale,” bake sale, or car wash.

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Consider partnering with another doctrinally sound local church (or two or three!) to co-host the event and split the expenses. (Check out their doctrine first. You can’t biblically partner with churches that teach false doctrine.)

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To recoup your expenses (don’t depend on these to cover expenses) and maybe set some money aside for your next event, consider selling tickets at a nominal price, suggesting a voluntary donation amount, or “pay what you can,” for tickets, and/or taking up a love offering at the event.

Most attendees could afford, say, a $5 ticket, and if you have 100 attendees, that’s $500 to start off next year’s event budget. You could also offer the option of sponsoring tickets. People who want to support the conference could give enough money to cover a certain number of tickets, which could then be given away to women who would like to attend but can’t afford to.

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It should go without saying, but be sure to get your pastor’s, elders’, or other leadership’s approval every step of the way.

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With plenty of prayer, wisdom, organized planning, and good stewardship, it is possible for small churches to host an awesome event that will glorify God and be a blessing to the women of your church and community.


Here’s a question a few readers asked
in response to the article above.

 

I loved your article Women’s Events on a Shoestring Budget. The funding tips encouraged me to put on an event for our ladies, but our small church has never done anything like this before. What kind of event should we have and how should we get started?

I was so encouraged to get a couple of questions like this in response to my article. Even at a small church (and sometimes especially at a small church) a women’s event can really help refresh and build up the ladies of your church. It can be a great outreach to the ladies of your community, too.

I would recommend starting small and then growing year by year. For example, if I were in a church with an attendance of 50-150, I would start with an in-house (only ladies from your own church) mini-conference. A Saturday morning simple breakfast (coffee, doughnuts, fruit – food that’s easy to get, serve, and handle), followed by a local speaker (maybe the pastor’s wife at a sister church, or even one of the ladies in your own church) and a couple of songs. You could end there, or possibly have a time of discussion around the tables afterward, or just allow the ladies to hang around and fellowship with each other.

The next year, you could build on that. Maybe the speaker does two sessions with a break between, and you invite/publicize to other local churches. The following year, you could do an overnight retreat or you could expand the conference to an all day thing and have more than one speaker. If you start small and grow your event each year, you’ll learn things you should and shouldn’t do differently along the way, and you won’t be biting off more than you can chew the first time out.

Another thing that might be a good idea is to have a meeting with all of your ladies and ask them what kind of event they’d like. You might be thinking “conference” and they might be thinking “movie night”. It’s good to brainstorm and take the pulse of your ladies on what they’d prefer.

You could also get the men of your church involved in putting together and serving at your conference or event. I spoke at one conference where the men of the church actually put on the conference for their ladies – to honor and thank them. That was one happy bunch of ladies!

Just remember what I said in the article: Don’t try to compete with the expensive glitz, glam, and giveaways of mega-conferences. You do you, your church or host organization…And remember, it’s the caring and hospitality of the hosts that will make the greatest impact on your attendees, not the swanky food, decorations and swag bags.

Special Events

Help me celebrate the “Big 5-0!”

UPDATE: I HAVE MET MY FUNDRAISING GOAL!!!! Thank you so much for your generosity! I hope to see you at the Cruciform Conference in October!

1969: Man landed on the moon…Woodstock…Sesame Street debuted on TV…John MacArthur began his pastorate at Grace Community Church…and I was born.

Tomorrow – just like all those other events of 1969 – I’m turning 50! And I’d like to ask you to help me celebrate by considering partnering with me in ministry.

This October, I’ve been invited to speak¹ at the Cruciform Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. Cruciform is an up and coming Christian conference for men and women that “proclaims the abrasive, true, and hard gospel that leads to real life.” This year’s speakers include several names you might recognize, including Dustin Benge and Kofi Adu-Boahen.

Though the 2019 conference will be its very first gathering, I see the potential Cruciform has for edifying and equipping Believers this year and in the years to come, and I’d like to lend my support by teaching God’s Word to the ladies in attendance.

Want to partner with me in giving Cruciform a great kickoff event? You can help with a financial contribution to cover my travel, expenses, and fees associated with speaking at Cruciform, or you can donate frequent flier miles to cover or defray the cost of my plane tickets.

I’ve set a fundraising goal of $1200.

I would be most grateful for any amount you’d like to contribute, but in celebration of my fiftieth birthday, if I could get…

50 of my readers to each contribute $24
or
24 of my readers to each contribute $50

…I could quickly meet my goal.

If you’d like to make a donation, there are two ways to contribute: my regular PayPal account, or the new Go Fund Me account I’ve set up specifically for these conference expenses. Click the payment option you prefer:

 

If you’d like to donate Frequent Flier Miles to help with my plane ticket, please drop me an e-mail at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com. I will only be able to use American, Delta, or United Airlines miles as those are the only airlines that fly out of Baton Rouge.

Thank you so much for considering partnering with me in this ministry opportunity! And even if you can’t help financially, I hope you’ll consider attending the Cruciform Conference if you’ll be in the Indianapolis area this coming October 18-19.


¹I do not normally fund raise for speaking events. This is a unique, and as far as I know, one time only, situation.