A Better Together at Christmas women’s ministry event was held recently at East Side Baptist Church in Fort Smith. Submitted.
Women’s ministries allow ladies to engage with God while uplifting and encouraging one another in their faith.
Entering the Christmas season, several Arkansas churches have hosted women ministry events, inspiring love, hope and encouragement.
“Our purpose for having any event is to connect with other women in our church and be a support system to walk through daily life with each other as we strive to follow Christ. Developing relationships with one another helps us all to keep doing the work of the Lord,” Holly Beckwith of Central Baptist Church in Conway said.
Beckwith said their event, Christmas Peace, was an event to “prepare our hearts for the real meaning of Christmas as we celebrate during the duration of the Christmas season.”
They had a time of worship with a quartet singing specials as well as traditional carols, a speaker, Shelly Chandler, who discussed Proverbs 3:5-6 and how that relates to Jesus’s birth, and desserts afterward.
Also in Conway, Second Baptist Church ‘s main campus hosted an event called Comfort and Joy. Jacki King of the church’s women’s ministry said this year they decided to make the experience more of a time of reflection.
“Our thought was that most would be having fun parties with their small groups and work get-togethers, and we really wanted to allow some space to slow down and reflect before all of the busyness of the Christmas season,” King said.
They had acoustic worship and had the different generations walk through the themes of Advent. King said she pulled a scripture and wrote a script for each woman to read. They also provided accompanying gift bags that had items that went along with each Advent theme.
For example, for hope, each woman had an evergreen branch in her bag.
“We highlighted that much like the evergreen trees that are in the midst of winter, darkness, and bitter temperatures they were reminders of life, and that because of Christ coming as Emmanuel we have hope even in the darkest seasons. We continued with love, joy, and peace. Each theme was followed with a time of prayer and reflection,” King said.
Additionally, King said their Greenbrier campus hosted a Christmas Bunco night with desserts and hot cocoa.
For both events, women brought unwrapped toys to benefit their Foster Care and Adoption Ministry. Between both events, King said they were able to collect 342 toys. Families were able to ‘shop’ for their children from the toys gathered to be wrapped and given on Christmas morning.
At First Baptist Church in Cabot’s ladies only Christmas Hope event, the evening began with an activity and fellowship. This year, the ladies were able to make three hot chocolate gift bags they could give as gifts if they chose. During this activity, they had several gorgeous backdrops prepared where the ladies could take pictures with their friends.
“Just as wonderful as the sound of children giggling, the sound of all these ladies talking, laughing, and just enjoying each other’s company always makes me smile,” Gayla Morgan, wife of Rick Morgan, LifeGroup and Outreach pastor at First Baptist in Cabot, said.
The ladies then moved to the Fellowship Hall, where they were served a delicious dinner prepared by some of the men of the church with Pastor Terry Bostick as the head chef.
Morgan said they were able to give away several door prizes. Members Sondra Burnett, Allie McClure and Marlee Sowell provided special music and Shelley Chandler was the speaker for the evening. She spoke on Christmas Hope.
“It was encouraging and exciting to focus on our Messiah who came humbly as a baby but will one day return as the conquering King,” Morgan said.
Morgan said the event gave the FBC Pastors wives an opportunity to show the love of Jesus Christ to both members and visitors.
“This year I met several ladies that had never attended FBC before that evening. I believe this is the purpose in having events where you are able to meet and get to know ladies in a setting outside of a worship service,” she said. “Events such as this are important for the visitor, the new member or even a lifetime member as we can hopefully let them know they are loved and we are so thankful for each and every one of them.”
“Jesus is our Hope, our Salvation, our everything and my prayer is that every lady who attended our event left with this knowledge and assurance,” Morgan added.
At East Side Baptist Church in Fort Smith, they held a Better Together at Christmas event for all generations of women – ranging from teens to 90-year-olds. Emily Watson of East Side Baptist said it was a wonderful way to “celebrate the generations and how we are a gift to one another.”
“Our local church is made up of many generations. It’s a beautiful thing that you can find more generations under the roof of the church than anywhere else,” Watson said.
However, she noted, this is an area that can be hard to navigate – “how do we bring the generations together, what drives the generations, what are our obstacles, how can we be intentional?”
“We’ve focused on these things for the last year, with a focus on Psalm 145 – one generation will proclaim the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord to the next generation,” Watson said.
During the Better Together at Christmas at East Side, they worshipped through song led by the worship team and Jacki King of Second Baptist Church in Conway shared a special message with them focusing on the lineage of Christ and the very unlikely generations of women who were an integral part of that, focusing on the question “How will we live out the lineage of grace?”
They closed the evening by reading Psalm 145 as candles were lit across the room.
“Not only is this a beautiful picture of what we all love at Christmas, focusing on Jesus being the Light of the World, but a powerful and meaningful visual of one generation passing on God’s mighty works and word to the next generation,” Watson said.
As the light filled the room, Watson said they ended the evening singing God’s praises, “For He alone is worthy, for He alone is worthy, for He alone is worthy, Christ the Lord.”
At Friendship Baptist Church in Vilonia, they host an event called Merry and Bright.
“When Sean and I first came to serve at Friendship Baptist Church I knew that I wanted to host a ladies’ holiday event, so I began to dream about the best way to do this. The vision of this event became clear: it was to be an event where ladies could invite other ladies to it that maybe didn’t have a church home but most importantly, they knew that their friends would hear the gospel presented at the event,” Sara Mills said. “It will always be the center focus of any ladies’ event at Friendship Baptist Church.”
Mills enlists a team of women to help her each year and part of their assignment is to enlist other women to help them with their assignments.
“The requirement is that they incorporate a lady that is new to our church and a lady from each age range. I want to make sure that we pull in new people to help serve and that it is also multigenerational as well,” she said.
At the Merry and Bright event, they start with a meal, and then they have different segments presented during the evening that deal with the holidays. They have done segments from Christmas brunch, holiday drinks and how to wrap presents to how to decorate a table. At the end of each segment, the ladies receive a gift that goes with that segment.
For example, this year they did a segment on how to decorate a living room and the ladies each received a pillow that said, “Merry and Bright.” Also, a big portion of the evening is to do a craft together.
“We try to change up the segments each year and the ladies walk away with some amazing ideas for the holidays. The theme this year was hospitality. The message talked about how we can incorporate Biblical hospitality in our homes during the holidays. Each year, we spend time around our tables praying for ladies in the room that are maybe struggling during the holidays,” Mills said. “Praise the Lord that each year we see women come to know the Lord and have connected with our church through the event.”
Arkansas Baptist State Convention Women’s Ministry Specialist Andrea Lennon said she was excited to see Arkansas Baptists churches using Christmas events as an opportunity to reach out to others.
“From opening their doors to women in the community to organizing toy drives as part of their event, Arkansas Baptists know that Christmas is fully celebrated as we share the good news of Jesus’ birth,” Lennon said.
“What a joy to see meaningful Christmas events happening across Arkansas as women gathered to not only celebrate the true meaning of Christmas but also to prepare their hearts to celebrate Jesus. It is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Christmas events offer an opportunity to slow down and remember what really matters. Jesus – He is the best gift.”
The churches mentioned in this article are just a few of many that have hosted Christmas women ministry events in Arkansas.