Monday, April 16, 2018

Missions and Coffee: It's Epic

Why this interview?  Why Epic Coffee and Justin Hopkins? I love a good cup of coffee.  I have a heart for missions.   I know that THE most effective ministers are ministers who are bring the Word and the Spirit into their own language and culture. So when I ran across Justin on a Christian bloggers board I am a part of, his story flipped all the switches!  I'll let you tell you more in his own words.  (By the way This post contains affiliate links.  Your price is the same when you click through our link.  But MaidservantsOfChrist does earn a small commission on your purchases.)

Hi, Justin. Welcome to Maidservants Of Christ.  Tell us something about yourself. Where are you from? Married? Family? Where did you grow up? What's your educational background?  What do you do for fun?

How Do You Like Your Coffee?  Epic Coffee- Missional, Fair Trade, Batch Roasted CoffeeThank you. It’s a privilege to be here. I grew up in Austin, TX, and my life has been graced by my amazing wife, Leah Hopkins. We have three sons, from thirteen to seven years of age. I am a graduate of the Southwest School of Bible Studies, hold a B.S. in Human Development from Amridge University, and a graduate diploma in Christian Education from Southwest Graduate School of Bible. I enjoy spending time with my family, and of late have been doing a lot of camping and hiking with the boys.

Ministry, missions, small business and coffee--that seems like a counter-intuitive combination. What led you to this unique combination? What inspired you to roast coffee to help support yourself? When did you go into business? What services do you offer? What kind of ministry do you do? Tell us something about your congregation. What's your favorite part of your job(s)?

That’s a great question. I’ve wanted to preach since I can remember. I think a lot of that had to do with growing up at the Southwest congregation, and spending time with the preaching students and their kids. After graduating from SWSBS myself, we went into local work. Currently, I’m preaching for the church in Itasca, TX. It’s a small congregation, but they’ve got a big heart, and are determined to make an impact in the community. Our other work is under the oversight of the elders at Granbury St. in Cleburne, TX.

From local work, we transitioned into a supported ministry creating Bible class curriculum, and study resources. That all started when my wife wrote her first book, which is a study of purity for teenage girls. Even though I’m not a teenage girl, I highly recommend it. Since then we have been privileged to publish a number of great books and study tools. We spend A LOT of time working on curriculum. We have a one-year Bible survey that will be finished up later this year, Lord willing. Also, I provide teacher’s workshops and evangelism seminars for congregations here in the States. My next Teacher’s Workshop will be Saturday, May 12, at the Fort Sam Houston congregation in San Antonio. You can check out what we’re doing at https://Azimuth.Media 

The coffee came next, I guess. It started as a hobby about two years ago, and just kinda grew. Now it has reached the point where it is beginning to help some with our support, and I really enjoy it. Over the years I’ve gotten to know Gage Coldwater and the Manna Project and have been impressed with the great things he is doing overseas. Somehow or another the topic of coffee came up. One of the things that Brother Coldwater has been doing is helping preachers become self-supporting through agriculture. He’s been working with brethren in a few coffee growing regions, and they aren’t really getting a fair price for their coffee right now. I just couldn’t let go of the idea of getting my coffee directly from our brethren and helping them spread the Gospel in their own communities. So, that is what we are focusing on doing.  

Tell us about the coffee part of your business!  What is your favorite thing you sell for your own morning cup of joe? How do you source the beans? How was your coffee different than what I get in the supermarket? How long does it take to roast the coffee? Describe the process? How long does it take from end to end? What would you improve about your process if you could?  

My favorite coffee? That’s a hard one. Each coffee has a unique flavor profile that is affected by the soil, altitude, rainfall, and other environmental factors, as well as how it was harvested, and how the coffee beans were extracted from the cherries and prepared for shipping. One big thing I have noticed is that most people have been conditioned to prefer a dark roast. However, the darker roasts actually have a lower caffeine content. Also, the darker roasts tend to bury the unique flavors of each coffee, making everything taste more like the roasting process than anything else. So, I prefer lighter roasts, which allow me to enjoy each coffee for what it is. It is truly amazing how different two different coffees can taste, even when they come from the same region. Right now, I’m drinking our coffee from Narino, Colombia

I am contacted periodically by different importers, wanting me to try this, that, or the other coffee that they have in stock, and occasionally they’ll send something that’s exceptional and I’ll bring it in. Usually, though I work through direct-trade relationships to select the coffees I want, and to make sure the farmers are treated fairly. I’m very excited about our growing relationship with the Manna Project, and I’m looking forward to supplying coffee directly from Christians to Christians soon. This summer while I am in Uganda teaching in the preaching school there, I am planning to meet with some of our brethren there that raise coffee and work on moving that relationship forward in a way that will help them out. 

The actual roasting process doesn’t take that long. I am using a roaster that I had custom built because, well, nothing like it existed. I build a natural fire using Texas Oak and Pecan and crank up the heat to around 450 degrees. After my stainless-steel drum is preheated, I load it with green coffee, and start roasting. It takes about 8-12 minutes for the coffee to be roasted. After that it’s got to be cooled off quickly to keep it from turning into charcoal. To do that, I’m using a custom-built cooling tower, that uses dry, HEPA-filtered air to cool the beans. After that, it’s into heat-sealed bags to lock in the freshness. I’m pretty happy with my process right now. As far as I know, I’m the only roaster doing anything like it, and it gives a subtle, mellow flavor to my coffees.

Missions: Money from your sales goes to missions, a cause near to my heart. How do you choose the mission to go to? Can you tell us the details of one of those missions?  Have you been a missionary yourself? 

A portion of each sale is donated to the Manna Project. I’ve selected that work for a couple of reasons. 

1. They are working with brethren that are growing coffee and helping them to support their families (without American money) while preaching the Gospel. 

2. It is through them that I am getting connected with these brethren and forming relationships that will hopefully help them find more financial security while growing my business. 

The Manna Project is overseen by the church in Vidor, Texas, and is the only thing of its kind that I know of. These brethren are making inroads into mission points that are further off the beaten path, and are experiencing explosive growth, often converting entire churches to the true Gospel. Then, they help the brethren in these areas grow spiritually, and train preachers there to go out into the surrounding villages. They are working as partners, not as benefactors, which really empowers those brethren to do great things on their own. In several places the local brethren are now sending out missionaries themselves.

I have not yet been blessed to teach the Gospel outside of the United States, but I am excited to be going this summer to Uganda. I’m still raising the last of my support for that trip. While I’m there I am going to be teaching in the preaching school at Kasese, hopefully helping with some local work, and also meeting several preachers who are growing coffee so that we can talk about how to make their crop more profitable, and figure out an economical way to buy directly from them.

Did your work as a small business owner or coffee roaster teach you any spiritual lessons you’d like to share?

Running a small business is full of spiritual lessons and opportunities for growth. One thing that I have really appreciated about it, is that it has opened doors for evangelism that are often closed to “the preacher.” When I introduce myself as a coffee roaster, conversations start (usually over a cup of coffee), and folks are often more receptive to studying the Bible with me than they would be if I was “the preacher.” It has reminded me that some of our most effective evangelists, and some of the greatest opportunities to share the Gospel come with a job and a paycheck.

If you aren’t drinking your own coffee, what’s your favorite?  Do you brew at home or go out?  What’s your brewing method?  Drip, french press, percolator?  Do you drink it black? If not what are your add-ins?

When I’m not drinking my own coffee, I try to seek out the local stuff. The big franchises and national brands, probably as a product of their wild growth, often loose touch with the nuances that make coffee exceptional. A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a local shop in Forth Worth called Sons of Liberty. I had a great chat with the Barista, who was serving up Onyx coffee out of Arkansas. It was a solid cup that I’d gladly go back for.
Where Does Your Coffee Come From?  Small-batch roasted, fair trade, missional coffee
I’m always brewing at home. If I happen to be out and about, I’ll grab a cup from a local shop, but that adds up if it’s a regular thing. My go-to method of brewing is the Chemex or the Hario V-60 pour over. It’s a clean cup of coffee with great body. If I’m in the mood for something a little bolder, or maybe quicker, I’ll grab a French press. Almost always I drink it black. That’s the best way to enjoy the flavor and body unique to the farm, processing method, and roast that the coffee brings with it.

In the afternoons lately, I’ve been reaching for the cold brew. For desert coffees sometimes I’ll go with Turkish coffee, CafĂ© Olla (a Mexican recipe), or a latte. 

What has the reaction been in your community/church to the fact that you are partially self-supporting?

I think folks have received it very well. Of course, at this point I’m still a long way from being self-supported, but it’s a goal. I almost never meet somebody who doesn’t want to talk about coffee, and that can open doors. I think that tent-making preachers may become more common place as time goes on. That is a two-edged sword. You become acutely aware of the increased demands on your time. It’s a balancing act. I’m probably more self-conscious and worrying about making sure that I give the Lord’s work its proper time, because I’m acutely aware of the sacrifices and trust of those amazing brethren who support me with their prayers and their funds. 

What do you love about being a minster? What’s not your favorite?

Several years ago I heard an older preacher say that the work of the Gospel is the only permanent cause. I love the idea that I can make a difference in people’s lives that will last into Eternity. I love seeing the lightbulb go off when somebody sees the simplicity of the Gospel for the first time. I love the look of excitement and peace when they come up out of the water. I love sharing that with other brethren who catch the fire. 

The downside is the haunting memory of those souls who turned away. Those that I couldn’t reach. I always wonder. Could I have said or done something different? Did I try hard enough? Was I Christ-like in all my dealings with them? All we can do is sow the seed, and trust it to grow, but it still hurts to see someone walk away from the truth.

See what I mean?  I'd love for you to go grab a bag or two of the coffee for yourself.  I'll be posting a review of the bag that Justin sent my husband and I to try soon!  Ready to find out more?  You can catch a video about Epic Coffee here. 

Catch me linking up at any of these fine places: Mommy-MomentsSpiritual Sundays, Inspire Me MondayHolly GerthThe Mom GeneGood Morning Monday,  The Modest Mom BlogMoments of HopeGod-sized DreamsGlimpsesBreakthrough Homeschooling,Be Thee Inspired,

*“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.”

We are also an affiliate of Epic Coffee.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

9 Tips for an Amazing Ladies' Day

Ladies' lectureship, a Ladies' Day, a retreat, a Ladies' night out-whatever you call it, planning and executing these kinds of events is hard! Last time we dealt with topics, themes, speakers and decor. This time I gathered the collective experience of wise women from my email list and the minister's wives I knew. And I compiled all kinds of great tips to share with you!  

How to Rock Your Ladies' Day: Maidservantsofchrist1. Put God First: This seems obvious, but in fact it is an important and subtle principle. Consider this question: 

We are thinking about having a women’s ministry event. What should we do first?  

a) Brainstorm
b) Form a committee
c) Do an internet search
d) Pray

All the answers are good, but let’s pray first.  Let’s think about the message we want to be brought from the Word of God before a cute theme.  The spiritual food before the breakfast tea.  Lifting our voices as sisters in worship before we count the number of people who came.  All our planning will be better if we START with God. 

Kelli Hughett suggests one of the ways to this is "have a devotional for the women involved the night before to focus on Jesus before the big day."

2. Don't underestimate your audience.  Provide the women with solid lessons.  Michelle Braun Bolen said, "I personally, am not a fan of Ladies' Day "fluff."  For myself and others, we like "meat" for deep lessons straight out of scripture. Lessons can be kinda "feel goodie" or "too girlie." I want "meat"- deep contextual study."  Choosing the right speaker, theme and tone contributes to a time of real study. 

Also don't underestimate women's willingness to participate.  Another lady said that in her congregation little girls are invited up to lead singing and it's the highlight of everyone's day (and a great moment when hostesses can escape for a moment to finish lunch!).

3. Choose a speaker carefully: Start looking well in advance-many well known speakers only take a limited number of speaking appointments every year.  Think about geographical limitations- wherever you live in the United States there are speakers within a few hours of your congregation.  (Check out both speaker recommendations and a link to an extensive list of speakers here)

Finding a quality speaker with open dates is an issue I saw frequently addressed.  Dene Ward from Flight Paths said, "Finding speakers with open dates seems to be a big problem, and those capable of offering more than the average women could bring on her own." Mrs. Hughett said, "Pay a speaker well for her time.  Fly in the best you can get for your budget.  We value what we pay for."

4. Open up: Although it is easier to plan for two thirty-minute lessons, allowing time for ladies to ask questions and interact with each other and the speaker can improve your Ladies' Day.  

Dene Ward from "Flight Paths" says, "One place had me open myself up to a question and answer period after the talk.  It was a little scary for me because you never know what someone will say or ask, but I think it helped the audience to relate to me better and thus to accept my words easier.  Afterwards, there were even people who approached me one on one, and I don't think they would have if not for that session." 

Similiarly, don't be afraid of breakout sessions. When I asked for feedback, lots of women said these were their favorites.  Not only was it participatory, but making new friends and connections and sharing the hearts of other Christian women is amazing.  The silly games did not get nearly so good a review!

5.Think about budgets:  Ladies days are often inexpensive or even free for attendees, but most retreats have a charge.  Please think carefully about ways that you can include and not shame sisters with less generous budgets.  I have heard (again from Mrs. Ward) about places that offer “scholarships” for those who can’t afford to attend.  In the past, my church has subsidized things we decided to do as a group to make them more affordable or simply announced the cost and said that anyone who needed help to participate could speak to the elders privately.  On the other side, a generous person might be willing to help defray some of the cost ahead of time.

6. Don’t be defeated by the “committee.”  My dad says, “If you trust a man to do a job, trust him to do it right.”  In other words committees and micromanagement are the death of any good work.  Let me suggest meeting together, have someone take notes, and then compile a list of each person's responsibilites and then meet in a few weeks to discuss any problems that were met.  If everyone (or anyone) has to ok every detail, the process will get bogged down. 

7. Advertising:  Get the word out!  And be creative.  Your local paper (online or traditional)  may be willing to do a story on the event.  You can send invitations through the mail to every congregation in an hour’s drive.  Get on Facebook and make an event so it is easy for members to invite friends.  Have someone in your congregation design a Facebook Ad and spend 3 dollars to promote it!  

Jania Otey said, "One year the ladies at our old congregation were divided into groups.  Each group was encouraged to invite non-members to the program and collectively pray for their efforts." I love the practical focus on evangelism from this suggestion.

8. Audience: Carefully consider not just who is likely to come but who you would like to come.  Sometimes we unintentionally exclude younger women because we choose times, topics and speakers that just don’t work for them or we don't consider their need for childcare. Also you might like to have a speaker and topic aimed at seekers in your community and strongly encourage your ladies to bring friends and co-workers. 

9. Practical considerations: 
    9 Tips for an Amazing Ladies' Day
  • Folks will leave after lunch and/or grow sleepy.  So you may want to have a late lunch and not plan an after lunch session. 
  • Try not wear your workers out. Spread out the work and be sure the ladies in your congregation get to benefit from the lessons as well.
  • Be aware that there will be people on special diets.  Simple whole foods are often easy for everyone to eat (a vegetable tray or fresh whole fruit).  You might also consider making an ingredient list available upon request. 
  • Relax.  Stuff will go wrong. It's ok!

Are you excited about attending some Ladies' Days/Retreats soon?  Check out this list of events!

April 14 - 10am-2pm Allons church of Christ, Allons, TN. Lunch provided.  Kathy Pollard will speak.

April 14 - Highway church of Christ in Benton Ar.  Sharla Owens will speak.

April 21 - Eagleville church of Christ in Eagleville, Missouri. Luvenia Noblin Jenkins will be speaking. 

April 21 - Warner Robins GA. The speaker will be Jania Otey. 

May 4-5 - Worland church of Christ, Ten Sleep, Wyoming, at the Circle J Ranch.  Starts Friday at 6 with dinner.  Ends Saturday at 1:00. Dennell Dennis will be talk about "Ripples on the Water."

May 12 - 9am-12pm Corinth church of Christ. Amanda Noyes Keys speaking on "Sowing the Seed."

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Shoes: Or Why Sunday Mornings Are the Worst!

This is the introduction to another 12 week series of short Sunday morning devotionals for my readers. Last summer’s series focused on the Lord’s Supper and this summer will be focused on the heart of worship.  They will be about 5 minutes worth of reading, just right for enjoying with a cup of coffee before the kids get up. They’ll will arrive in your in-box before you wake up on Sunday morning.

“SHOES!”  I bellowed.  

Shoes: Or Why Sunday Mornings are the Worst!  Are Sunday mornings hard at your house?  Need something sweet and centering to start your day, get you mind ready for worship?  I have just the thing!I don’t like bellowing.  It’s almost always a bad choice.  Unless someone’s life is in danger-- say from an oncoming train-- that is an acceptable time to bellow.

Once again, Sunday morning was a proverbial train wreck.  I had to make an emergency run to the supermarket for one last ingredient for Sunday lunch.  The kitchen was a mess from the frantic lunch preparations and somehow while I dashed out (still not dressed for church), my youngest had not managed to get out of her pajamas.  

With minutes to go, papers to print off for my Sunday school class and maybe children’s church, clothes to throw on, and my mind in a whirl, I spat directions at the kid.  I zipped through the last of my tasks, found the checkbook, grabbed my purse, put my phone on silent, thanked God under my breath that we live a 30 second walk across the parking lot from the church building and turned to see my tween staring at the ceiling.  

That’s when I looked down at that phone, saw we were supposed to start in less than 5 minutes (Who knows what the kids are doing in my class?!) and bellowed for her to put on her shoes. 

I’d like to tell you that this is very unusual and that we typically have an idyllic Sunday morning (to be fair since the disaster I just told you about we have done some better), but this kind of chaos is not out of the ordinary for us.  I wondered if your Sundays are similar.  Do you walk in the doors to your auditorium, thinking more about needing sanctuary from your crazy day, than about the time you get to set aside to sing, pray and spend time with your sisters and brothers learning about God?

If so I have an idea for you, from June through August, I’d like to drop a little devo in your in-box.  Something to help you center your mind on God first thing in the morning before the chaos of getting everyone ready gets started.  You send me your email (you’ll be subscribing to get a couple of other freebies and I’ll be sending you an email every couple of weeks letting you know what’s new on the blog) and I’ll get those devotional emails started in June!  Click here to subscribe.  If you are already subscribed, you’ll be getting those emails automatically, don’t worry!

If you are thinking that you don’t want to wait until June, I’d love to send you over to “Around The Table” with Sharon Fleming.  I am guest posting over there with an expansion post from last summer’s devotional series.  Check it out and then come click through to sign up to get those devotionals too! 

Catch me linking up at any of these fine places: Mommy-MomentsSpiritual Sundays, Inspire Me MondayHolly GerthThe Mom GeneGood Morning Monday,  The Modest Mom BlogMoments of HopeGod-sized DreamsGlimpsesBreakthrough Homeschooling,Be Thee Inspired,

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Everything you need for a Ladies' Day, Ladies Night Out, or Ladies' Retreat

This post contains affiliate links.  Your price is the same when you click through our link.  But MaidservantsOfChrist does earn a small commission on your purchases.* 
Free Ladies Day Themes including "Don't Be a Twit," "Becoming Christian Adults," "Warrior Princess,"  "Walking in His steps" and "Stuff We Say To Self."  From MaidservantsofChrist

Are you in charge (or part of the committee) for an upcoming Ladies' activity?  Maybe it's a retreat, a Ladies' Day or a Ladies' Night Out.  The planning can be overwhelming.  Themes, speakers, lessons, decorations, food, hymns to sing: there are so many details!

Welcome to your one stop shop! In this post you can find FREE themes complete with descriptions, lesson outlines, scriptures, Pinterest boards, ideas about decorating, crafting and food!  Also at the end of the post you can find profiles of the speakers who contributed ideas and a link to a site that catalogs speakers for Ladies' Days! 

Walking in His Steps

Description: We don't often focus on our identity as "disciples": people who walk in the Savior's steps everyday.  Yet this idea should rule our ethics, our pace, our relationships and doctrine. 

Lesson ideas: 

  • Following the Savior's Steps: 
    Free Ladies' Day, Ladies' Retreat Themes including Walking In His Steps: Learning to Follow Jesus From MaidservantsofChrist
    • Stepping into Christian Life 
    • Stepping into our daily walk
    • Stepping up to our cross
  • Walking with God
    • Walking in the Light
    • Walking in the Spirit  
Scriptures: Matthew 3,4, 10, 1 John 1, Galatians 5.

Songs: Stepping in the Light, Footsteps of Jesus, I Have Decided To Follow Jesus

Decoration ideas: I have a Pinterest board dedicated to craft, decoration, and bulletin board ideas.  The craft ideas are really fun; for instance buying white flip-flops in bulk (or making them from foam) and allowing each guest to write her scripture on the bottom in permanent marker.  This could be especially fun at a Ladies Retreat if everyone had matching pairs. I also liked these floor stickers and cupcake toppers from Amazon. 

If you decorating budget is slim, a problem many congregations face, think outside the box!  Could you chalk footprints in the foyer?  Cut footprints out of foam?  Let a Sunday School class of littles make a cute decoration out of butcher paper, paint, and their footprints after church?  Perhaps you could make centerpieces out of fresh flowers and old shoes.

Amazing Grace

How Great Thou Art is only one of the many themes and lessons for a Ladies' Day or Ladies' Retreat you can find free at MaidservantsofChrist
How Great Thou Art
Designs By DJ
Description: There are a lot of options here.You can use any hymn that you like and use the scriptures that it comes from. I immediately thought of three that would make wonderful lessons.  


  • Amazing Grace: a study on the grace of God. 
  • He Leadeth Me: a study on following God. 
  • How Great Thou Art: a study on the glory of God revealed in nature.
Scriptures: Grace-Ephesians 1-2, Leadership-Luke 9:18-27, Greatness of God-Psalm 19 

Songs: Use the hymn you chose as a theme.

Decoration Ideas: There is a lot of really cool "hymn" art out there.  (See some here).  You could use Canva (free here) or Adobe Photoshop to create it.  Or my virtual assistant Designs by DJ would love to help you out.  She could put together an affordable image personalized to your congregation and help you turn it into magnets, bookmarks, invitations and art. A Pinterest board with examples of her work is here.  If you have the right skills, chalkboard art or plank art are also great ideas.

Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus - FREE Ladies' Day Ladies' Retreat Themes from MaidservantsofChristBonus idea: "Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus."  Talk about the promises Jesus gave us and how sweet they are.  (For example John 3:5-8. John 4:13-18, John 6:35-44, John 7:37-39, John11:25-26, John 14:1-4).  And then have desserts for your food and decorations.  You could do Ice Cream Shop theme, Cupcake Theme,  Banana Splits or my favorite Root Beer Floats complete with Mason Jars!  Find my Pinterest board with more ideas here

Save For A Rainy Day

Saving for a Rainy Day: Free Ladies' Day or Ladies' Retreat Themes from MaidservantsofChristDescription: Heaven's economy is so different from our worldly point of view.  We focus so much energy on work, education, buying the newest toys, the best house and car and saving for retirement.  Yet Jesus emphasizes storing up treasure in a heaven.

Lesson ideas:  

  • Storing up Treasure in Heaven 
  • A Heavenly Retirement Plan 
  • Saving for a Rainy Day
Scriptures: Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 19:16-26, Luke 12:13-34,  Luke 18:18-33, 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Songs: I"ve got a Mansion, There is Sunshine in My Soul Today

Decoration ideas:  You could do rainy day decorations-umbrellas, rain gear, rain boots with flowers for centerpieces.  Check out my Pinterest Board HERE for lots of ideas or click through to any of the pictures to shop for rainy day decorations.  

This is a great theme to save money on.  You can gather up umbrellas from members of the congregation instead of buying them.  You could also check out some of the great DIY ideas on the Pinterest Board! 

Jesus IRL! Social Media and the Life of a Christian

Description:  Our social media use needs to be in line with the whole of our Christian lives.  For instance we need to avoid crass talk and pictures (Ephesians 5:1-14,) show our integrity online, and avoid anger, wrath and vengeance even in our Facebook feed. 

Scriptures: Matthew 5-7

    Saving for a Rainy Day: Free Ladies' Day or Ladies' Retreat Themes from MaidservantsofChrist #FaithBlog #MaidservantsofChrist #LadiesDay
  • Jesus IRL: Social Media and the Life of a Christian
    • Pause before you Post: Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry
    • Like and Share: Using social media to spread the good news about Jesus. 
    • #NoFilters: When Jesus,  IRL, and Onscreen meet.

Decorations: One idea is to set up a photo booth.  Once it is set up you can either have a lady stationed there to use everyone's individual cameras to take the photos and encourage them all to share under a single hashtag. Or could use a members DSLR camera and tripod (or iPhone and tripod). Then post all the photos on the church's Facebook or Instagram account and encourage everyone to drop by and tag themselves. My Pinterest board on this theme includes DIY photo booth tutorials as well as everything Social Media/Emoji themed! Also check out these cool social media cookie cutters for food ideas. 

The Warrior Princess

Description: Women and the Armor of God.  The women of God are soldiers in His army, warriors in prayer, and daughters of the great King.  


Warrior Princess: The Christian Women and the Armor of God This and other FREE Themes for Ladies' Day or Ladies' Retreats
  • Stand and Be Strong: Putting on the armor of God
  • Belts and Breastplates: Integrity and the warrior princess
  • The Sword of the Spirit: Bible Study the weapon of God's warrior princess.
Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-17 and Isaiah 52:7, 59:15-18

Decorations: One fun way to go is with a medieval party.  Amazon has lots of stuff to chose from at this link.  If you'd like something more modern, it might be fun to go pink camo for all your decorations like here. And don't forget there are some really awesome T-Shirts!  (For a retreat the cost of the shirt could be built in or it could be optional.  Each RSVP would need to include a shirt size).  My pinterest board has more ideas here


Becoming Christian Adults: Making the Transition from Childhood to Adulthood 

By: J.A Busick

Becoming a Christian Adult: Making the Transition from Childhood to Adulthood This and other free Ladies' Day and Ladies' Retreat Themes at MaidservantsofChrist
Description: When our young people go from teenagers, living in their parents' homes under their parents' authority, to adults who are expected to be responsible for themselves, they often fail to make the transition with their faith intact. What can we do to better prepare our young people to make this leap without jumping right off a cliff? 

  • Welcome to the Endless Debauch! or The False Promises of Worldly Adulthood. 
  • Foolish Disputes: Rethinking Apologetics
  • Come Into the Kingdom, Go Into the World -- What Christian Adulthood Looks Like 

Scriptures: Judges 17:6, Judges 21:25, Genesis 6:5; 1 Peter 3:15, Titus 3:9, 1 Cor. 2; Matthew 28:16-20, Ephesians 6:13-17

Songs: Purer in Heart, O God; If Jesus Goes With Me; Exalted; Remember Who You Are

Decoration ideas: Graduation decor. You can catch some fun ideas on this Pinterest Board.

Stuff We Say to Self: Mental Monologs as Old as Job’s or as Motivating as those from that Woman with Issues

By Lynette Gray

Like a food pantry, our mental babble feeds us or poisons us. Scripture records negativity what Abraham, Hagar, Esau, and Saul said to self. But, in Matthew 9, an unnamed woman with a hemorrhage talks faithfully to herself. Then this anomaly reaches out to connect with Jesus’ power. He bestows healing, praise, dignity, and kinship.

Lesson: Let’s discern what we are silently saying. Ask: What funds my self-talk? Is it poisonous propaganda or God’s soul food for my spiritual nutrition? What self-talk will move me toward Jesus so He can rid me of my issues? 

Scriptures: Matt. 9:20-22;  Mk. 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48;  2 Cor. 10:4-5;  Jer. 17:9;  1 John 3:20;  and six psalms.

Songs: Prince of Peace Control My Will; Jesus Savior Pilot Me; My Soul Be on Thy Guard; Nobody Fills My Heart Like Jesus

Decoration ideas:  Cartoon-type speech balloons with self-talk inside them. Ropes to lasso our thoughts and take them captive.  Tassels to remind us of the tassels on Jesus’ tallit. 

Speech Balloon decoration ideas include this fun LED backlit speech bubble and photo booth props.  Check out these affordable tassel earrings your staff can use or that could be a great giveaway at a retreat! Or check out white thread and blue thread in bulk to complete this DIY Tzitzit knots tutorial. If you decide to go with a rope theme, there is a lot of great western themed party gear out there to choose from.  Catch all kinds of DIYs on my Pinterest board

Looking for a Speaker?

Each of the ladies including myself who contributed a theme to our list is available to speak on their topic or others. 

Jennifer (J.A.) Busick

Contact Info and Social Media: jenbusick@gmail.com256-278-8095

Biography: J. A. Busick has been a professional freelance writer for two decades. As Jennifer Busick, she writes about occupational safety and health for employers in health care, manufacturing, agriculture and construction. As J. A. Busick, she writes educational materials, Bible study materials and humorous essays about parenthood and life in general. 

Read a review on J.A. Busick's books Strong Plants and Sculptured Pillars and The God Who Sees

Geographic Area: North Alabama

Lynette Gray

Bio:  As a daughter, sister, wife, mom, artist, and teacher, I’ve been a victim of my own crummy self-talk. But as a wimpy cancer patient, I determined to replace my mental monolog with faith and hope. See some of my Christian books below. My articles are in: Christian Woman Magazine, Power for Today, Forthright Magazine, and Heartlight. 

Hello My Name is Jonah- You can find my review of this book here
Letters of Hope
Feasting on Assurance - you can get a copy of this book by emailing Lynette directly. 

Geographic Area:  Within 4 hrs. of Knoxville, TN 

Tassie Helene Smith

Contact Info: 

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Bio: Whether it's suffering the consequences of an entire bucket of snails in Hunan, taking evening bike rides at the beach in Vietnam, or hurtling down the mountain on wild sled rides at home in Wyoming, I love a good adventure.  The greatest adventure of my life has been walking where God leads with my husband of 18 years and my two sweet girls. 

Geographic Info: I can speak within driving distance of Rock Springs, Wyoming (parts of Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado and all of Wyoming).  Or anywhere you want to fly me! 

Designs by DJ

Contact Info:

Bio: Designs by DJ takes on design piecework like invitations, bookmarks, business cards, and personalized magnets, and dabbles in social media management (Pinterest and Instagram).  She will give you an estimate based on your project and can offer intermediate drafts to be sure your final product is just what you need! She can help you submit a print order or send you a jpeg/png file. 

A recent project for the South Knoxville church of Christ

These were made into magnets for a total of 75 cents each.

Also you can find an extensive list organized geographically of Ladies who speak at these kinds of events HERE.

Don't forget to check out 9 Tips for an Amazing Ladies' Day! And don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss out!  (Subscribing also means bonus material including a free devotional as well as free curriculum for you and your tween.)


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Catch me linking up at any of these fine places: Mommy-MomentsSpiritual Sundays, Inspire Me MondayHolly GerthThe Mom GeneGood Morning Monday,  The Modest Mom BlogMoments of HopeGod-sized DreamsGlimpsesBreakthrough Homeschooling,Be Thee Inspired,