How it began…
Around 7 years ago, God placed on my heart to create a recurring women’s event in my home where women could come together and share stories of His faithfulness in our lives. It was a great concept, and I could really see it in my mind! I said, “Wow, I’m excited to make that happen one day, Lord!”
But then I didn’t do anything about it. You see, my house wasn’t put together enough. I didn’t know who to invite. I was nervous to begin. So I didn’t!
Eventually, I was talking to a new friend, and mentioned to her that one day I wanted to do these ladies brunches. She was excited! She pulled out her calendar right then and there, wanting to pick a date! Yikes! I suddenly was being held accountable to what God had called me to do, which is actually a great problem to have. Even when it’s uncomfortable.
We picked a date, and the rest is history! I hosted ladies brunches (with my friend as a co-host!) quarterly while we lived in North Carolina. Since moving to Florida in mid 2021, I’ve been hosting ladies brunches monthly (with a new friend as co-host!). Over the years, I estimate I’ve done between 20-25 brunches. With plenty of other women’s events in between!
How I do it…
I’ll tell you the basic set-up of these brunches, not because I do everything so perfectly, but because it might give you a jumping off point in creating your own event that honors God and encourages women.
Brunches at my house always start at 10am. I feel like this gives me enough time in the morning to not have to wake up super early and feel rushed, and also allows the other women to either take care of their own morning responsibilities or sleep in–depending on their stage in life. The women begin arriving around 10 and I try to have the food pretty much ready and set out by that time. I tell them to start eating, drinking coffee, etc. as soon as they want–we don’t wait for everyone to arrive before we dig in.
As a hostess, I introduce people who may not know each other, make sure people have the food and drink they need, and look for any other needs that may need to be met. Usually around 10:45, depending on what everyone is doing, I gather the women together and we open in prayer. Then, we remain gathered together and have some intentional conversation time.
I usually begin this time by sharing a little bit about what I’ve been learning recently. Or a Bible verse that has been particularly powerful. Or something I’m praying for. Then, I give the opportunity for other women to share, by asking a leading question. Some examples of leading questions could be:
- How has God been faithful in your life lately?
- What has God been teaching you?
- Is there a passage of Scripture that has special meaning to you right now?
- What is something you are asking God for?
- If you could choose a word you are praying for this season of your life, what would it be and why? (joy, provision, hope, renewal, etc.)
- What do you need encouragement in?
Depending on how you are feeling about your group, and the question asked, you could either go around in a circle, or let the ladies just talk as they feel led to. If the group conversation begins down a random tangent, for example if it’s suddenly about our favorite recipes to bring to a potluck, then I try to gently steer it back to something God-centered. Conversations about recipes, school, shopping, etc. are not bad, but they aren’t why we are gathered in that moment.
Depending on the quality of the conversation, and the time constraints of the women, I usually close out our group conversation around 12 or 12:30. We close in prayer, sometimes asking everyone for prayer requests, and sometimes not. Once the official conversation is over, the women are still free to continue talking, but it at least gives the ladies who need to go a sense of closure and freedom to leave without causing disruption. And it also allows for women to continue mini conversations about what was discussed, without obligating the group to participate in topics not relevant to them.
Every brunch that I have hosted has had a slightly different “vibe”, depending on who has been able to come and what topics are discussed. I’m always curious to see who God brings together each time! Sometimes, the brunch group gets to be large enough that a group conversation would be a little bit difficult. If it’s more than 10 or 12 women, I prefer to break into separate groups. This gives more people the opportunity to share what’s on their heart, and creates a more intimate setting. If a large group shows up, plan to have a trusted friend lead the second discussion in another area.
After brunch, if there is leftover food, I encourage women to take some to their families or for themselves. We never fully know who needs the blessing of an extra meal or snack! Also, if women offer to help clean up, I let them! It’s humbling sometimes to allow people to wash our dishes, sweep our floors, etc. However, if people want to serve, let them serve! It is a blessing to be able to serve, so don’t withhold that blessing from them.
My children love “brunch days” because they come home and help eat through any leftovers. My husband loves it too! When I am preparing food for brunch, I intentionally make more food than I think I will need for the ladies, because I will rely on those brunch leftovers to feed my family the rest of the day. Hosting an event is rewarding, but often tiring! Therefore, I don’t plan to cook an evening meal that day, if I can get away with it!
Does a simple women’s ministry event like this sound appealing to you? Do you feel led to do something similar where you live? Here are some basic steps to get you started:
- Pray. Ask God to help guide and direct you, as you obey His promptings. Ask Him to give you the strength to surrender the outcome and results of the brunch to Him. It may not look like you wanted it to, but pray that He will be glorified.
- Find a co-host. Even if you want to do most of the work yourself, recruit someone to be your sidekick. There are many advantages to this, because a co-host is:
- a person besides you to help pray before, after, and during the event
- a person who can invite women that maybe you don’t personally know. This expands and diversifies the list of women who might be able to come!
- a person who might be willing to contribute food/resources to the event
- a person that can help lead discussions, and keep them on track
- a person who might be willing to come early and stay late to help with set-up and clean-up
- a person who can help keep you excited and on track with the event
- a person who might even want to alternate hosting duties with you, using their home
- Make a list of women to invite. Don’t just invite your best friend, ask God who He would have you invite. Look for women at church who are unconnected, your neighbor who is lonely, a fellow school mom who just moved to the area, etc. I also allow women to bring other ladies with them. Your goal should be to have a willingness to open your home, but have God fill it with the people He wants you to minister to.
- Invite! I generally send an evite 3-4 weeks before the event, but you will have to gauge your own timeline. Also, I continue to invite people even up to the day before the event. They may say no, but at least extend the invitation and let them know they are welcome!
- Pray. Continually. In the days and weeks leading up to the event, pray for it! Ask God to bless it. Ask Him to send the right group of women. Ask Him to prepare hearts and minds to hear from Him.
- Make a menu. I have menu advice here to help things go smoothly. 🙂
- Prepare your home. Don’t stress too much, but there are some basic considerations for making your home ready for company. I talk more about that here.
- Remind people of the event. In the days leading up to the event, take some time to send simple reminders. A quick text like, “can’t wait to see you at brunch!” or “Hope you can make it to ladies brunch on Saturday!”, can go a long way in making sure people remember, and also having those people feel remembered.
- Keep praying. Pray that you would be focused on obedience–leaving the results to God. Ask Him to bless the fellowship and encourage each woman who attends.
- Open your door! Host the event, feeling confident that even if you burn the food, spill juice on the floor, and have a bad hair day, God will be glorified through your obedience. No event is perfect, but an imperfect event filled with the love of God is much better than no event at all!
Over the years, these God-honoring ladies brunches have been a blessing to me and to others. If it’s on your heart to do something similar, I encourage you to do it!