Take a look around your church next time you are there? What do you see? Hopefully, if you are in a typical (and healthy church IMHO) you will see women of all ages: you’ll see women with blond hair that includes a pink streak. You’ll see women who are tired and weary from life walking with a cane but with a big smile on their faces from years of traveling with joy with The Lord. You’ll see women who are tired from being up all night wondering if their teenage son or daughter is going to make it in by curfew. You’ll see some with spit up on their shirts because of the babies they are caring for. Women in our churches come from every walk of life and are from every generation.
I’m writing this post from the voice of a women’s ministries director or someone thinking in terms of conferences for a whole church of women. If I were writing this from a personal note as an individual then I would say bring it (and I so want to go) – because it would be a blast of a girl’s weekend with some of my best buddies. But, as far as the church ministry goes – older women in the church are vital for ministry and mentoring!
There have been many women’s conferences I’ve attended over the years, some I’ve spoken at. One of the needed concepts in planning these conferences is planning for something that appeal to all women. One aspect that I appreciate about the TGC Women’s Conference that happened in 2012 (and will happen again in 2014) is the wide range of ages who attended. I loved snapping photos of moms rocking their babies to sleep and gray-haired ladies taking notes in a worn Bible.
What about this trend of appealing to only a set age-range? Is there value in that? YES! But, is it IDEAL – No.
Value: Some of these women are going to be going through the same things as you are. Most of them will be instagramming and tweeting and have a ton of hair products and wear the latest style – and really cool bags and shoes – and plenty of iPhones and iPads. Most will have to find babysitters for older children. Some will probably locate the coolest coffee shop near the conference. Most will have families, young families at that, even the speakers – I would love to know how the speakers handle young children and a thriving ministry (because that is honestly where I would love to be). Also, the topics of interest most women will want to know/learn about will be similar. You can have a variety of breakout sessions and it might even be hard to choose which one to go! Happy problems!
NOT Ideal: If you are planning on bringing a group of women from your church – you can only bring one set. This may be a good getaway for a small group of friends from you church, talk about ministry and how it can work better or get a fresh new perspective, but you couldn’t bring your whole team (in most churches). The women’s ministry team at my church couldn’t all go because some of them are older. And I love the conversations that might happen with older women seeing their wisdom in life that has come from years of doing ministry and family.
Titus 2 does talk a lot about teaching the younger women about how love their husbands and be keepers of the home and knowing how to LOVE the Word (not mis-aligning the Word of God). And as I get older I realize I tend to look for people my same age (give or take ten years) but for those who are at different spaces in life (older kids, more years married, single, etc). I think I would actually LOVE to go to a generational conference because I love coffee, ipads, cute clothes (much easier when I’m not pregnant), and relevant messages. And if I were thinking of it as a getaway with friends from around the country that would be perfect – late night chats, makeup everywhere, interesting conversations over great food/desserts, and phone calls to check up on our kids. But, if I were to plan a conference for the women of my church to attend, I think I would opt for a multi-generational one.
I would not make this a determining factor for attending a conference – just one factor to include when planning!