HALE CENTER—At First Baptist Church in Hale Center, attendance at the annual “ladies’ luncheon” rivals the size of the crowd that gathers most Sunday mornings.
Lynette Ginn acknowledged God placed the idea of a luncheon for women on her heart several years before it actually came to fruition in 2011. While God gave her the vision, he didn’t give her the details, she said. She didn’t know how to begin, so she prayed about every detail.
Her prayers led to her to 12 women in the church. She asked each of them to invite other women to dine at a table they would be responsible for decorating.
This year’s event is scheduled May 5.
The names of all the women of the church—as well as prospective members—are put into a bowl and drawn out. The women who are designated as table captains then send written invitations followed up by a phone call the week of the event.
When the women arrive, they see the care each table captain has taken in decorating her table.
“It really makes it special, and in my heart, that’s what I really wanted it to be—something special for all the women,” Ginn said.
Tany Brown, who helps with the luncheon each year, said women look forward to the event.
“The women of the church have embraced this so much that it has become very important to them. Each year it has grown, because it is not just the women of the church, but also women like my daughter who comes, even though she doesn’t live here anymore,” she said.
Luncheon is also an outreach program
The event also serves as an outreach program, Brown said.
“It’s really amazing how many come that we never really see here. They’re on our rolls, but we don’t see them very often,” added Jacquenet Boyd, who also helps organize the event.
“But when they come, they get to feel the love of the women for them and for one another,” Brown continued.
Some of the reminder calls to women who have attended church sporadically—if at all—can become lengthy as they catch up with one another, Boyd noted.
Ginn has received thank-you notes from several women over the years, each expressing how the invitation arrived at just the right time in their lives.
Those who send notes are only the tip of the iceberg, Brown believes.
“I’m sure God has used this in many ways we don’t even realize have happened,” she said.
Deacons, students help prepare
The women of the church prepare the food—which has grown in attendance to about 100. Several deacons put the food on the plates in the church kitchen, and high school girls from the church serve the women.
“I think the men get just as much joy out of serving as we do having them do that for us,” Ginn said.
Pastor Kris Knippa, who has been at the church about a year, sees the ministry as an asset.
“As a new pastor, what is exciting is that you don’t have to come in and create a ministry. You come in and support a current ministry and empower people to do what they’ve been called to do by God,” he said.
Knippa definitely sees a need for this type of ministry.
“In this day and age, women have many stressors in their lives that maybe previous generations didn’t face. I’m not saying that 50 years ago it was less difficult to be a woman, but today’s woman has many unique demands on her life,” he said.
“So, any time a church can do something to make a woman feel special, to make a woman feel that the day is about her and focusing on who God has made her to be, that’s a beneficial thing.”
Ginn is glad she obeyed God’s prompting to begin the ministry.
“It’s been amazing for me to sit back and see how God has worked through the ideas he has put into my head,” she said.