This past Friday, I launched a ministry called Rooted. Thirty little girls came over to my house for crafts, ice cream, and a Bible study, and it was so so fun and special! Since a few people have asked me how I structured this event, thinking that they’d like to hold one of their own–and since I want to remember what worked and what didn’t so that I can plan accordingly in the future–I thought I’d put up a quick blog post about the night.
Two weeks ahead of time, I put ads for Rooted on my Instagram, my Facebook, our neighborhood Facebook page, and our homeschool e-loop. I said that first grade all the way up through college girls were invited, because I’m a big believer in big girls loving on the little girls and vice versa; I billed the event as a “craft night” primarily, but I made sure to mention that a Bible study would be happening as well. As I was researching ways to advertise, I read a quote that really stuck with me:
You can’t communicate intimacy through mass media distribution.
I decided to order postcards from Vistaprint.com, and I passed these postcards out at church. I also gave several postcards each to four families in our neighborhood, asking them to pass the postcards on to their friends–which they all did! The rsvp’s began to come, and then they kept coming, and kept coming, and kept coming. I watched in awe (and with a little bit of panic, tbh). I had been thinking that if ten girls came, I’d consider the event a huge success, but I doubted that a whole ten girls would show up–and then I ended up with almost thirty! God blew my little plan out of the water and far exceeded my expectations. Over half of the little girls who came were from my neighborhood. A few friends who are closer to my age were there, as well as a few middle schoolers from our homeschool group, and a handful of girls from my church (which is thirty minutes away from my house, so I knew that not many people would be able to make the drive). I knew seventeen of the girls already, and I met ten of them for the first time Friday night, which was great! The only thing I didn’t like about the event being so large was that I didn’t have time to sit down and have a conversation with each girl who attended.
I’m not a super crafty person, but I was very excited to decorate for Rooted (I love flowers), and I spent the whole summer poring over Pinterest for ideas. I used lots of streamers, lots of pink, and lots of flowers–both fake and real!
Rooted took place from 7-8:30 PM this past Friday evening. When the girls arrived, I had a simple sign-in sheet for the parents to fill out (except I forgot to ask most of them to fill it out haha) with simple contact information, allergies, and asking if it was okay for pictures of their child to be posted on the Internet. The girls began by doing crafts in the garage using the paper, rocks, and (scissors–just kidding) neon paint that I had set out.
Then they went inside for an ice cream sundae bar. (My brother Joshua wants everyone to know that he made the brownies.)
Next, everyone gathered in the living room and I spoke, giving about a twenty-minute devotional. I had been praying about a theme Bible verse for a while this summer; I liked the idea of a flower theme, and I liked the name Rooted, so I finally landed on Ephesians 3:17-19:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know that this love surpasses understanding–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Since I knew that some of the girls didn’t attend church, the first thing I did was to share a bit of my testimony and how I came to know Jesus, and I briefly laid out the basics of salvation and left an open invitation for anyone to talk to me about having a relationship with Jesus anytime they wanted to. Then I talked about our theme verse, using cups of water to illustrate the concept that if we are a cup and God’s love is water, we need to be overflowing His love onto others. Love is not something that just exists–love is something that does things. I ran through some points about loving others during the school year–encouraging people, being kind, being intentional, and recognizing that we CAN make a difference even if we’re young and even if our life might not always seem very exciting. The two things I wanted the girls to take away were as follows:
1. God calls you beloved and wants a relationship with you.
2. We are set free to love others, and love does things.
Our final activity was another craft–we made flower crowns, like Snapchat filters come to life! This was a little chaotic as the wire got tangled and the tape kept getting lost, but the crowns came out super cute (one little girl said that she was going to wear hers every day, and sure enough, she wore it to church this morning).
So many people helped me put this event together. I spoke to several ladies who work in women’s ministry, running my plans by them, and they had great advice. My mom and brother dog-sat our puppy who hates people; my brother made brownies, my parents contributed financially even though they didn’t have to, and my dad read over my talk. A sweet lady gave me two huge bags full of fake flowers, which saved the day (or at least, my wallet) as I used those flowers for both decorations and the flower crowns. Mrs. Misty and Mrs. Mary were so sweet to come and help out; Cari answered my emergency texts and came over to teach me how to make flower crowns, because my first attempt was a laughable Pinterest vs. reality; and Cari, Anna, and Lydia were a huge help with crowd control at the event.
Several moms told me that Rooted was all their daughters had talked about since they received the invitation. When one mom was dropping her daughter off, she commented on how many people were there, and I told her how surprised I was. She said, “That’s because this is what our neighborhood needed.” I think an important concept of Rooted is that it happens at my house–people who don’t go to church are much more likely to come to your house. I’ve been learning and thinking a lot about the Biblical concept of hospitality this summer, and I’m so glad I could put it into practice. There were several teenagers that I looked up to when I was younger, and I would’ve been over the moon if they had invited me over for something like this–now, I’m over the moon that I can do this for other little girls. This kind of stuff makes me feel so fulfilled and just confirms that I want to spend my life doing missions work with kids here in the States.
I’m planning to have five more Rooted events this school year: a fall theme in early October, a cookie decorating day at the beginning of December, a Valentine’s Day event in February, a spring theme, and then a big celebration at the beginning of next summer with popsicles and tie-dying T-shirts and water balloons. If you live near me and you’re a first grade through college age girl, or you know a first grade through college age girl, please come to Rooted/get them to come to Rooted! If you don’t live close to me, I would absolutely encourage you to pray about how God might use you in your own community to mentor the little girls around you. He confirmed over and over that this event was His, and I can’t wait to see what He does through the many other Rooted events that I plan to hold!