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Hosting a ladies' luncheon at church can make a good venue for a fundraiser, whether items are sold or auctioned at the event or each lady pays a price per plate. Some religious groups accompany the luncheon with a devotional or Bible lesson. The objective of other luncheons is simply to build friendship and fellowship. Whatever the reason for your luncheon, there are a few essential steps that will get you started toward a memorable affair.
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Form a committee of helpers who will assist you.
Decide whom you will invite to the luncheon beyond your group of church women, such as friends and family.
Plan the logistics. Pick a date and time for the luncheon. Most afternoon meals start between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Select a room or outdoor area on church property that will accommodate your group, and ask permission to use the location.
Identify the purpose of the luncheon, whether it's a fundraiser, a devotional, a social or something else. Pick a theme for the luncheon that's connected to the purpose. If the lunch is a social event, the theme could be "Friendships in Bloom," with décor and food centering on springtime and flowers.
Select light food items for your menu. Popular choices include finger sandwiches or cold cuts, soups, salads and fruit. If possible, connect your menu with the theme. For example, if you're hosting a "Warming Hearts and Hands" luncheon to raise money to clothe the homeless, serve an array of hot soups. Don't forget about beverages and dessert.
Decide who will prepare the food. If it is a potluck, post the menu in a public place so women can sign up to bring specific dishes. Instead, you may want to assign the food preparation to few volunteer cooks. If you don't want to cook at all, buy the food or use a restaurant to cater the event.
Invite women to the luncheon by sending formal invitations to people's homes or handing them out at church. If it's more informal, ask the pastor to make an announcement at service or post the event in the church bulletin. Instruct ladies to R.S.V.P. so you can get an accurate head count.
Plan activities for the luncheon. A short devotional, games or songs are all appropriate for an informal social event. Arrange for a qualified keynote speaker if your goal is to inform or educate women. If it's a fundraiser, share information about who is benefiting from the money.
Decorate the tables and rooms where the luncheon will be held either the night before or that morning. Designate special tables for food, beverages and dessert. Make sure there are enough tables and chairs for every woman. Cover the tables and include a centerpiece. Decorate the room according to the theme.
Stand by the door and greet each woman as she arrives. After everyone has gathered, thank the ladies for coming and then give thanks to the Lord for the food.
Start the activities as soon as most people have eaten. If your room is large, use a microphone so everyone can hear you.
Close in prayer at the end of the luncheon. Stand by the door as women leave and thank them for coming.
Assign each person on your committee a specific job, like invitations, decorations and food. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed. If your group doesn’t know each other very well, start the luncheon with a short icebreaker. Publicly acknowledge your helpers as the luncheon comes to a close. If your budget allows, give small gifts to show your gratitude.
To avoid a crowd at the food table, dismiss one table or group of women (no more than 10) at a time. Keep an eye out for new women who may not yet know anyone. Introduce them to others or ask a woman you trust to stick next to them so they don’t feel left out.