You can try to find a church to book it yourself, but it’s unlikely one church will have enough people that would be interested to make it worthwhile. Or you could try to book it in a hotel and invite a ton of churches out.
All of that sounds like a lot of work to me.
Or perhaps you want to put together a workshop on how to choose a spouse, and speak to university students. Again, you can try to contact a church, or a campus group, but that’s hard.
In both cases, there’s a better way.
Find a ministry that is already targeting your group/area of concern, and ask if you can partner with them.
This isn’t as scary as it seems. Let’s take the workshop on anorexia, for instance. What if you could find a ministry that already dealt with teenage girls? Or with women in general? Or with eating disorders? Or when it comes to the premarital stuff, you could find a marriage ministry that didn’t really deal with engaged couples yet. Or a big campus ministry group.
Many groups are already doing ministry, but everyone is cash strapped. They’re often eager to expand what they offer, but they don’t have the money to do so. If you can come alongside and say,
I see you have a hole in your ministry-an area that isn’t currently being filled. I would love to fill that for you.
They may just say yes! Especially if you don’t ask for money.
“What’s that?” you say. Don’t ask for money?
That’s right. Don’t ask for money. Because few ministries have extra money lying around today anyway. But if they can expand their ministry, and reach new people, they may be eager to do it.
If you don’t ask for money, what’s the purpose of a partnership? Well, they can provide you with other things.
They might be able to:
- Provide posters/graphic design for you
- Give you access to their email database to send out invitations to your events
- Lend you their name so you have credibility
- Call churches for you to arrange an introduction
- Allow you to incorporate some of the materials they already have
- Sell your materials on their website and at their conferences
I know some people right now who are trying to start a new ministry for people in job transition. It’s a great idea, but it’s a hard one to do on their own, and they’re sending out tons of emails and aren’t necessarily getting a big response. I know people want to maintain ownership of their ministries, but I think you can still do that by being under the auspices of something bigger. For instance, if you wanted to do something in job transition, I’d contact some of the Christian financial planning agencies or financial services companies and see if they’d be interested in your workshops. Again, you don’t have to charge, but having their name behind you gives you tons of credibility. And then they may even book you to do other things!
These partnerships aren’t necessarily easy to find, but I do think they’re worth investigating if you want to veer off the traditional Christian women’s ministry speaking gigs (speaking at churches to general audiences) to speak in a niche market. When you’re in a niche market, you need something bigger behind you in order to get enough people at your events. It’s very hard to do on your own.
So brainstorm about who is trying to reach the same people you are, or who might see what you offer as an interesting expansion on what they already do. And then start sending out feelers. Don’t just sell yourself, but send out an email introducing yourself and asking if you can talk with them on the phone or in person about their vision and see if you could establish a mutually beneficial relationship. Make sure that you have something to offer-like showing a promotional video of theirs to your audience, or giving your audience out information from that organization, or anything. But if it’s a win-win, many organizations will be willing to do it.
You’ll need some testimonials that say how good you are, and likely a DVD or a recording of what you do, along with your own promotional materials. But don’t overlook the benefits of combining ministries. Sure, you may give up a bit of control. Yes, you may give up the potential of huge name recognition. But few of us are going to create huge ministries on our own, anyway. I think partnerships offer you the opportunity to get off the ground quicker, and are far more strategic for advancing the kingdom, anyway.
I’ve had partnerships with FamilyLife Canada and World Vision Canada, and they’ve gone so well. Anyone else had experiences like this? Let me know!