Thousands of Girls Participate in Annual Sleepover
Girls across the country recently enjoyed an “All Star” Girls Ministries Sleepover as thousands of girls and leaders gathered in churches to play games, watch movies, munch on a wide variety of food, devote time to God, and — despite the event name — very likely get a lot less sleep than usual!
“When you bring girls together, whether it's a handful or scores, for an overnight event like Sleepover,” concedes National Girls Ministries Director Mandy Groot with a smile, “sleep is rarely the priority for any of them.”
This year’s Sleepover theme was All Star Celebration, an intentional link to the Girls Ministries 2016 annual theme of All Star Girl, which focused on helping girls come to love Jesus, honor others, value themselves, be confident in Christ, and influence their world for Christ.
Groot says this year’s Sleepover program provided churches a highly customizable plan and materials that not only allowed leaders freedom in what and when they were going to do or view something, but could easily move the Sept. 23 event to a date the better accommodated their schedule.
“We provide 16 videos for leaders to download or view directly online whenever it worked best for them,” Groot says. “And with that many videos, they can even save some for viewing later in a clubroom setting.”
Mark Entzminger, senior director of Children’s Ministries, states, “One of the key opportunities Sleepover provides clubs is to introduce other girls in the church — and outside of the church — to Girls Ministries clubs and, more importantly, a relationship with Jesus Christ in a fun and non-threatening environment.”
“We heard from a club in Georgia that had 16 girls attend its sleepover, and five of the girls did not attend the church — that’s exciting!” Groot says. “In addition to the fun and games, the night also has a devotional period where the gospel is shared and seeds are planted.”
Another focus of Sleepover is to offer ongoing encouragement in raising funds for the annual Coins for Kids project — a partnership with Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge for the annual missions focus of Girls Ministries. This year’s project, called Jangdea, is building a Christian school in Senegal, West Africa.
Groot says she and her team are urging leaders and girls to “give big” in November and push to have a great giving year for Coins for Kids. What’s more, the National Girls Ministries office is going to be a part of that giving.
“Our team is going to do a fundraiser with the local Chick-fil-A, where we’ll go in and serve while also encouraging friends and family to come in and help us raise funds,” Groot says. “Chick-fil-A will then donate 20 percent of the proceeds back to Coins for Kids.”
“Over the past decade, we’ve averaged about $200,000 in giving towards each project,” Groot says. “This year, we’re running about $7,000 ahead of where we’ve been in the past at this time. This is very good news as we recently found out from missionaries Bryan and Laura Davis that they have been gifted another piece of land and they’ll use any additional funds they receive towards building a second school in Senegal!”
Groot, who just returned from overseas and meeting with the missionaries for the 2017 Coins for Kids Project, says that in addition to seeing a strong showing for Coins for Kids this fall, from now until the end of the year, they would like to see the number of girls and leaders who sign-up to be All Star Girls reach 10,000.
“The All Star Girl commitment page is designed to be downloaded, printed out, and given to girls to consider signing,” Groot says. “It’s basically a commitment to live for Jesus in all parts of their lives. There’s also an inexpensive All Star Girl Devotional Journal that can be purchased that provides 19 devotionals for elementary-age girls written by a 14-year-old girl who’s passionate about serving God, despite her physical condition.”
Groot says that she hopes this is a record-breaking year for Coins for Kids, but more importantly, that through events such as Sleepover and efforts like Coins for Kids, girls develop compassionate Christian worldviews, where the Great Commission is a part of who they are. “A young girl who’s passionate about reaching the world for Christ,” Groot observes, “will one day become a woman who is passionate about reaching the world for Christ.”