Write Brilliant


Pinterest is the single biggest influencer of women’s events I’ve ever seen.

The images, ideas, and pins are transforming retreats, getaways, and events with the most beautiful and mod creations.

Say goodbye to 80’s clip art and bad fonts. Pinterest ushers us into a much needed design-upgrade in the church. When guests walk in the front door, what they encounter shouts welcome and echoes quality through handwritten script and stunning hues.

Make no mistake: the centerpiece of the most breathtaking events is always Jesus.

But in our eye-for-design culture, sometimes low-quality design communicates subtle messages like:

Quality doesn’t matter.
This was a list-minute, thrown together event.
We’re out of touch.
We don’t really care.

This spring I’ve had the privilege of being part of events all over the United States and Canada where the design elements communicated:

We care about quality and we care about you.
If we pay attention to the details, how much more does God?
We love this event, we love you, and we want you to know how much God loves you.
You are welcome here. We want you to leave encouraged, refreshed, and more in love with Jesus.

The focus of the themes, the font selection, the creative elements, the artistic expression of teachable take-a-ways, even the food served has been stunning. Even more wowzer, much of it has been created on super skinny budgets thanks to sharable, online creative ideas.

More than the emergence of Pinterest, I believe something deeper is transpiring in the church.

People with God-given creative talents and an eye-for-design are being unleashed to use their gifts in the church.

Teams hosting events are becoming more intentional about identifying the people within their churches gifted in areas of display, décor, and hospitality.

Most of us know the Pinteresty, Etsy-lovin’ people in our midst. These wild creatives are living, breathing gifts to our communities and churches. Their talents are being given the opportunities to shine and enhance events like never before. And we are blessed because of them.

I snapped a few pictures of the fun, fabulous ideas we’ve seen this spring:

Women's Retreat

#1. Invite participants to register for the gift they want to win.

Retreat Giveaways

I’m a big believer in giveaways at events. They’re joyous, lighthearted, and add energy and surprise into an event. Cheering for your friends is the best!

But sometimes people win items they don’t really want.

That’s why we loved the approach taken by The Chapel in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They selected the prizes and placed them on a single table. Each prize had an accompanying paint can. If you wanted to win a particular prize, fill out an entry on the table with your name and drop it in the paint can.

Notice the cute prizes including the hand-lettered cutting board and that sky blue adorable bike. (Gasp!)

When the time for giveaways came, the hosts brought the cans up on stage and picked the winners. Every person who won received a prize they wanted. Brillz.

#2. Don’t be afraid to go big on stage.

When it comes to décor, sometimes we’re tempted to think small, simple, clean. If you’re event ends at 4pm and your church service begins at 5pm then s-i-m-p-l-e is your best friend. But if you have time and space, consider going big in your theme.

We were flabber-awed by the stage for a recent Fight Back With Joy retreat in which the creative team went over the top for the stage.

Retreat Stage Ideas - Fight Back With Joy

One of the best parts of this approach is that the stage lent itself to become part of the presentations. I held up balloons, kicked them around, and used them as props. If you have time, space, and team, consider making the stage a big exclamation mark of your “one thing” idea and event theme.

#3. Dress up your greeting team.

I saw Waldo! In. Real. Life.

Wheres Waldo?!

What joy, when at a recent Catalyst event, the greeter at the door was dressed like Waldo. I couldn’t help but snap a photo. Consider going beyond matching t-shirts for a joyous and surprising look for your volunteers.

#4. Remember: an ooh! n’ ahh! event favor doesn’t have to be expensive.

What’s the one house plant that’s easy to keep alive?

A succulent.
Yep. Plant and forget.
Even I can keep a succulent alive.
That says mucho, mucho.

A few months ago, I spoke at Pursue the Passion at Covenant Church in Winterville, North Carolina. They wanted to send me home with one of these cute succulents. Would it survive the flight home? Would it stay green when I forgot to water? I wrapped the little guy in a plastic bag and tossed him in my suitcase.

Beautiful Succulants!

Now this cutie sits next to my kitchen sink and reminds me each day of the beautiful promise:

“You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” —Isaiah 58:11

Whereas some after-gifts from events get stashed away in a closet or collect dust, this brilliant living gift sits out every day. As I nourish this baby green life, the life-giving truth of Scripture nourishes me.

#5. Delicious and healthy are not antonyms.

For a healthy desert alternative, one church created a luxurious berry bowl. Yummo! (Thanks, Costco).

Fruit Bowl

Gluten-free participants filled paper cones with fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries; while others enjoyed a regular ice cream cone. Pre-made traditional ice cream cones were also available for those who didn’t have gluten restrictions.

This fun dessert offered a healthy alternative and could be enjoyed by everyone.

Notice the red chicken wire cone holder, hand drawn Scripture reminder, and chocolate kisses on the table. Total adorbs.

#6. String the fun together.

Check out the cones strung together on ribbon to tie together the desert theme. Cute!


#7. Consider a new strategy at response.

One of the moving ways that people have responded to teaching times over the last few months is through writing prayers or commitments on cards and clothes pinning them during a closing set of worship. This gives time for people to reflect, pray, respond, and also pray with someone if they desire. We are in awe of how God has used this simple approach.


And if you’ve seen or tried something new at your church for an event, please share in the space below.

Let’s grow and learn to unleash our creativity together!

Submit your name and email below to receive your free download on how to hang on when you are at the end of your rope. 

Check your inbox for your download now.