I've Never Planned a Recognition Service! Now What?

I know who you are. I talk to someone just like you several times during spring recognition season. You’ve never planned or prepared a recognition service, and you have no idea where to start. You’re a tad bit overwhelmed with the idea of a formal service, and you’d just like a simple plan.

The good news is that you’re not alone. The even better news is that you can make a recognition service as simple (or as complicated) as you’d like to make it. As long as girls are being recognized for what they’ve learned and experienced this year in missions discipleship, you are on the right path!

Together, let’s plan a simple recognition service that will allow your GAs to be recognized for all their hard work this year.

  1. Date/Place: Determine you time, date and location for your event. Check your church calendar, talk to your church staff and WMU director and let everyone know what you’re planning.
  2. Vests: Order vests a size or two larger than your girls currently need them. That way, they won’t outgrow their vests any time soon.
  3. Awards: Calculate and order your badges soon. If you have no clue which badges to award, ask yourself these questions:
    1. Have you focused on learning the GA Pledge? Scripture verses? Song? Award the appropriate badge to girls who have learned what it means to be a GA.
    2. Did we do any group projects this year that could match a badge? Check the WMU catalog or go to our web store and see what badges are available.
    3. Are there any special awards you’d like to present? Consider awarding the High Five badge to a girl who has mentored another child, consistently done more than was asked to do or reached out to share Jesus in an unexpected way.
  4. Prepare your girls: If you want your girls to share something they’ve done this year, practice what they will say and walking on and off stage. Make sure they know what to expect before your event.
  5. Invitations: Post your event on social media and in your church newsletter, and send home an invitation to parents. Whether your event is formal or informal, everyone loves to be invited!

For ideas about themes for recognition services and even more tips and ideas, we’ve recently published GA Recognition: Tips and Ideas You’ll find charts, reproducible invitations, themes, clip art and great ideas to help make planning your first recognition service much easier.

And don’t forget to take plenty of pictures. You’ll want to remember the smiles and excitement for years to come!


Heather Keller is the GA and CA consultant at national WMU. Heather serves as a GA leader in her local church and displays her own GA badges and sash in her office at national WMU.

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