Ruth Adair explains it like this: “The gifts God gives you, he gives you in the womb. He's not taking it back from you if you're not using it in the right way.”
Meeting planning was added to her church responsibilities 10 years ago when Adair went to her pastor at Triedstone Full Gospel Baptist Church in Chicago and asked about starting a women's ministry like the men had. “Great idea; see what you can do,” Bishop Simon Gordon told her.
It turned out that she could do quite a bit.
She led Women of All Seasons, a prayer and ministry group, for eight years. Then “the Lord showed me, ‘Let's have a conference.’ I found out I'm visionary through God. He's given me the gifts of vision and administration,” she says.
Her planning responsibilities grew in her congregation of 3,100 members and denominationwide. Now she has seven events through the end of the year and is helping organize an international conference. The events range from a church anniversary celebration to a statewide conference involving 2,000 people to a new idea of traveling with 150 congregation members on a to Jamaica in November.
A Step on the Walk
Planning meetings is just another step in her spiritual walk. Raised in the church, Adair, like many other young people, rebelled in her teens. For 20 years she was a backslider. “I went into the world and tried everything,” she said. She compares herself to the famous parable when she says “I've always looked at myself as the prodigal daughter.”
Her faith found her again when she was in trouble with the law and she asked God's help. “He did pass that cup from me, and I've been serving him ever since. When God gets sick of your foolishness, he knows how to reel you back in,” Adair says.
She joined the Triedstone Full Gospel Baptist Church 18 years ago. Her first calling from God was to start a Sunday School for teens. Later, “the Lord started showing me he was taking me to another level,” she says.
Her revelation came one morning when she was studying. Although it was 6:30 or 7 a.m., it was pitch black outside. Adair was frightened and looked out the window. “I could see way in the distance, a tunnel and a light at the end. God was telling me to preach His word.”
That began years of studying and reaching various goals, the first being licensed as an evangelist, then as a minister, and finally being ordained 13 years ago.
Help Along the Way
Through her work with women's retreats, she met Vicky Zacharais at Lake Lawn Resort in Wisconsin. She sponsored Adair's membership in RCMA. Adair has been a member for four years and calls RCMA the “best ministry for bringing people together” in the religious meeting planning world. RCMA's networking “puts me in a position to be a blessing to my church and other people.”
Ever the evangelist, Adair enjoys bringing people into the RCMA fold. Her efforts in that arena earned her a cruise last year to Greece and Italy, through RCMA's Member-Get-A-Member contest. “I'd never been on a cruise before. It was fabulous.”
RCMA has “enhanced the wisdom I have and enhanced me all the way around. It's taken me to another level. I thank God for that. It makes what I do easier.”
Adair also appreciates the Behind-the-Scenes experiences, where she has learned about hotel management, airlines, and food and beverage service.
She is always willing to learn, especially from her meeting participants. She has them fill out a survey telling her what worked and what didn't. Then she evaluates what was said. Just because something didn't work doesn't mean it was a wrong thing to do, but maybe “you did not apply yourself in the way you should,” Adair says. “Criticism can lead to wisdom if you do it right.”
She advises others not to be afraid to ask questions. “How do you get knowledge if you don't ask?”
Consistency, flexibility, and knowing your audience are her other main tenets of meeting planning.
Her RCMA experiences have inspired her “to be a more versatile planner. I want to do more meetings. It doesn't have to be for my church. It can be for others,” she said.