Do you enjoy hosting a ladies retreat or would you rather attend one? Some of you are thinking, “I would rather attend a retreat. I get more out of it. I can go to the sessions and enjoy the fellowship.” Others of you may be saying, “I like to host a retreat. That way I can be more involved, making choices in the theme, the food, and the program. I love being closely tied in to the whole retreat.” I enjoy ladies retreats whether hosting or attending, and I would like to encourage you to do the same.
The old saying, “You get out of something what you put into it” is an absolutely true statement when considering ladies retreats. A person who dreads planning a retreat will not be disappointed—they will receive dread and discouragement, and they are doomed for a disastrous weekend. A person who approaches a retreat with delight and dedication will definitely receive the desires of their heart!
Here are a few suggestions for hosting a retreat with delight through the planning, the retreat weekend, and the wrap up of the event!
Design a Plan
A plan should be in place before you begin the journey of planning the retreat. Design your plan on paper. Taking the time to design a plan will help you be pleased with the end result.
Delegate with Purpose
Allow me to illustrate purpose. Sometimes I clean our house just because it’s time to clean and sometimes I clean it because company is going to stay a few nights. I clean with greater purpose when I know that someone is coming and I must get it done. Many hands make light work is a great saying. It applies to cleaning house and it also applies to ladies retreats.
As you are designing your plan, write down areas of the retreat that you could delegate. I like to delegate everything except for leading the retreat. Leadership is best accomplished when the team leader sees the whole picture and doesn’t have a part of the picture to manage. Meeting regularly with your team allows you to delegate with purpose, accomplishing the designed plan that you laid out in the beginning. Design your plan to include delegating with purpose.
Dedicate with Passion
In order to have a successful retreat you must passionately dedicate yourself to the retreat. Passion simply means an intense desire or enthusiasm for something or someone. When you say yes to being involved in the retreat, whether you are the coordinator, team leader, or team member, remember that you are to dedicate yourself with passion. A retreat is only as good as the people who pour their time and lives into it. I love to work with ladies that are passionate about their area.
As you get closer to the retreat, more hours will be required to accomplish a desired end. Each lady must remember that we can do our job in a half-hearted manner and be miserable through the process, or we can dedicate ourselves with passion and love every minute of planning, giving our time unselfishly with passion.
Delight in People
It is difficult to say the word delight without smiling. Some of my best memories in ministry have been made while putting together a ladies retreat. Going off on rabbit trails while planning, making bigger than life plans and having to bounce back to reality, and staying late nights to decorate, talk, and enjoy the company of other ladies.
Did you notice that each one of the scenarios have one thing in common. The common thread is people—all kinds of people. People that are fun and people that are deep thinkers. People that can give many hours and people that can give few hours. People that smile and people that are non-expressive. People make up our churches and we should delight in them.
There are ladies in each of our churches that have wonderful ideas. Tap into the resource of their knowledge and creativity, and delight in using them and their talents and abilities. You will be blessed when you delight in people.
Detail in Priority
Things that are important to you should be written down. In the rush of the moment, you will forget the most important things. There are two tools to make sure that you do not forget any details:
Order of Program
The order of program is a general breakdown of the program for the audience. It is simply a shell of the sessions and it should be included in the packet of information given to all retreat delegates. For example: 6:30 pm – Session One – Speaker Jane Doe; 8:00 PM – Session Two – Speaker Susie Q. This detail simply lays out the plan clarifying times, speakers, and sessions.
Order of Service
The order of service is a specific breakdown of the service. It has every detail of each service written out. Anyone participating in the service needs a copy so that they know exactly when to come on stage.
As you make your order of program and order of service don’t forget two details that always seem to add to any retreat:
Attendees enjoy door prizes; however, they can be redundant, methodical, and drawn out. Spice it up! Use large beach balls. Throw them out in the audience and have a time of hitting them in the air. Whoever has the balls when the music stops receives a door prize. Make popcorn balls by wadding up yellow paper. Have 10 of them with the word “winner” written on them. When the music stops have everyone who is holding a popcorn ball open the paper and look for the word “winner.” Give a prize to those people. The session ends in an exciting way; thus, building excitement for the remaining sessions.
Workshops are great for including all ladies. Specific subjects can be addressed that are not appropriate for main sessions. An example would be a parenting session. Such topics should be covered in a workshop to prevent ladies that are unable to have children from feeling like the retreat is not for them.
Make your retreat unique year after year! Retreat for who? It’s for you! Get involved in yours!