You're Missing Something . . . Christian Service at Women's Retreats
You’re Missing Something . . .
How to incorporate Christian service into your women’s retreat
It’s retreat season - spread the word! It’s time to gather the women in your ministry for a few days of Bible study, prayer, and reflection.
That all sounds nice, but . . . are you having trouble getting excited for this year’s retreat? Are you dragging your feet when it comes to reserving your usual conference center? Have you realized that your five-year-old women’s retreat template is out of touch? Are the women in your group clamoring for something different this year?
Consider Paul’s words from Ephesians 2:10 (ESV):
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Yes, women need Bible study, prayer, and reflection in a retreat, but they are also ready to get up and live as Christian women. They’re ready to take their “good works” into the church and the community. Let’s refresh women with God’s Word, comfort them with the promises they have through Jesus, and then set them free to delight in their salvation through serving others!
To bring a Christian service component to your retreat, first consider the gifts and talents of the women in your group. Also, consider the needs of your church and your community. (This article gives helpful tips for getting started.) Don’t create a long, formal survey. Simply include a few questions with possible answers as part of the registration form. For example:
- “What are the top three ways you enjoying serving God and his people?”
- Listed answers: teaching, cooking, nurturing, organizing, crafting, meeting new people, leading a group, showing mercy to vulnerable individuals, working in nature, physical labor
- “Which area of our church most needs our service?”
- Listed answers: seniors, children, teens, music ministry, administrative office, building renovation, fundraising, (add other needs you see in your church)
- “Where could you see the women’s group serving in our community?”
- (List local non-profits, schools, nursing homes, food pantries, hospitals, and other causes. Websites like VolunteerMatch and GuideStar will help you find local service opportunities.)
Keep track of the women’s responses in a spreadsheet and incorporate two projects into your women’s retreat. Picking two projects will ensure that your group has a little variety, so do your best to pick two different projects. For example, choose one project that appeals to introverts and one that appeals to extroverts, one project that serves older individuals and one project that serves kids, one project for your church and one for your community.
Be cautious of overwhelming the women, especially if this is your first time introducing a service component at your retreat. Two projects may sound like a lot to a small group, so make the projects small and manageable. You don’t have to complete the entire project during the retreat. You could spend time brainstorming specific ideas, creating a schedule for service, or actually doing a portion of the project. Just make sure to complete your main objective: getting active in Christian service.
Remember, God in heaven does not need your service, but the people around you do. As you serve, take special care to show Jesus’ grace and mercy in all of your work - inside and outside your church. Pray for the women and for those you are serving. Then, stand back and watch God work in the lives of everyone involved.
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