By Kristin Schultz
Retreats are powerful times of spiritual growth and personal connection. And you work hard to make your retreats this powerful! You definitely know how much work goes into planning and executing an effective women’s retreat. You ask all the right questions: Where will the retreat take place? How long will it last? How many will attend? What kind of food do we need? What will the retreat theme be?
But . . . sometimes, things don’t go as planned. We make mistakes and forgo opportunities. This year, keep these simple do’s and don’ts in mind as you plan your fall retreat:
Do – Have a clear purpose. Know what you hope the retreat participants will take away from your time together.
Don’t – Forget to advertise. Start advertising and inviting women of all ages to attend the retreat at least four weeks in advance so they can plan and you can properly prepare.
Do – Consider your venue. Can the participants afford an overnight at a retreat center? Is a one-day retreat at your church more feasible? Does your venue require you to purchase their catered food or can you bring your own?
Don’t – Under- or overestimate the power of downtime. Build in enough time in your retreat schedule for the participants to reflect and have time alone to be in prayer or meditation. But keep the downtime structured so that participants don’t get antsy or bored.
Do – Think about the diversity of your group. Make sure the retreat content and discussion include women of all backgrounds, ages, and life circumstances.
Don’t – Hog the microphone. Build in time for the participants to discuss topics with one another and ask questions of you and of each other. Interaction is key to building relationships.
Do – Be mindful of dietary restrictions. Try to plan food that includes gluten-free or vegetarian options. Ask participants ahead of time if they have any allergies or other dietary requirements.
Don’t – Do it all yourself. Have a team to help you plan and run the retreat. Having a team to share the organizational responsibilities takes some of the stress off you.
Do – Get to the venue early. By setting up or being on hand ahead of time, you will feel more prepared and relaxed when the women arrive.
Don’t – Forget to tip venue staff. Build gratuity into your budget and be as generous as you can to the men and women who work to provide excellent service to you and the women at the retreat.
Do – Pray for the retreat, its participants, and any venue staff that will be serving. Thank God for the women you have the opportunity to serve. Ask the Lord to bless your time together.
What retreat are you planning for fall?
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