Please note: This post was originally published on October 30, 2014 and has been edited and updated to include more information.
Between the speaker sessions, discussion groups, prayer, meals, worship, and icebreakers, the schedule is filling up fast!
You may wonder if you really need to block out some free time for your women.
I’m here to tell you, yes you do!
Why women need free time:
1 . It builds relationship.
Sitting and listening to a speaker is great, but your women need time to visit and get to know one another.
2. Your women need time to process the message.
Let the message sink in. Give their ears and minds a little recovery time.
3. Hearts need time to soften.
Some of your women are going to struggle with feelings of conviction, uncovering hidden sins, and fresh revelations of an issue that needs healing/forgiveness/repentance. Give them time to get to that place of repentance or forgiveness.
4. Girls just wanna have fun!
Seriously though, sometimes I think we get a bad rap as Christians. People think we don’t know how to have fun. Allow women time to have a little fun – they might want to head to the outlet mall, take in a movie, go on a hike, play cards in their room, or just grab a coffee.
Some of your women physically need to take a break. Whether they are older and need that afternoon nap to make it through the evening or they are a tired mom who wants nothing more than to nap without having to listen for the baby monitor. Keep in mind some of your women have health issues that you know nothing about.
6. God can use that free time to make connections.
Women whose paths may never cross at church on Sunday morning will connect over the course of the weekend. God may be planting seeds of a new friendship or mentoring relationship. Give it time to grow.
God uses the free time to build relationships, soften hearts, and engrave His word on our hearts.
It’s helpful to include a few ideas and travel direction for free time activities in your retreat program.
Look to include:
- Outlet malls
- Antique stores/flea markets
- Quaint shopping areas
- Hiking trails
- Unique tourist spots (gem mines, waterfalls, museums, etc.)
- Movie theater location
- Ice cream shops, bakeries, and other spots for snagging a sweet treat
- Activities women can enjoy on site
You don’t need to include pages of details, descriptions, and directions. Most of your ladies will “Google” if they need more details. And most have a GPS in their phone.
Your job is just to make them aware of what is in the area.
Some of your ladies just need to get out and off the retreat property for a bit. They’ll return refreshed and ready to go!
This past September three of us decided to brave the rain and head to the apple orchard. We were thrilled and surprised to encounter live music and cloggers! It was so much fun!
We sampled apples and fudge. I bought a peck of apples and a jar of sweet potato pecan butter (which is as good as it sounds). I am reminded of our retreat weekend every time I eat them.
While it can be tempting to pack your retreat time as full as you possible can, don’t underestimate the value of a little downtime for your ladies!
What activities has your group participated in during your retreat free time?