Ideas for Your Retreat Schedule

Today I’m going to share some actual, real-life retreat schedules with you.

I hope you’ll find them helpful as you plan.

Keep in mind, they aren’t perfect! You’ll want to tweak them to best suit the needs of your women and your location.

I’ve pulled out three of the two-night schedules that we’ve used.

Click to open and download each one. Each file is a PDF.

Two Night Retreat Schedule Example 1

Two Night Retreat Schedule Example 2

Two Night Retreat Schedule Example 3

Now while I haven’t led a one-night retreat, I have led an over-night conference. I think you’ll still find it helpful. Be sure to read my notes at the end.

Click to download the schedule we used: One Night Retreat Schedule Example

Our first year of re-launching our women’s ministry we held a one day retreat. Here’s that schedule for you to take a look at: One Day Retreat Schedule Example

Scheduling Tips for Your Retreat

Here are a few retreat scheduling tips:

  • Don’t start too early and don’t end too late.
  • Schedule some free time. I’ll share some specific free time ideas soon!
  • Schedule bathroom breaks if you’re going to meet for a long stretch.
  • Speakers should teach/talk for 45 min to an hour for each session. No more.
  • Speakers should speak for at least 3 sessions and no more than 5. For a 2 night retreat, they should speak at least 4 sessions so your women feel like they got enough depth and teaching time.
  • Worship can start and/or end your sessions. Worship can even happen in the middle if your speaker requests it.
  • Be mindful of those women that struggle with worship – 1 – 3 songs per set is a good number. Vary the number as well.
  • Consider building a service project into your schedule. Choose something women can easily do while they talk. Need an idea? Consider having a Sole Hope shoe cutting party. You could also make Blessing Bags.

Your location, facilities, and dining times will dictate the majority of your schedule. Figure out those first. Be clear on what time meals actually end. At one facility women could still be served breakfast at 8:59. We let them know for our purposes they needed to finish eating by then.

Other scheduling lessons I’ve learned:

  1. Be flexible and submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
  2. Respect the check in and check out times of your retreat location.
  3. It is often helpful to have your women check out before you start your morning session that last morning. It takes the pressure off of having to get your women back to their rooms and packed.
  4. Prayer stations can be a powerful experience.

One quick story for you….

I attended a retreat awhile back that gave us very vague schedules. Dinner 6 PM, Session 1 – 7-10 PM, Session 2 – 9 – Noon. And so on. I wigged out a lot a bit when I saw almost all of our sessions were going to last 3 hours! That’s a looong time for someone to speak or teach, must less for that first night when everyone is tired from the week and the drive. It turned out fine. There was worship, icebreakers, and small group discussion time.

My point is, while you don’t need to share every nitty gritty detail of your schedule with your women, a certain level of detail is appreciated and will keep your type-A girls from wanting to scream.

You want your women to want to come, not to hide out in their rooms or sneak off campus.

Your turn to share: What other scheduling tips do you have for other leaders?

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