The Solution to Your Retreat Planning Struggles

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” While no doubt Charles Dickens wasn’t referring to women’s ministry retreats, many of us would borrow those words to describe our retreat and retreat planning experience. The best of times being: That something special that happens when a group of women travel together, break bread together, and spend concentrated time together worshiping the Lord and digging into God’s Word. … [Read more...]

Day 31 – Retreat Planning Timeline

I thought the perfect way to end our 31 Days of Retreat Planning would be to give you a Retreat Planning Timeline. We've worked through a pile of details and it can be helpful to organize the pieces all in one place. I hope this series has been helpful to you and your team. If there’s something I haven’t addressed or need to make clearer, please comment or email me (Cyndee AT womensministrytoolbox DOT com). I don’t want to leave you with … [Read more...]

Day 29 – Photo Booth Ideas for Your Retreat

I did not know one of our team members was going to have a photo booth set up for us to use at our retreat in September. But I am so glad she put one together for us! I don’t normally like to have my picture taken, but I can play with a prop and strike a pose with the best of them. I'm super excited to share some fun photo booth photos with you all today. I've been waiting all month to share them! A little background so these photos … [Read more...]

Day 27 – Discussion Group Leaders For Your Retreat

Yesterday we talked through the logistics of retreat discussion groups. Today we’re going to spend some time talking about your discussion group leaders. I strongly recommend you recruit and train your discussion group before your retreat. Your retreat planning team should have some recommendations for you. Several of the women on your retreat planning team may need to serve as discussion group leaders. This is especially true if your … [Read more...]

Day 24 – Evaluating Your Retreat

Yesterday we talked about having the women at your retreat complete a retreat survey. But there’s a second piece to evaluating your retreat – your team evaluation. Years ago we came up with a Post Event Evaluation Form. It’s something I recommend teams use after every women’s ministry event. I’ve taken that form, made some changes, and have a brand-new Post-Retreat Evaluation Form for your team to complete once you’ve returned from … [Read more...]

Day 23 – Retreat Surveys

We can’t see, hear, and be everywhere during the retreat. The best way to gather real and honest feedback is to have your women fill out a survey at the end of the retreat. Having collected information at the retreat and after the retreat, I can tell you from experience you’ll get more responses if you can find a way to do your survey at the retreat. As I mentioned in How to End Your Retreat, you may want to give your women time to … [Read more...]

Day 22 – How to End Your Retreat

Most, but not all, of the retreats I’ve been on have had a time of sharing at the end of the weekend. It can be encouraging to your retreat planning team and your attendees to hear how God’s been at work during the weekend. Your women will have some ah-ha moments to share. When we share out loud and write down what He has done, we’re more likely to remember. I admit, I don't have a recipe for the perfect retreat ending. I'm still … [Read more...]

Day 20 – Setting Up a Prayer Room for Your Retreat

We’ve talked about praying before your event, but what about praying at your event? Today I want to share some ideas about setting up a Prayer Room at your retreat. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about Prayer Stations. Not every retreat I’ve been on has had a Prayer Room. But when there’s been one, it has been used by both our women and our team. Ideally your Prayer Room (or space) will be: Peaceful Separate Available At one … [Read more...]

Day 19 – Using Icebreakers at Your Retreat

No matter the size of your retreat group, there will be women that do not know each other. Whether it’s because they attend a different service, a different Sunday school class, or came with a friend, they will need opportunities to make connections. I have no doubt that your women are friendly and welcoming. But it’s not worth waiting on your group of gals to bring them into the fold. Your weekend will pass by quickly! We’ve got to … [Read more...]

Day 18 – Your Letter to Retreat Participants

As was modeled before me, our teams have always sent a letter to the retreat participants. Back in the day we used to send them through the mail, however due to the fact that almost everyone has email and postage can add up quickly, we now send them electronically. Be sure to print out and mail any copies of your retreat letter for women that do not have email access. Since you’ve asked for it on their registration form, you’ll know just … [Read more...]

Day 17 – Free Time Ideas for Your Retreat

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 … [Read more...]

Day 16 – Creating an Awesome Retreat Program

It’s probably no surprise that I love retreat and conference programs! Retreat programs: Keep me organized Help me know when I need to be where Calm that schedule-crazed part of my brain that feels better knowing there is a plan! (It’s no coincidence that my life verse is Jeremiah 29:11.) Please, please take the time to put together a retreat program for you women. They will use it, I promise! You’ll also find retreat programs … [Read more...]