How to Pick a Retreat Theme

We’ve covered the WHEN, WHERE, and the WHY of planning a women’s ministry retreat.

Today we’re going to talk about how to pick a retreat theme.

With my whole heart, I believe you need to pick a theme (call it focus, if you’d rather) for your retreat.

It can be really tempting to “Google” retreat themes and then pick out one that you and your team love.

Can I suggest a different method? Please?

God knows what your women need. He has a very specific theme in mind for your specific group. He knows the heart of your women. He knows what your church has been through and what your church will go through before you head off on your retreat.

God is faithful. He will absolutely reveal your theme to you if you go looking for it. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

James 1_5

Two of the three teams I’ve served on have prayerfully sought a women’s ministry theme and verse for each year. Our retreats tied into those themes. Our events, activities, and retreat were like branches of a tree or spokes of a wheel (almost) all connecting with that theme and verse for the year.

Even though we had our theme for the year, we still prayed about the specific direction within that theme that God wanted us to focus on at our retreat.

But what if you don’t have a specific theme or verse for your women’s ministry year?

How do you know what direction God is pointing you?

You look for God to repeat Himself. When I’m praying about and seeking a theme or verse, God will give it to me repeatedly. It might appear in my quiet time, again during our Sunday sermon, and pop up in our Bible study lesson. It might be in a song I hear seemingly every time I get in the car. Those are not coincidences – that is God trying to get your attention!

Be patient. You might get these little God nudges over the period of a month, or maybe just a couple of weeks. I don’t move on it until I am certain.

As a team, we have always settled on our theme first before we seek out a speaker or decide what type of retreat we’re going to have. (More on the types of retreats tomorrow!)

We don’t “Google” until we’ve heard from God first!

Don't Google until you've heard from God first

Can God direct you to a book or a speaker? Absolutely! If you seek the theme from Him first, you’ll know it’s the right book or speaker if it aligns with what He’s already told/shown you.

Can God impact our women and bless our choice no matter how we’ve made it? Yes, He can!

However, when decisions are blanketed in prayer from start to finish and based on God’s will rather than our own, there’s a distinct difference in the end product.

Can I issue a word of caution? Some of your team members may not have experience seeking the Lord’s direction in this way. It may help if you share HOW God led you to the theme that He has. You may even need to take time for the team to pray before moving forward. Ask God to give you unity and peace as you seek to move forward.

We want our women to see God’s hand, not ours in the plans of the retreat.

Once God’s given you a specific theme, you’ll want to find a speaker with experience/training that speaks on that topic. You’ll find information on how to find a speaker here.

You may also want to read:
The Best Women’s Ministry Theme Ever
How to Select your Verse and Theme for the Year


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