Unfortunately, many leaders are in the position of having to make adjustments to their retreat plans this year, thanks to the coronavirus.
I know canceling your retreat may sound like the easy, and maybe even the sensible option, but your women desperately need one another right now.
If you’re unable to go away on a retreat this year, is there any way you can salvage the retreat that you’ve prayed for and planned?
Whether your team is still praying about what to do or you’re in the midst of tweaking your retreat plans, I pray the ideas in the post will spark your creativity to offer options that will allow your women to connect with one another and grow in their knowledge of Christ.
Our teams and our women may be disappointed that things will have to look a little bit different this year.
As I see it, we have two choices:
- We can cancel our retreat plans altogether.
- We can embrace the unique opportunity God has given us to flex our planning muscles.
I am praying you’ll go with option #2!
Your women need hope. Your women need encouragement. Your women need reminders that God is in control and that He has not forgotten them.
If you’re unable to proceed with your retreat plans as usual, I have an idea for you to prayerfully consider.
What if instead of planning one large retreat, you break your retreat into pieces and provide multiple opportunities for your women to connect and grow?
Sounds unconventional, I know. But hang with me while I explain.
Retreats are usually composed of 4-5 main sessions, often with a few free time activity options over 2-3 days.
What if we took those same sessions and spread them out over an entire month or more?
Imagine the greater number of women that could be reached!
Carrying the Scripture focus throughout all of the events and activities would tie every offering together and reinforce the message over a longer period of time. Even if some of your women are only able to attend a few of the sessions, they’ll still get a sense of the message and will feel that they were included.
What could a retreat in pieces look like?
For those who are unable to meet in large groups, a retreat in pieces is the perfect solution!
Sessions could be offered in small groups outdoors, indoors in small groups (homes or at church), and online in small groups.
If you can meet in person in large groups, consider kicking off your retreat in pieces with a large group event (streamed or recorded for those unable to attend) and follow-up with small group options.
What materials do you recommend we use?
The Masterpiece Retreat collection by CTA, Inc. is a perfect match for a hosting a retreat in pieces.
Psalm 111:2, “The works of the LORD are great,” anchors the Masterpiece retreat. Participants will learn to see themselves as God’s masterpiece.
Each Masterpiece session is built around small group discussion and includes an optional activity.
The Masterpiece Leader’s Retreat Planning Guide is packed with ideas to choose from, most of which are easy to adapt to an online format if needed. The retreat is divided into 5 sessions, making it easy to divide into pieces.
Each woman will need an Artist’s Sketchbook. Even if she’s unable to attend every piece of the retreat, she’ll still be able to work through the content on her own.
You could distribute the sketchbooks as part of a Retreat Goodie Bag at your retreat kick-off – with a drive-by or drop-off option for those who are unable to attend. CTA, Inc. has several coordinating gifts, including bookmarks, journaling art cards, and tumblers, to round out your goodie bag.
You may want to consider purchasing Participant Retreat Kits which include the Artist’s Sketchbook, the Journaling Art Cards, and a set of four colored pens – blue (Support), pink (Love), purple (Encourage), and green (Serve). I admit I am a sucker for colored ink pens. I bet some of your women are too!
As I flipped through the Masterpiece Retreat Planning Guide, these words from Session 5 jumped out at me.
The final group discussion is intended to add another brushstroke to participants’ spiritual canvases. Being reminded that – despite our flaws – we are constantly being re-formed by God’s grace can bring us peace and joy even during the most turbulent times.Masterpiece Retreat Planning Toolkit, page 42
Many of your women are struggling to find peace and joy during these turbulent times.
Keeping our women anchored to God’s Word and continuing to provide events and activities (even if they look different) could make the difference in how your women weather this storm.
Hosting a retreat in a pandemic might be God’s plan your women.
I pray He’ll make His will known.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post created for CTA, Inc. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.
Post inspired by Louise, a member of our Women’s Ministry Toolbox Facebook Community, who shared how their women’s ministry team is breaking down their retreat into different parts throughout October.
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