As I mentioned in my Benefits of a Women’s Retreat post, I just had the awesome privilege (and responsibility) of organizing and hostessing our second annual women’s retreat. If you have ever been to a women’s retreat, chances are that you left feeling refreshed. In fact, you may be inspired to host your own women’s retreat, but are not sure where to begin. Here are few tips from what I’ve learned along the way on how to plan a women’s retreat.
How to Plan a Women’s Retreat
Women’s retreats are a fantastic way to encourage women to fellowship. They are also a lot of work. The single most important thing I can tell you about how to plan a women’s retreat is to pray. Seriously. Pray and then pray some more. Get some friends to pray with you. Pray with your senior leadership. Here are a few things to pray for…
- Pray for wisdom and grace as you embark on this journey!
- Pray for the team members you have. Pray for the team members who are yet to join your team.
- Pray for every woman that will attend. Yes, start praying for them as you start planning.
- Pray for the speaker (even if it’s you), the worship team (even if it’s you), and the tech team (even if it’s you).
I know this seems like it should go without saying, but seriously, you must know what your goal is before you start planning a women’s retreat. What is your reason for wanting women to go on retreat together? You can’t plan a women’s retreat without having a goal. Knowing your why will help you focus your what and how. It will also help you attract the right kind of women for your women’s retreat. Our church’s mission statement is to “Join generations as we honor God, serve one another, and influence our city.” A women’s retreat is a FUNtastic way to join generations, and this is always a factor in planning ministry events for our women.
Sit down with pen and paper and answer these questions. How many people do you plan to invite? Will you have to limit the number of attendees? Where will you be hosting the event? What kinds of activities do you want to take place? How long will the retreat last? These are all very important questions to ask yourself before you get too deep into your planning. Consider having a notebook or binder just for the women’s retreat you’re planning. You can even grab a planner that has a note section, so you can write everything and brainstorm as necessary.
Once you’ve determined the goal of your women’s retreat, you’ll need to select a theme. The theme can be a single word, a verse, or a topic. You can even use a “retreat in a box.”
When planning your budget, you need to factor in the following:
- Promotional Materials
- Giveaways or Door Prizes
- Unexpected expenses – yes, plan for them
When calculating the registration fee, you’ll need to add 20-25% to your costs to cover everything. In other words, you should plan to spend 20-25% less than what is brought in through registrations – because the unexpected is bound to happen.
Once you know what your goal and theme is, it’s important to consider whether you will ask someone to speak to the women attending. If you plan to use a speaker, you’ll want one that is able to support the goal and speak to the theme. Be sure to ask them early on, so that their availability is factored into your time table. If you plan on paying your speakers, you’ll need to figure out a proper budget and factor that into the registration fee.
When you decide how long the women’s retreat will be, this will be a good time to seek out a proper venue. If it’s a local retreat, perhaps your church will host. However, if it’s longer than a few days, you may have to seek out a hotel with banquet rooms or a convention center. A place that can accommodate many women at one time.
Do not forget to plan food for the women attending. Even if it is just a gathering for a few hours, you will still want to plan some healthy snacks to keep everyone energized. If you are planning a longer retreat, then consider having the event catered, or even consider asking the guests to bring some dishes with them. If you are going to ask them to bring some sort of food, be sure to have a sign up sheet. You’ll want to stay as organized in the food department. If one thing is for sure, when it comes to a gathering of women, food equals fellowship.
In order for your retreat to be a success, you must have a plan and stick to it. Create an itinerary so that you are able to keep things flowing, and so that the women will know where to be at certain times. This will make your event much more enjoyable. Once the schedule is set, plan to print it and make it a part of the women’s welcome packets.
Yes, this just touches on the surface of planning a women’s retreat. However, it’s a good start.