One of the most essential aspects of the Christian life is community. Being a Christian, while universal in practice, is uniquely experienced by gender, age, stage of life, etc. Our battles, health trials, and celebratory moments can often be unique to our lives as women, therefore warranting a need for separate experiences.
Surrounding ourselves with fellow sisters in Christ provides us with opportunities to support, uplift, and pour into one another. When we find ourselves in difficult circumstances, having a strong female support system rooted in Jesus provides stability, grounding, and encouragement. Whether you’re a pastor or small group leader, planning a women’s retreat weekend could be the perfect way to create this atmosphere of support. Here are a few ways to make your church’s women’s retreat the best it can be.
Set a Theme
A simple way to keep your weekend moving smoothly is setting a theme for your event. You’ll want to set a clear intention for your attendees to take away from their time together. Draw from life experiences, relational struggles, or even biblical teachings. Your weekend could be “Taking Back Control,” “Navigating Romance in a Modern World,” or “Psalms of Life.”
If you’re overwhelmed by this step, consider leaving this decision up to your event speaker. Visiting pastors or guest speakers will often have a passion for spreading a particular message, a message you could center the entire weekend around. Having this theme announced as part of the invitation could spark interest and curiosity that increases registration.
Photo by Alexis Brown
When creating your itinerary, be realistic in the time allotted per activity. Meals should be set with enough time to accommodate both eating and inevitable conversating. Your attendees will either be preparing for a speaker or just leaving a session and are sure to have thoughts they’ll want to share with their table.
These conversations are equally as important as planned sessions, and may even be the most memorable moments for some of your guests. In preparation, consider supplying your attendees with the things they’ll need for the weekend. Search online for church supplies like devotionals, journals, bibles, and anything else they may need to partake in the weekend’s festivities.
Location, Location, Location
Be sure to find the right setting for attendees to fully unwind, disconnect, and recharge. You can search online for church retreat locations just as you would for the perfect, peaceful vacation destination for your family. There are several centers that offer packages, lodging, meals, and more when booked as a group. Whether it’s log cabins in the woods, shared rooms along the beach, or just hotel rooms in a conference center, the location is a key part of your guest’s experience.
Photo by James Barr
Make Time for Reflection and Worship
One of the best ways to prepare hearts to receive a message is through worship. Some of your guests may walk into a session thinking about what awaits them at home, what’s to come at work on Monday, or even a conversation they had on the way in.
Start each session with worship whether a pre-recorded track or live band, opening your hearts and minds and creating room for God’s message to pour in. Once your speaker has relayed their message and the large group session is complete, break your attendees into small groups for discussion. Having a more intimate group opens the door to further conversation on the message.
Your guests are more inclined to share personal experiences and connections to the speaker’s word in a safe space. Freely sharing our experiences and testimonies creates understanding and empathy, reminding us that we’re not alone on our walks.