Plan a Successful Ladies Retreat In (8) Steps: Part 3 of 8, Themes and Messages
Do you desire the women of your church to really get to know each other better? Are you hoping to bring your ladies closer to one another to communicate better? Do you desire your ladies to have the opportunity to relax and have little distractions? Or do you really want to have fun and grow in the Lord at the same time? Have you ever thought of planning a Ladies Retreat?
Planning a ladies retreat can be a big task. However, it has so many benefits as well. Whether you are hosting a retreat for 10 or 500, the steps of planning are similar. You can plan a successful ladies retreat in 8 simple steps. Assuming you have prayed about it, spoke with your pastor and have the green light; let’s get going! Excitement has kicked in, take advantage of it!!!
Plan a Successful Ladies Retreat In (8) Steps: Part 3 of 8, Themes and Messages
1) Have a Goal or Purpose
Start your planning with an end goal and/or purpose.
2) Pick a Date & Location
Pick and set the appropriate date and location.
3) Message & Theme
Third, plan your message and/or theme. Following your decision of your goals, you can then plan your aim or direction for the message and/or theme. Themes are not required, but really do help with tying everything up neatly with beautiful a bow. If you need a theme, be sure to check this post with a free printable of 150+ Themes.
Although this is very self explanatory, it is so nice to bounce ideas off of other pastor’s wives, exchange thoughts and scour the internet for a great idea. Often not to mimic, but to get your brainstorming on and with much prayer, God often lays a particular topic on your heart. And while many times this is not needed, if you are in ministry for any length of time, at some point you may get hung up on a theme. Lately, the Lord has been supplying themes and message ideas long before I need one, while preparing for another or during. Topics, questions or heavy discussion that comes up at Bible study are great areas to dive into as a whole. Not to express of convey my opinion, but to really explore God’s opinion on the matter fully. So for this I highly recommend pinterest ministry boards, google search engines, a preacher’s wife group on facebook and following other ministries if this is a difficult area for you. Also, if you are not “versed” in this area, it may be a great time to take on or enlist a helper. This could be the decorating, the door prizes or the message itself.
With choosing a theme and message, this is where your budget comes in handy. What do you have to work with? So many times women’s ministry is discouraged, because there is not a budget. As many of you know, I like thrifty and classy. Can you have both? Sure. I do not believe the only way something is classy is if it breaks the bank. Truthfully, we have not yet served in a church yet that had a budget set aside for women/s ministry. But, God always provides! Do not let that stop you. Little is much when God is in it! If you have the means, plan a beautiful and elaborate retreat if the Lord leads. I just wanted to gently remind you, that God will bless your efforts through your obedience and hard work, with whatever the size or display you can manage. First, if you have not downloaded my list of 150+ themes, be sure to do that and place it in your ministry notebook. Hopefully this will get ideas flowing, and many of these themes can be done with the supplies from within your home or at your “teams” fingertips. Possibly allowing you to free up funds for other expenses crafts, food, gifts, photo display areas, or door prizes if you desire.
As for door prizes, this can be homemade, a small purchase or a donation. Do you have an artist in your congregation? A few framed pieces are wonderful. Or a poet, a special framed theme poem may be of use. Or a couple fresh pieces of decor that doubles as the door prizes are great if you can. I currently love to raid the clearance racks and have a bin in my home for future use. (This works great for the small church scene for b-day’s, special visits, and thank you gifts for youth, Sunday school, special days & women’s ministry). Prior times, I would sew, bake, make driftwood crafts and/or gift my homemade goat milk soaps and balms. If you can do this, it is another beautiful and personal way to say thank you! But odds are, your ladies will be happy and thankful to have beautiful fellowship and a soul stirring message. Although this is similar to our ladies meetings, for a retreat the simplified version is to have a gift bag for each attendee. Again though, this is optional. I have found the dollar stores, dollar tree or family doll is the cheapest place to buy these in bulk. You can hand decorate and fill each bag with what you desire, depending on your theme. A cute poem, a small key chain, bottle of water, notepads, pens, chocolates and such are just a few ideas. Again, this could go with your theme and/or your location.
When it comes to food, crafts, and extras; you will need to figure your budget. Are you charging each participant? Is the church picking up the extra expenses. Are you offering a scholarship fund if someone can not afford to pay the full price? These are all things to consider if you are planning a retreat. We will come back to that, but it is important to keep in the back of your mind when it comes to planning the messages.
If you are planning to have guest speakers, many of them have a fee. Their cost is an expense. If you add in 6-8 guest speakers, is that their fee and retreat stay also? These are things you will have to consider when you set your theme and messages. If you are planning guest speakers or music, you will want to book them for the dates you have chosen. This is helpful to do now that you have chosen your theme. Are you breaking into small session groups and need several speakers? Grab your journal. Let’s get to it!
Where can you get speakers? Here are 9 places to find a speaker.
- Your Pastor
- Your Pastor’s recommendations
- Other Pastor’s Wives (Many are willing to swap, you speak at mine, I’ll speak at yours.)
- A missionary wife on deputation. Many would be honored to speak and are often happy to if they can have a table for displaying their ministry work.
- An evangelist in your area or his wife. Either would be a blessing to your retreat.
- Contact your nearest Bible college. (Many will offer a list or suggest a student or faculty member to speak on a particular topic if desired.)
- Ask other women in your like-faith churches nearby. They may have a list or ideas. People they may have called were just booked that weekend.
- Check out resources. Although a bit more work and vetting, there are connection places. Facebook has groups to connect speakers and needs, along with different organizations. A google search will bring some up. And the latest of Christian Connection Speaker or Proverbs 31 is another source.
- Another option, if you are in a remote small group type of retreat, I can see an interest in recorded messages. There are classes or “courses” type messages on a particular study that makes this a very affordable choice if you desire. ($16-$280 for an entire retreat.)
After you lock in your message and speaker arrangements. Add these to your team’s prayer list. You may want to have someone on backup as well because, well, life happens. Especially if you are planing a retreat that is more than your main group of ladies. You do not want several hundred people to have to cancel because you do not have a speaker. But if your speaker is unable to make it, you have an alternative option. This may be calling a local pastor for a fill in or from the list above.
Now that you have your theme, and/or speakers if they are needed, you can move on to your music. Do yo intend to have a group sing? Or a few ladies do special music? Doing church each week, you can probably already think of some individuals that play piano, sing and/or group that may sing for your retreat. However, you may be in need. So where do you find them?
- Talent within your church
- A local Christian group that sings
- Ask your local ladies groups for some suggestions
- Call a few ministry leader friends for suggestions
- Contact your local Bible college, they may have a recommendation for an individual or a group
- Seek and search your local denomination or board
So, in your notebook you should have a date, a location selected, a general idea of number or organized agenda, your theme, guest speaker and music if needed. All of these things can now be placed on your selected team and covered in prayer. Allowing you to focus on panning away at the details of your retreat and assigning different areas to your team mates to start bringing this around to a beautiful masterpiece.
Happy planning and Thank you for faithfully doing the Lord’s work!