Top Tips to Choose a Theme for Women’s Retreats

One of the first things to do when planning a Christian women’s retreat will be to choose a theme. Everything you plan afterwards builds on the theme you choose.

The music, keynotes, breakout sessions, and everything else will relate to your theme. That’s why it’s so important to decide early on what theme to use.

It’s possible you’ll be the one to have the initial idea to plan a retreat. If so, consider why you want to have the retreat and brainstorm the message and feeling you want to convey with the retreat.

With a team, you can do the same thing. Discuss what you want retreat attendees to ‘take away’ from the event. It’s nice to have at least one other person to bounce ideas off of.

Related post: 3 Most Important Roles for Your Women’s Retreat Planning Team

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Recently, the president of the women’s group at my church contacted me to discuss co-planning a fall women’s retreat.

We spent a good part of our initial planning meeting brainstorming theme ideas.

By the time we left that first day, we had our long list narrowed down to two or three.

I’m sharing that personal experience to show that choosing the right theme for your specific group may take some time. It’s important not to jump in and lock down a theme immediately.

Top Tips for Choosing a Team

1. Pray

The first thing to do when trying to decide a theme is to pray. Talk to God about your goals for the retreat and open yourself up to hearing from Him.

The more you pray, the more clarity you’ll have. Look for ways God answers your prayer throughout the days. 

Consider holding a group prayer time with your team where your sole goal is to pray for your theme.

2. Think About Logistics

When will your retreat be held? The season, month, and even days of the retreat can help you determine your theme.

It’s funny, though. I’ve heard from several groups who chose our Beach, Bible, Belonging theme ideas for different seasons. Some have used it in the late spring and summer to coincide with warmer temperatures, but a few use it in the winter to bring ‘warmth’ to their season. That’s how one explained it to me. I love that!

3. Decide the Purpose

As I mentioned earlier, you’ll want to figure out the purpose of your retreat. You could have an enrichment retreat, a mission-based retreat, an educational study-based retreat, or something else.

Purpose directly correlates with theme. Once you know your purpose, you’ll be able to narrow down titles for your theme and then move towards planning talks, activities, crafts, and more.

4. Check Women’s Group Resources

If planning the retreat for your specific church women’s group, be sure to browse through the literature that your district provides. For example, the United Methodist Women’s group at my church frequently receives resources from the conference. Often, theme ideas are included. They’ll even include specific theme-related material.

Visit 101 Retreat Theme Ideas for examples of themes you might choose. Many of the ideas have additional resources to help you with your planning.

5. Search Online for Ideas

Of course, you can search for other ideas as well. There are so many to choose from.

Be sure to complete the previous tips for searching online. They will help you narrow focus and truly pick the best theme for your group.

Where to Find More Retreat Themes

Christian Camp Pro Ladies Retreat Themes

Julia Bettencourt Women’s Ministry Event Themes

Refreshing Mountain Themes for Your Women’s Retreat

Important Reminders for Choosing a Theme

Take Your Time

When you rush into choosing a theme, the planning can feel disjointed throughout the process. Sometimes we can jump to quickly into an idea without taking the time to ensure we’ve chosen what’s best for our group.

Always Pray

While I mention praying first, I want to encourage you now to keep praying throughout the selection process. God will answer in a variety of ways. Look for ideas that pop-up, some over and over. Listen to others as God may send them as messengers. Keep your heart open to ideas. Prayer will help you!

Don’t Worry About Perfection

We’ve been so caught up in trying to pick a ‘perfect’ theme that we’ve postponed actual planning for far too long. If you follow the tips in this article, I’m confident that God will provide the right theme for you.

Trust the process and trust God!

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  1. Thank you for these practical steps and for all the links! What a great resource for women’s ministry leaders planning a retreat. I’ll be pinning this one!

  2. Wow this is an awesome post! Very well thought out resource for Christian Retreats …. Thank you … ❤

  3. I love that you mentioned narrowing down the purpose of the retreat in your planning. I have been the speaker for a number of retreats and I get the impression that some of the retreats that ladies have are just held because they do it every year. But if you can remind your leaders and the ladies about the purpose every year, there will be so much eternal meaning to every part of the events of the retreat. And then when you let the speaker know about your purpose, she can focus her prayers and preparation to meet your goals.

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