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How to Plan a Women’s Retreat (Free Checklist Included)

Have you heard the call to plan a women’s retreat?

Are you ready to answer in the affirmative?

If you feel led to plan a women’s retreat but aren’t sure where to start or how to move forward, I can help.

In this article, I’ll answer the following questions:

  • What’s a quick overview of everything I’ll need to do to plan a women’s retreat?
  • Where can I find themes to help me plan the retreat?
  • Is there an easy reference to all the forms I’ll need to organize and plan a women’s retreat?
image of group of women with title text overlay - How to Plan a Women's Retreat plus Free Checklist of the 10 Initial Steps to Take

My Thoughts when I Hear God’s Call to Plan a Women’s Retreat

Each year about six months before I plan a women’s retreat, I go through several stages. First, I begin to get excited. God whispers to me, “It’s time.” And I say, “Yes, yes, Lord. It’s time! I’m so happy.”

And then… THEN, I begin to think about it. To analyze and consider all that will have to be done. Scary stuff.

I’m too busy, right? I work full time, have a family, like to read…and sit in my recliner. And do nothing.

If I take on planning a women’s retreat, I’ll have no free time. My evening and weekend hours will be filled with forms and phone calls, flyers and emails. I’ll be tweaking agendas and fine-tuning speaking slots, breakout sessions, icebreakers.

Related Post: Planning Food for a Women’s Retreat

I start to worry and wonder if I can do it, and I come up with reasons I can’t. “No, God.  I can’t. I’m too busy. It’s too much work…” But I know I’m only making excuses.

I could fit it all in if I wanted to. Priorities. I wonder at myself sometimes. Am I trying to convince God with my excuses? He knows better.

And He doesn’t let me off the hook. Not when He knows where my passions lie, what I can do for Him. Through Him. Within me, I continue to hear Him. “Julie, plan a retreat. Bring the women together. Let them share My love with one another.” And I listen because I love Him, and I love retreats for Him.

When Brooke and I began planning our first retreat in the Fall of 2012, we hadn’t a clue what to do. We just jumped right in. Over time, I began fine-tuning the details.

As the organizational process became more familiar, I developed checklists and forms to help us along. Soon, I truly had no excuse in giving excuses to God (not that I didn’t still try on occasion).

Many women have contacted me hoping I’d put together a how-to, but I never had. Finally, I pulled together all my files and folders to begin sharing all I know (and I’m still learning so see how much you’ll have to look forward to!) with all of you.

I want every woman to understand her worth in Christ. I pray she never feels alone. I know that together we – me, you, Him – can make a difference.

Related Post: Sample Retreat Agendas

Quick overview of everything you’ll need to do to plan a women’s retreat?

1. Define Your Purpose.

2. Find a Location.

3. Set the Date and Time.

4. Decide on Budget/Cost

5. Do you Need Insurance?

6. Choose a Team.

7. Decide What Food to Serve

8. Plan the Music.

9. Hire a Speaker.

10. Pick Your Icebreakers and Activities.

Grab this free starter guide to plan your women’s spiritual retreat.

It includes a planning checklist, timeline, plus bonus information to ensure you don’t miss a thing in your initial planning stages.

Fill out the form above to receive your free retreat planning starter guide to help in your initial planning stages. 3-hole-punch it and stick it in a notebook.

You’ll want to keep track of everything along the way. It’ll help the first time so you’ll know what’s been done and what’s left to do, and it’ll help you plan for the next time (because you definitely will want to plan another…they’re addicting) because you won’t have to learn the process all over again. You’ll be a pro!

Where you can find themes to help you plan the retreat

Once you’ve started with the checklist, you’ll want to define your purpose and pick a theme early on.

You’ll base your forms, flyers, program, and activities on your theme, so you’ll want to be sure to choose one that’s right for your message.

In my article, 101 Retreat Themes Ideas for Christian Women, you’ll find theme titles, tips for choosing your theme, and tons of extra free resources to effectively share the message of your theme.

Easy references to all the forms you’ll need to organize and plan a women’s retreat

As you begin planning, you’ll need to create several forms and other administrative resources.

A few things you’ll need are:

For more information on the first fine forms you’ll need, be sure to read Start Here – 5 Practical Retreat Planning Forms.

What Else You Need to Know to Plan a Women’s Retreat

Hopefully, you’ve started out by grabbing the 10 Initial Steps checklist. If you have, you’ll have the perfect start to ensuring you include everything needed when planning a retreat.

If you haven’t signed up for your checklist and more, be sure to do so below:

Check back to find much more information on planning and preparation for Christian women’s retreats.

Feel free to comment below with questions or suggestions. And always remember, when God whispers to you to pull women together to worship Him and support each other, listen to Him!

Want to remember this? Post this How to Plan and Organize a Christian Women’s Retreat to your favorite Pinterest board!

image of women in a church sanctuary with title text overlay - How to Plan a Women's Retreat plus Free Checklist of the 10 Initial Steps to Take
image of women in a church sanctuary with title text overlay - How to Plan a Women's Retreat plus Free Checklist of the 10 Initial Steps to Take

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  1. Hi Julie,
    It has been on my heart for many years to use my home for christian women who are going through a separation or divorce from their husband and want time away at a retreat. God has placed this desire in my heart and He has recently put the finishing touches to His home and I am now set up and ready! This is a place for christian women where they will find peace and quiet where they can meet with God, pray, sleep, not worry, hear from God or just simply rest! God has provided all the resources for this to be possible in His Name. Please agree with me in prayer that just as our Almighty God has opened my “Faith Door” so will these women come in and be with our Father. How can you assist with the next stage of this much needed ministry?
    In His continued service,
    Avril (U.K)

    1. Hi Avril, What a beautiful idea for a retreat! I will be praying for you. Please take time to browse through the retreat and ministry sections on the blog for information on getting started planning. Let me know any questions you have along the way. Love in Him, ~Julie

  2. l love this ministry
    How can be getting materials from this ministry
    I am running woman ministry
    please help me with materials that will help in bringing the women to the knowledge of God.
    Joy Chiedozie from Nigerial

    1. Hi Joy, you can find lots of information here on the website. Please explore the menus and let me know if you have questions. You can also sign up for the newsletter which is free and comes with lots of information, too. ~Julie

  3. Hello, Amazing ministry! I was giving a vision years ago to help women of all walks of life. God spoke to me and told me to host a womens retreat/conference. Do you have any advice on the steps i need to take to get started. Thanks

    1. Hi Mikia, The list on this post should help you with a framework of what you need to do to plan and host a retreat. You can jot the list down or sign up for the list to print. Check under Retreat Resources in the top menu of this site for more information on retreat planning including food planning, activities, and more. I’m excited for your vision! Bless you! ~Julie

  4. Julie,
    I just discovered your information. It’s all so good. Our ladies gathering is May 5th. A Evite was sent out on April 4, do I need to send a follow up evite since 15 women out of 61 said YES and we have 7 maybe’s

    1. Hi Vernita, Yes, I think a follow-up would be a good idea. Excited for your upcoming event! Let me know how it goes! ~Julie

  5. Wow, you have great suggestions here and there’s no doubt you have this down to a science. Thanks for spelling out all the important details.


  6. Hi Julie,

    First of all thank you for sharing all of your awesome ideas for a women’s retreat!

    We are in the process of putting together our 3rd annual Women’s Retreat for the ladies of our church. I was wondering if you could share some ideas as far as fund raising goes ? Right now I only charge the ladies for the room and their meals. Which means our team works really hard to raise enough money for activities, welcome bags and other things.

    Thanks in advance,
    Gloria Gutierrez
    Way of Life Church

    1. Hi there, Thank you for your kind words. We haven’t held fundraisers for Loving Christ. However, in my United Methodist Women’s group, we frequently have fundraisers which often help bring retreat and activity prices down for the ladies. We have 2 bake sales each year (one around Valentine’s Day) and those bring it quite a bit of money. We also sell pecans at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our Praying Purlers group, who make prayer shawls, also make extra items they sell often at our bake sales. We’ve also held rummage sales. One thing a little different we did was hold a family walk/run with a registration fee. We did provide t-shirts which cut into our profit a little bit, but they were so much fun. We had families pushing strollers and walking their dogs, etc. and then we also had the runners who ran the course we put together. We made finishing certificates rather than medals to save costs. This brought in quite a bit for us. That’s all I can think of right now, but I will let you know if I think of other things. Love in Him, Julie

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