As I write about how to plan a women’s retreat, I also have to share with you the importance of a planning team.
When I first felt called to lead women’s retreats, my excitement pushed me forward. I had huge visions of weekend long retreats that mirrored the church camp I attended as a child.
Oh, I knew women wouldn’t give up a whole week like we had for church camp, but I figured that a weekend full of praise, worship, bible study, fun crafts and activities, plus overnights giggling with girlfriends would be perfect.
And then came the planning. As more and more ideas came to mind on what we wanted, our to-do list stretched out to seemingly unmanageable proportions.
Even with Brooke and I working together, it quickly became apparent that implementing our ideas would take up much of our time.
We both worked full time, too, and our days all began to look alike – teach middle schoolers from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., work on retreat planning from 3:45 p.m. until bedtime.
And somewhere in there we had to fit in grading papers and planning for future lessons and taking care of our own families with meals, house cleaning, and homework.
Through all that busyness, I began to wonder if maybe I’d misunderstood God’s call to retreat planning!
We didn’t want to ask others to help as we wanted the weekend to truly be a complete retreat. Plus, they were paying to come. Why would they want to also work?
Those were our thoughts anyway.
Then, I spoke with my friend, Lori, whose camp we planned to use for our retreats. She encouraged us to reach out and ask for help.
“People like to feel a sense of ownership; I think you’ll be surprised at how many want to help,” she told us.
We took her advice to heart, and although it scared us at first, we reached out anyway and asked.
We started with my sister, Lori (not the same Lori as the camp owner), and she jumped in to help run copies, staple packets, and a million other organizational tasks.
Linda offered help with the same plus agreed to help greet arriving participants and help them get their bags to their cabins and get settled in.
Ann said she’d run the projector and computer for our presentations.
Nancy offered to sit at a welcome table and check people in.
I could go on and on about the people who stepped up to help in various ways once we asked, but that will be better suited to its own blog post.
For this post, I want to stick with the initial planning team and encourage you to reach out, ask, and find a good solid team of women to help you plan.
Seriously ladies, if God puts retreat leading on your heart, He’ll provide a way to make it happen. Your job — listen to Him!
While it took me a long time to gather my planning team for the first retreat, after learning my lesson, I began bringing a team together right away for every retreat from then on.
Your initial planning team doesn’t have to be huge. In fact, it’s probably better if it’s not.
While you want ideas from others, when you have too many contributing their thoughts it can become overwhelming to narrow down. A smaller team helps you keep your focus.
Here are roles assigned to each member of our planning team:
Of course, Brooke and I were the initial team. We were the ones who through long conversations about our faith and what Christ had done in our lives knew that we wanted to share with other women and teach them how Christ was within them as well.
Together, we prayed and asked for guidance. We bounced ideas off of each other, discovered and titled themes, wrote down the messages we wanted to share with the ladies, and planned the flow of the day(s).
Music and Worship Leader
Then, we brought in Angie, my pastor’s wife and our worship leader. Over coffee and pastries at a local coffee shop (plus a million texts and phone calls and a few other meetings), Angie and I planned the music.
I talked with her about how I wanted the energy of the retreat to go, building from reflective to praise and then to gratitude, for example, or however I envisioned a particular retreat.
Angie helped choose specific songs to convey each mood. Plus, she was in charge of setting up the keyboard, recruiting singers, and so on. I’m so thankful for her knowledge of and help with music. I never could have done that!
Clerical, Organizers, Promoters (this could be one person or several)
My sister, Lori, and our dear friend, Linda, stepped in as part of our planning team.
They helped us fine-tune ideas, brainstorm activities, and best of all, ORGANIZE. It’s good to have team members to help with the paperwork and organization.
Not having to worry about all of that allowed me and Brooke to continue focusing on God’s guidance in our retreat purpose. We didn’t have to stress out about office work.
And, Lori even wrote and delivered press releases and made phone calls to help us spread the word. What a blessing!
I’m so grateful friend and camp owner, Lori, inspired me to step out in faith – first, by giving me the courage to listen to God and follow my dreams, and then by encouraging me to reach out and ask for help.
You can read about that here —>>> Turn Your Passion into Action
I’ll never plan a retreat without a team again. Please learn from my almost mistake. Put your own team together of ladies with various gifts who can take over tasks to ease your burden and help you focus on the most important part of the retreat – Jesus Christ!
Sam - Raggedy Bits says
This sounds like so much fun! I have been wanting to do something similar in my area! Thank you for all of your tips! What a fab team you have!
lynn spencer says
You have such a fantastic team…you are so blessed!
Julie Pfeifer says
Lynn, I do! I’m so thankful!
It’s funny how much pressure we put on ourselves, sometimes at the risk of ruining something fun. I am happy for you that you let others in and made a team that could support you. It makes all the difference when we let people in.
Julie Pfeifer says
Nisi, you are so right. It really is a blessing to let people in!