Points to Consider when Planning a Retreat Theme
When you’re planning your theme for a retreat, there will be several points to consider. I’ve learned that I could have the greatest topic in the world, but if I don’t keep in mind certain aspects women won’t take the time to come listen. After you bring together your initial planning team, you will want to establish the retreat theme quickly as everything else is dependent on the chosen topic.
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A retreat helps women recharge, find encouragement, and be spiritually fed. They invest time and energy into their daily lives and don’t always want to give up a weekend or even a day away from family and home. That’s why retreat planners need to find a way to keep retreats fresh and new.
Here are some things to think about in order to bring your next retreat to life:
1. Be willing to change the length of the retreat – I first wanted only to offer weekend long retreats. Having a camp-like getaway appealed to me because I had loved church camp so much as a child. But I was really only considering myself and not the needs of others. A weekend can be too long for the woman who needs time at home on the weekend to either catch up or to relax. I learned that shorter options could reach more people. Consider a one day retreat of only 8 hours. Or you could even do a half-day. Shorter retreats are cost effective, less expensive, and can bring more people in.
2. Make your theme relatable – Be sure to consider your attendees and what stage of life they’re in. Plan the message and activities around the things that they can most relate to. You want them to not only experience God’s presence but to also take away practical ways they can live their faith in the every day. Also, plan breakout group sessions where women have a chance to discuss and share. While it’s meaningful to listen to a speaker, small group discussion provides additional depth to the experience for each individual.
3. Plan a variety of activities – Just sitting and listening all day won’t be as meaningful as adding in other activities. Make crafts, sing songs, and do something out of the ordinary.
When experiencing what they learn, women will remember the biblical principles longer. Plan a service project or complete an obstacle challenge and come back together to discuss and share.
I try to consider all these points as I’m planning retreat themes and activities. What other things do you keep in mind when planning? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
Take a look at some of the other helpful retreat planning posts here on the blog:
10 Initial Steps for Planning a Retreat
Use this checklist to help organize your next retreat!