Archive for Lessons Learned

Communicating with Your Guest Speaker

Guest-Speaker-Event-400x400After your three major decisions have been made regarding your retreat (speaker, date and location), communication can then begin with your guest speaker.  Your guest speaker needs to know what she is to speak about, how many times she will be speaking, how long she will be speaking at each session. Provide this information to your speaker as early as you can–months before your event.   This way she can prayerfully prepare her teachings to fit your theme and schedule.

At some of our retreats, we use a theme that the guest speaker has done before at retreats. At our 2015 retreat, our speaker was an experienced retreat speaker who had done previous retreats with the theme “Deeper Still.” We gave her our schedule and let her run with it.

However, if you are providing the theme to the speaker, try to communicate as clearly as possible what your vision for the theme may be.  Just giving her a title for the retreat is not enough if God has clearly given you a vision. Communicate with the speaker to let her know if you have a particular emphasis or theme scripture for your retreat. Sometimes your theme scripture will provide an outline for the teaching sessions.

For instance, our 2016 retreat theme was “SHINE!”  We are using as the theme scripture Philippians 2:15-16a. We  suggested a general outline and other relevant scriptures to give her direction. By doing this, as much as possible we insure that we are on the same page as our speaker as we prepare for the retreat (with decorations, giveaway, quiet time study, etc.).


Posted in: Lessons Learned, News & Information, Retreat and Event Planning, Your Guest Speaker

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6 Suggestions for your Name Tags

suggestions1How many times have you avoided talking to someone because you know that you should know her name, but you don’t remember it?  Unless all of your women are well acquainted with one another, name tags should be required for all women’s events.

1)  DO print your name tags out beforehand –  Unless you have registration at the door, I much prefer having all the name tags printed and ready for ladies to pick up on arrival. It saves time and confusion as ladies are arriving.

2) DO use a large font – First name should be printed in a large font that can be easily read at a distance.  The surname and other information can be in a much smaller font.

3) DO spell their name correctly!  Have some blank name tags available for corrections.  No one likes their name misspelled,

4) DO choose your font style wisely – Fancy script fonts are much harder to decipher than block fonts.

5) DO remember that women may be dressed up for your event – Sticky name tags and pin-on name tags can both be detrimental to nice material.  It may be wise to limit your name tags to those worn around the neck or clipped on. Read more about retreat name tags here.

6) DO include the event title or graphic on the name tag.  Using the title or theme of the event, the graphic or theme verse turns an ordinary name tag into a keepsake of the event.

Posted in: Ingredients for a Great Retreat, Lessons Learned, News & Information, Retreat and Event Planning

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recalibrateRecalibrate.  That is a great word for a new year!  It means to  carefully assess and adjust by taking external factors into account.  It means to compare with a standard and reset for accuracy.

Retreat-in-a-Bag was started over six years ago with the purpose of sharing what we have learned, sharing skits and other resources that we have written and used at women’s retreats over the years.  We didn’t want to overwhelm anyone’s inbox with lengthy posts, but just occasionally post ideas and insights that might be helpful.

As we consider 2017, we would really like some feedback on what you have used from this website and what you would like to see.  Have you been able to make use of any of the free downloads?  Have you ventured out and tried one of the skits?  We would love to hear about it.

There are a handful of great women’s ministry websites out there.  Are we meeting a need? Input is extremely helpful, whether you are a new subscriber or if you have been with us for a while.  Help us recalibrate for 2017!









Posted in: Lessons Learned, News & Information, Retreat and Event Planning

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Searching for Leaders

Young woman looking through binoculars

This week, I read a very interesting article in the magazine we get from our homeowners’ association.  What the HOA president shared can be applied to us as we put together our women’s ministry leadership team. Our HOA is run by volunteers, and it is at this time of year that they start focusing on who will be on the Board for the next year.  What do they look for?  In the president’s words, they look for someone at the “intersection of Willingness and Capability.”  There are plenty of capable people who are not willing; there are others who are willing, but have not proven their capability.  Does that sound familiar?  His answer?  The best place to look is at those who are already serving.

When looking for potential leaders in your women’s ministry, it may be tempting to look at those women in your church with natural leadership abilities–strong, articulate and confident.  But I suggest that one of the primary things you look for is one who is serving.  Find those in your women’s ministry who have been proving themselves faithful in serving and in willingly submitting to authority.

Of course, there are other important qualifications to consider–choose carefully!



Posted in: Developing Leadership, Lessons Learned, News & Information

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Decisions and Deadlines

dont miss deadlineDoes having a deadline change the way you make women’s ministry decisions?

As I write this, we are still weeks away from our annual women’s retreat. By now, all the “big” decisions have been made.  To the best of our ability and by God’s grace, we have tried to hear and follow the Lord’s direction.  We have a location, a date, a theme, a guest speaker and a preliminary schedule. Many, but not all responsibilities have been assigned.  Our retreat remembrance is already purchased, as are some of the decorations.  The big decisions have been made. Sounds like it should be downhill from here, doesn’t it?

But in ministry as in life, sometimes it is the minor decisions where it is the hardest to discern God’s will.  And we have a lot of decisions on the line…and a deadline that is looming. So, what are our options?

  • Take the decision to the women’s ministry team and take a vote?
  • Assume that what we did in past years is best for this year?
  • Use our logic and common sense and just go for it?
  • Wait on God?

When you look at the options spelled out like that, the obvious answer is “wait on God.”  Not so easy when you see the deadline approaching and other tasks can’t be completed until those decision are made.  Here’s one example:  We want to offer workshops at this retreat.  How many do we offer? Should there be three? Should they be repeated? Who will teach the workshops? Those decisions need to be made soon, as they affect the timetable of other tasks.  We cannot finish the booklet and send it to the printer until those decision are made.

Remember, God is always on time, and He promises wisdom to those who ask.  I have no doubt that things will fall into place. It’s tempting to run ahead to get it done! But our job is to pray about the decision, pray for wisdom and direction, ask God to close or open doors and then….wait for His direction.


Posted in: Lessons Learned, Little Things Make a Big Difference!, News & Information, Retreat and Event Planning

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