I want to say “WELCOME” to so many of you who have visited Retreat-in-a-Bag and become a subscriber in the past few months. There is always a flurry of activity as the year begins as women scour the web for ideas for their women’s ministry and events for the year ahead. I imagine you have discovered that there are not a whole lot of websites dedicated to resources for women’s events, and Pinterest can be hit-or-miss.
Retreat-in-a-Bag was originally created to encourage small women’s ministries to use skits as another means of illustrating truths that were being taught in a retreat or event setting. Your women have different learning styles, and often the visual representation can enhance what is being heard. As an added bonus, they have entertainment value that break up the long periods of concentration. We were writing skits with a message, and wanted to make them available to others. A website seemed like the most accessible way to do that. I can hardly believe that was eight years ago!
Our website, and our vision has evolved over the years. The result has been an expansion from skits to all areas of women’s ministry. Besides the “free” resources available for download such as skits, graphics, forms, and quiet-time studies, we now have “premium” resources which give multiple theme-related resources in one convenient resource for a small price. We started with our “Retreat-in-a-Bag” Book Series and now have less expensive Retreat Guides available for purchase, all of which include theme-related Bible studies, skits, graphics and ideas for putting on an event using a particular theme.
Even with those resources in hand, there is plenty of room for you to customize your event as the Lord leads you! I can’t tell you how many times that I have read about someone else’s idea or theme, and the Lord has taken that “germ” of an idea to create something entirely new for our women.
Again, WELCOME! and God bless you as you plan for you women this year. Please let us know how we can be of assistance.
As you plan an event, it is important that lines of communication be kept open between leaders, between leaders and servants, between leader(s) and the church office, between leaders and the guest speaker/worship leader, and between leaders and the contact for the venue where the event will be held.
In this day and age, we need to find the method of communication that works best in each of those scenarios. Do you need to communicate by email with your church office and the venue? Do your leaders respond best to text, phone or email? When is a face-to-face meeting best? Do you need a paper trail? Do you need to communicate the same message to a number of people?
I guess I’m old-school because I still like email–I like the written letter or message, where I can print it out if necessary, and look back at what was actually said easily. But I have young women I contact who look at their email very infrequently, and if I need to get a quick response from them, I need to text them.
Make sure there is a meeting of the minds when it comes to communication. Retreats (and other events!) require reliable communication.
One of the easiest and most reasonably priced giveaways for your retreat or women’s event, besides a simple bookmark, is a magnet. I don’t think I know anyone with a refrigerator that is devoid of magnets! We often cover the refrigerator with all sorts of things we like to see on a regular basis. On my refrigerator at this moment I have photos (those cute grandkids!), souvenirs, a recipe, reminder notes, a scripture, and a few retreat magnets from prior retreats. Truly, a refrigerator can be a prime location for posting mementos and memorabilia–and a magnet will keep the memory of your retreat theme alive.
Magnets can be expensive. But do your research. There are definitely discount places online that will print your magnet. If you have access to a good color printer, you can purchase magnetic sheets. They have adhesive on one side where you put your graphic and then they can be cut down to side. This DIY methods is a great cost-saving tip!
Are you thinking ahead?
If your women’s ministry is like ours, our regular in-depth women’s Bible studies go on a short hiatus during the summer months. But we want to have something going on, and it is a great opportunity to include girls (ages 10 and up) as well as teens. Our fun, four-week summer study is usually well attended, and includes women who normally can’t participate during the school year.
What we have done for the past 10 years or so is to write our own short topical study. Each lesson has less than 7 questions. So while there is a little homework, it is not overwhelming. We then plan 4 evenings in the summer to get together. These are fast-paced evenings. Teachings are short, and we include ice-breakers/games, fun snacks, a skit (of course!) and then we fill in with what we call “commercials”–five minute topics of interest ranging from Bible facts, health tips, memorizing scripture, local day trips, etc. The evening is fast-paced and easy for the younger ones with shorter attention spans.
This year our theme is “A Fruitful Garden.” We had gardening decorations, a skits series on gardening, and “commercials” where women shared gardening tips. Last year, since it was Olympics year, our theme was “Go for the Gold.” Some of the short series skits available on this website for free download were for these summer studies (“If the Shoe Fits” and the “Confronting Your Giants”). If you are interested, you can check our our Bible study resources at the women’s page at www.ccplano.com.
If you have been hesitant to pursue what it take to do a longer skit at your retreat or event, these “series skits” (a series of skits with a continuing or related storyline) would be a great way to get your feet wet in a more casual and less intimidating setting.
This post may be a little out of the scope of this website which focuses on ministry to women at retreats. But as a women’s ministry leader, I have spent countless hours searching for and reviewing Bible studies appropriate for women.
During the school year, we want to do a more in-depth study of God’s Word. We especially like going verse-by-verse through a book or passage of the Bible, although we do topical studies on occasion. In case you are in charge of looking for studies, I am going to mention two resources for women’s studies that we use. We have done almost all of the studies available on these two websites: Calvary Dallas and Calvary Pasadena. My friend at Women’s Ministry Toolbox also has some ideas.