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.
Women rarely announce that they are new, or that they are attending their first-ever retreat or women’s event. Attending a first retreat or event can be daunting, particularly if one is also new to the church and yet to get acquainted with women. It takes a lot of courage to attend an event where you know no one!
I would suggest that you identify those first-timers, and look for other indicators that she is stepping out of her comfort zone to attend your retreat or event. This may not be as easy as just looking for names you don’t recognize among those who have registered. You can ask each woman as she registers if they have attended a retreat in the past, or put a box on the registration form for the woman to check if this is her first time to attend a retreat. Upon registration, if a roommate is not designated, that could indicate that she doesn’t know anyone to ask to be her roommate.
Once you have identified the women who are new:
- Assign someone to call the woman before the retreat to answer questions and see if she has special needs or needs a ride to the retreat;
- Inform the greeters at the retreat so they can give her a special welcome upon her arrival and introduce her to others;
- Assign a “room hostess” to be their roommate and to sit with them at the retreat.
Have you thought of other ways to welcome those who are new?