We are in the planning stages of our 2017 retreat. Most of the major decisions are made. The location has been reserved, and we are working out final details with the guest speaker and worship leader. Those are the “biggies,” and the culmination of much prayer and seeking the Lord. Up to this point, our women’s ministry team has been praying, but those decisions were mostly made by the retreat coordinator and leader. We will now involve the remainder of our women’s ministry team as we put the plan into motion, and we need everyone to pitch in. The best way we have found to coordinate that is to make “assignments.” We have nine women on the team, and the majority have been on the team and have worked together on the last ten retreats. So, being aware of their gifts and strengths, we do our best to make assignments to best utilize those gifts. For instance, we try to take advantage of those women who have a talent in decorating, or a gift of administration, a gift of hospitality, even good computer skills. These are some of the areas that we assign (for further info, see the ___________ we create every year):
- Theme, Schedule, Workshops
- Promotion (flyers, mailings, projection slides, online, website, etc.)
- Registration (including rooming list)
- Graphic, booklet and nametags
- Writing quiet time study and skit
- Schedule and workshops
- Remembrance gift
- Sound, projections and recording
- Venue and catering communiction
- Book table (including ordering books, finding reviewers)
- Communion (supplies and servantsz0
- Hospitality table at the retreat
- Greeters at the retreat/Guest speaker care
- Person to be in charge of prayer (before and during retreat)
First Responders —
“She extends her hands to the poor. Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needs.”
Philippians 2, verse 4 and 13 “Let each of you look not only for his (or her) own interest, but also for the interests of others…..For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” How thankful we are that when God puts someone with a need in front of us, He also puts that desire in our hearts to help them and enables us to do what we need to do. The needs around us are great. God wants to use us. He chooses to use us as His hands and feet to respond to those in need. “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ!”
Just from the name of this website, you know I love retreats. I would never choose to do away with offering retreats.
We have done annual two-night retreats (that go from Friday evening to Sunday at noon) for over 25 years. As you are no doubt aware, the cost for overnight accommodations and retreat venue are constantly going up. In 2018, for two in a room, the cost was over $175 per person (cheaper if one was willing to share a bed and do four in a room). That cost, and the time away from home kept many of our women from participating in the retreats, even when offered a partial scholarship.
This year, we did a women’s conference at the church with one session on a Friday night, and two sessions on Saturday through late afternoon. We had a guest speaker who did three sessions. But other than her expenses, we kept the conference fairly “bare bones.” If the women wanted lunch, they paid extra. If they wanted snacks, we had snacks available to purchase. All we provided was a program, a dessert bar on Friday night, and coffee/tea and water. So our cost per woman was less than $50.
Pros and Cons? I feel sure that the lesser price made the conference more affordable for women to attend; however, there were still women I had hoped would be able to come that did not come. I do know women who were thankful to sleep in their own bed at night during the conference, and appreciated that there was some weekend left after the conference. But I spoke with others who love truly getting away at a retreat, away from family responsibilities, with time to be active during free times and having more time for fellowship, in addition to the retreat activities.
My Conclusion? I think both options serve a purpose. I was glad we could offer the option of a conference, just to see what the response would be. I don’t like that women are prohibited from anything due to cost.
Our pastor brought up a few things in today’s sermon that are worth thinking about as women’s ministry leaders.
First, he said that if you have been a Christian for a while, it is like you are now working for God’s company. What department do you work in? That’s easy…we work in the women’s ministry. But within that ministry, there are a lot of jobs needing to be done. Have your women found their “niche”? Even in small churches, where everyone wears a lot of hats, and some must do things they are not particularly gifted at doing–the ministry gets compartmentalized. Does someone take on the event planning? The event promotion? Word processing/graphics? Hospitality?
The second thing, related to the first was our pastor’s ending prayer…that we might serve God as He deserves to be served. Wow! He gave the best, and He deserves our best in return.
In the list of spiritual gifts in the Bible, the “gift” of decorating is not mentioned. It is, however, a gift the God can use!
Decorating is not my gift–I’ll freely admit that. While I appreciate decorations and look in awe at those to whom decorating comes naturally, I could be content with a “bare bones” event or retreat. While there is a value to simplicity, who who am I to prevent those who want to serve the Lord with their decorating talents? Decorations truly can reinforce and enhance your event theme.
Use those women who have that gift! Share your vision with them. You may have to pull on the reins a bit, due to budget concerns or time restraints, but if they are willing to work within the parameters you set, let them go for it! God gave them that creativity to use for His glory.