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?
Our retreat is less than a week away. We have spent weeks in preparation and registration for the event. We are looking forward to our guest speaker. We are anxious about details. You probably know the drill.
But pretty soon, the big weekend will be here. Listen to these words from “Steal My Show” by TobyMac:
If you wanna steal my show
I’ll sit back and watch you go
If you got something to say
Go on and take it away
Need you to steal my show
Can’t wait to watch you go oh oh oh
So take it away.
YES! That’s what we want. We want the Holy Spirit to come and “steal the show” and we’ll sit back and watch Him go. We’ve done all we can…but He is the only One who can take our feeble efforts and use the weekend to transform lives.
One of our favorite retreats was entitled “DISCIPLESHEEP – Putting Off Your Wolf-Like Tendencies.” The “Mr. Wolf” skits are some of our most memorable. That is one of the reasons we originally chose that retreat theme to put into book form.
We have now updated the artwork that is included in this book. I think this artwork better illustrates the theme that we are wolves in the process of becoming sheep. That’s what discipleship is–the process of sanctification as we transform into the image of Christ. At salvation, we are transformed to “sheep” on the inside, but we begin the process of putting off the old man–our wolf-like tendencies–as we are renewed and transformed into the image of Christ. God is patiently working on us and transforming our character, our speech, our habits and responses. We are putting off that old man and putting on the new man.
Read more about what this book includes here.
Your retreat or event has a tight schedule. You have greeting, announcements, worship, teaching sessions and bathroom breaks to fit into the time between meals. Possibly you are hoping to add free time or workshops or even an ice-breaker to the mix. Why would you want to tighten your schedule further to make room for skits?
Well, if the skit you want to use is purely for fun and entertainment, I would answer that perhaps you don’t have the time. But the skits we promote at Retreat-in-a-Bag are written to illustrate Biblical truths. For that, there is time. 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.
At your next event, why don’t you try something new? Use one of our free, downloadable, one-act skits such as “Good Intentions” and see what your ladies think!
They are all around us–the “we know a better way” folks. We all have those women who, from their vantage point, always know a “better way” to do the things we are doing. Often, their ideas and suggestions are valid, and could be helpful in the right time. But it does seem that these women are never available in the planning stages–but are more than happy to step up and offer their opinion after the ball is already rolling. You have a plan for decorations, and are busy implementing that plan…and along comes that person who knows a better way and has a better idea.
What is your response going to be? I know it’s frustrating, and it’s tempting to see their input as criticism of what your are doing. We can’t give in to the response our flesh would like to give! Instead, be kind, be graceful, be loving. A simple “we’re going to do it this way this time” should suffice, followed by an invitation to be a part of the process for the next event.