This last weekend we had our church’s very first Ladies Retreat. Out of the 16 ladies who attended, less than a handful of them had ever been on a ladies retreat!! Not only was it my first time to plan a retreat, it was their first time attending! HaHa! It was a lot of work to plan….but well worth it! I want to share some things I did right, and some things I could do better next time. My hope and prayer is that my notes on this experience will encourage and help some Church Planter’s Wife or Pastor’s Wife to know and trust God if He leads you to plan a retreat.
My personality (we are all different)
I’m 3 1/2 years green in the “Pastor’s Wife” department, and have never been the one who planned things out. I was NOT the girl in the group who did the planning. I remember growing up I always had THAT girl as a close friend or best friend. I was there for the fun of it. There’s no doubt I’m a choleric….but I’m not the planning choleric. I’m creative, and artistic…but get overwhelmed with the “big picture” and draw blanks. I have to be totally inspired to be able to plan something. All the Pastor’s Wife duties that involve planning events and retreats I have pretty much avoided…up until this year.
My journey (you have your own)
I am a “from scratch” PW. I did not grow up in a Pastor’s home, or even a ministry home. I met Christ, and 1 year later went to Bible College where I surrendered my life to whatever God wanted me to do. After graduating from Bible College, I spent 4 1/2 years as an Assistant Pastor’s Wife before God chose to call my husband to be a Senior Pastor. We came here, and have basically done a church “restart” so to speak. It’s been so fun and exciting, and I have grown so much! In the last 3 1/2 years we have started, launched, and kicked off a lot of different ministries and events. God has given us people in our church that have helped us along the way. You may be alone, with no Assistant Pastor’s Wife to help carry the load… you may not have deacon’s wives who support you. You may not have ladies who volunteer to help out. You may be it! It’s all you! I understand. I believe in a God who created the universe, created me, and who knows my every weakness. He WILL send people to help and support as He sees fit. I understand being all alone in this whole PW duties thing, but I also can testify to God’s provision for me along the way. I could go on and on about the different ladies in my church who help me in so many different areas of the ministry. God didn’t give them to me overnight or all at once. Some of them were always there, but evolved into my right hand. Some of them, God added to the church 2 or 3 years into us being here. Others were a help from day one. God just knows. Don’t lose hope. His timing is perfect. Just keep doing what God wants you to do today. Always remember your priorities (wife, mother, then Pastor’s Wife) and keep in mind your season of life. Enjoy the seasons.
Pray for spiritual unity in your church
I am overwhelmed by how God has encouraged me through ladies in our church. Only women who are submitting to His leading can come together in unity like these women have. Out of the 16 ladies who went with us, do you think we all had the same opinions and desires? So tell me… how could we ALL have been in complete unity? During the planning process I never one time had someone complain or tell me how their way is better (though I’m sure some felt that way at some point). This spirit is not from us. It’s merely an evidence of women who are walking in God’s Spirit. I am so thankful to be a part of it.
1. Put it on your church calendar. This helped keep me accountable. This kept me from backing out. It also helped ladies plan for time off work and babysitting.
2. Reserve your location. Go and tour the location yourself. This (I think) is so important. You need to be able to understand the environment to promote and plan as it gets closer.
3. Come up with a theme. Do this after you have your location to make sure they will blend together. There’s tons of ideas and inspiration on Pinterest. Or just pray and ask God to give you one… (That’s literally what He did with mine!)
4. Schedule the speaker. Consider the cost. If you have a guest speaker you need to plan financially. You need to pay her way for the retreat, plus give her $ for each session. This is our policy…you may have a different one, or not have one at all. For example, cost to attend is $75 + you pay her $150 per session + her plane tickets are $600 round trip… you must divide up the almost $1,000 for speaker cost between the ladies who attend. For our 16 ladies this would have added $62.50 onto their cost. This would take the cost from $75 to $137.50 in our case. This all depends on the travel costs for the speaker of course. Just something to keep in mind. To keep our cost down, I was the speaker. 😉 The con was the mental drain on me during the retreat. I had my lessons running in the back (or front) of my mind the whole time. It was difficult to transition from the fun and activities, to… “Oh! I have to teach my lesson now!” Looking back, I would do it again. Affordability was a TOP priority for our retreat.
These were just the first 4 steps in planning, and also some personal background and history. Hope it was a help!
For women other than the Pastor’s Wife, maybe this will inspire you to be an encourager and support to your Pastor’s Wife. She NEEDS it…she desires it… don’t ignore her…